The Blues boss suggested his team “were too afraid to play against Liverpool the last two seasons”, but have now discovered the passion and attitude to go toe to toe with their bitter rivals.
The straight-talking Dutchman takes his in-form troops to the Premier League frontline, with a passionate rallying cry that suggests the Blues can end the longest run of games without a league win at Anfield in their history.
And he couldn’t help but take a dig at previous boss Roberto Martinez, when he said: “I heard a little bit about the last two seasons of Everton maybe they were too afraid to play against Liverpool.
“It’s not being afraid exactly, but afraid to play in a certain way. You know they will press and be aggressive and maybe Everton were not prepared in the best way for that type of football.
“But why you need to be afraid to play against Liverpool I don’t understand that. We showed (this season) at home how we need to play – with passion and attitude.”
Koeman is not shy in stating the obvious – that he has turned Everton around from the side that tried to outplay every opponent last season… and frequently got steam-rollered by sides with more desire.
They can not be accused of that any longer. Under the Dutch boss, they have lost only once at home – ironically to Liverpool in the final minute of the game – and become far more resilient on their travels.
And the tough-talking boss believes they are now a very different from Martinez’s too-soft sides…and equipped to win at Anfield for the first time in 18 years.
“The team is stronger and has a different mentality, more aggression and more of the intensity you need to play against Liverpool.
“This Everton team is a different team to last season. I hope that brings more confidence of knowing what you need to do to get a good result.
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Liverpool and Everton combined XI
“It’s a new season, a new game, a new manager here. Maybe they were too afraid to play against Liverpool, but not now. It’s history and of course you like to break that history and ok, the longer it takes, the closer it comes….!”
Koeman does have problems though, with injuries to Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori, who will both miss the rest of the season, and Morgan Schneiderlin, who will miss the visit to both Anfield and Old Trafford with a calf problem.
He is also missing James McCarthy, a fourth player injured on international duty, and the Everton boss had some harsh words to say to both Ireland and the player himself for failing to take medical advice over the problem.
“Everton advised extreme caution, not only due to his current one, but previous ones and our assessment to the Ireland team was that it would be a high risk to play,” he explained.
“Of course he has a strong desire to play so when asked if was fit, he said he was and was selected to start. The manager, in my opinion, was not protecting the player.
“The player is also responsible and that is the talk I had with James. He needs to learn from his mistakes and hopefully this will be the last one.”