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Merseyside bosses vow to fight on

Rafael Benitez (left) and David Moyes
Both managers are under intense pressure to get a result at Goodison Park

Managers Rafael Benitez and David Moyes insist they are ready to fight as they prepare their Liverpool and Everton sides for Sunday's Merseyside derby.

Both clubs are struggling, with Liverpool crashing out of the Champions League and Everton 14th in the league.

But Reds manager Benitez said: "I have signed a new five-year contract because I want to fight for Liverpool."

Everton's Moyes said: "There's no point burying our heads. If we don't play better we'll be in relegation trouble."

Just like the managers, supporters from both sides will believe Sunday's match represents the chance to begin to turn their season around.

Players focused on Premier League - Benitez

Spaniard Benitez is under intense pressure following his side's exit from the Champions League on Tuesday, despite winning away at Hungarian minnows Debrecen, and what by their standards has been a dire start to the domestic campaign.

Liverpool have slipped to 13 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea after losing five of their 13 games so far.

Benitez has been boosted by positive sounds from the Anfield hierarchy this week, with managing director Christian Purslow insisting his job is safe.

Stars such as skipper Steven Gerrard, striker Fernando Torres and goalkeeper Jose Reina have also backed his ability to turn things around.

And Benitez has insisted that he is not about to succumb to the pressure and turn his back on the club he has managed since 2004.

"Sometimes it's good, sometimes there are bad moments but still I'll fight," he said.

"When I signed my new contract I had offers from other clubs for more money, and a lot more money to spend in the transfer market.


"But I decided to stay because I felt we had a very good team.

"We will prove this during the rest of the season. It is a long race and we know we are not playing at the level we can, but we will improve, we will be back in Europe.

"When I decided to stay here, I knew that we could be facing a difficult season. I was aware that a lot of things could happen and the competition would be stronger. But I decided to stay because I wanted to.

"I decided to stay in Liverpool because I liked the city, I liked the fans and I liked the life here."

Everton go into what is the 212th Merseyside derby in a woeful run of form, having won just once in 10 matches to leave them just four points above the bottom three.

To make matters worse, any hopes of being granted permission for a new stadium in in Kirkby appear to be been scuppered by a Government rejection of plans on Thursday.

Everton lose against Hull
Everton have endured a miserable league campaign so far this season

"You can't hide the fact if you keep losing games you will be relegated," said Moyes. "You have to stop it and get in a position when that will happen.

"You want your players to play well, you want to show the work you are doing.

"There is a saying that after you do all your work in the week that, win or lose, it shouldn't really matter as a coach because if you have done your preparation well it is then down to the players."

Meanwhile, former Everton manager Howard Kendall believes the current plight of both teams will not affect the players involved at the weekend.

"It won't be a problem on Sunday," he said.

"Anyone who goes out on the field and doesn't realise the significance of the game shouldn't be at the club. There may be a lot of injuries but it's not a problem when it comes to the derby.

"Forget everything else, they've got to think about the fans, the fans are most important."

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see also
Everton 0-2 Liverpool
29 Nov 09 |  Premier League
Lawro's predictions
29 Nov 09 |  Football
Heitinga fired up for derby clash
27 Nov 09 |  Everton
Everton's stadium plan rejected
26 Nov 09 |  Everton
Moyes fumes at 'shocking' display
26 Nov 09 |  Everton
Reds say Benitez will not be axed
25 Nov 09 |  Liverpool
Exit not disastrous - Carragher
24 Nov 09 |  Europe
Benitez sure of top-four finish
21 Nov 09 |  Liverpool

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