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Ancelotti seeks perfection against Liverpool to end Everton's derby woes

(Reuters) - Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti said his team must produce the perfect game in their FA Cup third round match at Liverpool on Sunday if they are to end two decades of disappointment in the Merseyside derby at Anfield.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Everton - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - January 1, 2020 Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Everton have not won at the venue since September 1999 and were hammered 5-2 in the Premier League this season, which led to Marco Silva’s sacking as manager before Ancelotti took over last month.

Victory will also give Everton a first win over European and World champions Liverpool since 2010.

“A normal performance is not enough against them. Everything has to be perfect,” Ancelotti, who masterminded a 2-0 Champions League win over Liverpool with former side Napoli in September, told reporters on Friday.

“No mistakes, hard work, sacrifice, intensity. To beat them, the game has to be complete... The best way to prepare is to be focused on what you do on the pitch. Be focused on the game. Don’t look at different things.

“The last trophy Everton won was the FA Cup (in 1994-95) so we have to have confidence... Everyone knows how Liverpool play, fantastic in counter-attack... we have to attack well because you can’t defend for 90 minutes and we don’t want to.”

Ancelotti is no stranger to derby matches having played for and managed AC Milan among other elite European clubs in a trophy-laden career.

“I know how different these games are. Of course, Liverpool are favourites but in a derby you never know what will happen,” Ancelotti added.

“The fact that it’s the oldest competition gives it a real special atmosphere. There are a lot of surprises. We’re excited about the game.

“The last time I was in this tournament (as Chelsea manager in 2009-10), I won so it can be good luck for us.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Macfie