Gerrard: Liverpool’s clash with Everton ‘more than a semi-final’
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard makes no attempt to play down the significance of the Reds' FA Cup semi-final clash with Everton
Steven Gerrard has refused to dampen talk of Liverpool’s FA Cup clash with Everton by insisting it is “more than a semi-final”.
Saturday’s all-Merseyside meeting at Wembley will be the first time the two sides have faced off at the national stadium since their emotionally-charged final in the same competition back in 1989, a month after the city mourned the loss of the 96 Reds supporters killed in the Hillsborough disaster.
Expectations for the 218th derby are high, especially given the prize at stake with a place in the final against either Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspur – and Gerrard, who has lifted the trophy twice in his career, believes the hype surrounding the meeting is fully justified on both sides of Stanley Park.
“This is not only a semi final – it’s a semi final against Everton,” insisted Gerrard.
“For everyone at this club and everyone at Everton, it’s massive. I’m not going to play it down because everyone knows how big it is to me and everyone here at the club.
“It’s a massive game [and] it could change our season for the best.”
Wembley will fall silent before kick-off on Saturday for a period of reflection in memory of those who perished at Hillsborough, with the 23rd anniversary of the tragedy taking place the following day.
Gerrard’s 10-year-old cousin, Jon-Paul Gillhooley, was among the Liverpool fans who lost their lives at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground – and the England international expects both sets of fans on the day to pay their respects.
He added: “I think there’s a big responsibility on the players and the supporters that this game gets played in the right manner, that it’s a fair game, it’s a good game and after the game everyone’s talking about the good things that happened.
“It does fall on this weekend [of the anniversary] and I think that everyone needs to pay their respects to that.”