Gibson warns Liverpool to expect much-improved Everton when rivals meet at Wembley
21:48 GMT, 28 March 2012
Everton sealed their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with one of the most complete performances of David Moyes’ reign on Tuesday night when they outclassed Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
The display was in stark contrast to the meek manner in which they were brushed aside by Liverpool two weeks earlier at Anfield, when Steven Gerrard scored a hat-trick in a one-sided 3-0 win.
Moyes was criticised for making six changes to his team that night but Gibson believes the performance at Sunderland vindicated the manager’s handling of the squad.
Togetherness: Darron Gibson (fourth right) says Everton will be a different prospect when they meet Liverpool at Wembley
Liverpool have won both Barclays Premier League fixtures against their oldest enemy this season but Republic of Ireland midfielder Gibson is adamant the third meeting between the clubs will be the closest yet.
‘I was at the derby and it was disappointing,’ said Gibson, who has just returned from a month out with a knee injury. ‘Now we’ve got to forget about that.
‘It will be a different prospect for them, as (we will have) probably our strongest side. We had worked all week on our game plan, pulled it off and played really well at Sunderland.
‘The work we put meant we knew exactly what everyone had to do and it paid off. We made chances too, which was the main thing and Niki (Jelavic) took his goal well.'
Painful memory: Everton were outclassed when the sides met at Anfield
Everton were last involved in the FA Cup’s last four in 2009, when they beat Manchester United on penalties before being beaten 2-1 by Chelsea in the final.
That was the second time Tim Cahill had lost a final – he was part of the Millwall team which was comprehensively outgunned by Manchester United in Cardiff in 2004 – but the influential Australian believes this is opportunity represents his best chance of success.
Cahill is adamant Everton will not lose their focus in the build-up to the semi-final and has scoffed at the idea Liverpool will be favourites simply as their squad cost significantly more to assemble.
‘Everyone can put figures on the table, but our manager has got the best record in the world when it comes to spending money and what he does for the club,’ said Cahill. ‘As players, we have to make sure that money is well spent.
‘For Liverpool, who knows who the pressure is on We will just concentrate on ourselves and see what happens. We are too experienced to start worrying what Liverpool are doing. They are a great team and have spent a lot of money and have a good manager. But this is all about us.’