Leighton Baines has admitted he is glad that Everton will not have to face Luis Suarez in their upcoming derby clash.
The 220th meeting between the sides will be the second game of the 10-game ban the Uruguay international was given by the Football Association for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.
With only three games of the season remaining both sides are still battling for a UEFA Europa League
place for next season and Baines knows Liverpool not having Suarez on the pitch will be a big boost to Everton.
“We’re glad we don’t have to face Luis Suarez because he’s a top player and he has done so much for Liverpool this season,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“If they had been missing him this season they probably wouldn’t be where they are in the league at the moment. He will be a big loss for them.
“But they have got very good players throughout the team and it will be up to them to come to the fore and keep them going.”
With the two clubs separated by five points in sixth and seventh place in the Premier League the match takes on extra significance as they both fight for a place in Europe next season.
“We understand the importance of it, it is a big game,” Baines added.
“Every derby is massive because of what it is and it means so much to the fans and us as players as well.
“But there is no added importance because it is at the end of the season, it is just another derby.”