Arouna Kone feels Everton are well placed to finish above Merseyside neighbours Liverpool this season.
Everton host Liverpool at Goodison Park on Sunday, with the former a point clear of their rivals in the Premier League standings after seven matches.
Roberto Martinez’s Everton have often played second-fiddle to Liverpool but the blue half of Merseyside managed to earn bragging rights in 2012-13, when they finished sixth in the table – two points above the Anfield club.
And Ivory Coast forward Kone believes Everton can repeat the feat in 2015-16.
“This might be the year that Everton finish above Liverpool again,” said the 31-year-old.
“The reason is nothing to do with Liverpool but I think we’ve made a good start, it’s been solid, and I think through the difficult times of last season a lot of our younger players have benefited from that experience and gained in strength.
“On Monday we came from 2-0 down at West Brom to win and in past seasons we haven’t shown that and been mentally strong enough.
“Our game management has improved now that we’ve gained some experience and for that reason I hope we can finish above Liverpool.”