Carlo Ancelotti believes his table-topping Everton side will find out just how good they really after facing off with city rivals and reigning Premier League champions Liverpool.
The Toffees have enjoyed a wonderful start to the season, with a 100 percent record across all competitions including four wins from four in the league.
Saturday afternoon’s Merseyside derby at Goodison Park will provide their stiffest challenge yet but Ancelotti is relishing the chance for his in-form side to gauge their progress against Jurgen Klopp’s men.
The Reds were on the wrong end of a stunning 7-2 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa just before the international break, but still represent the gold standard in the Italian’s eyes.
“I think it will be good for us to have this kind of test. They are the best, they were the best last season and one of the best teams in the world, so it’s a fantastic challenge,” said Ancelotti.
“The message for us is they are going to have an exciting game, it’s a derby. Be confident and be happy to play this game.
“I think the feeling in the dressing room is good. We’ve started really well, we know it will be a fantastic challenge. We are ready for the challenge, knowing it will be the most difficult challenge for us in this moment.”
Ancelotti added: “I want to say thanks to him, to be a challenger for Liverpool could be really good for us.
“Of course Liverpool is doing so well. We are, I think, not so far but still far from them. We can have a good test tomorrow against them to see how far we are.”
On Saturday it will be exactly a decade since Everton last defeated Liverpool, courtesy of goals from Tim Cahill and current Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
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“He doesn’t need to speak to his other team-mates to show how important this derby is,” he said.