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Apr, 29, 2013

Baines happy to avoid Suarez

Leighton Baines admits he is glad Everton will not have to face Luis Suarez in Sunday's Merseyside derby at Anfield.

• O'Farrell: Pienaar puts on show

The Liverpool striker is serving a ten-game suspension for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield eight days ago.

Without Suarez, Brendan Rodgers' side chalked up their biggest victory of the season as they won 6-0 at Newcastle on Saturday.

But Everton and England left-back Baines still believes Liverpool are more dangerous when they have the Uruguay international in their side.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "Yes, 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.

"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."

Baines and Suarez both made the PFA's Premier League Team of the Year, announced as the players' union held its annual awards in London on Sunday night.

It is the second year in a row that Baines has made the team, beating Chelsea's Ashley Cole to claim the left-back spot.

The 28-year-old played his part as Everton maintained their hold on sixth place in the Premier League by beating Fulham 1-0 on Saturday.

It means that David Moyes' side will be guaranteed to finish the season above Liverpool if they can win at Anfield on Sunday.

Baines added: "We understand the importance of it, it is a big game. 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."

Everton's faint Champions League hopes remain alive after Arsenal, who lie fourth, were held to a 1-1 draw by Manchester United on Sunday.

It means that Moyes' side are five points behind the Gunners with three games to play.

"It keeps us in there as we have been really, hanging on to the teams above us, and that is all we can do," Baines said.

"We have to try to keep getting good results. We've dropped a few points away but we bounced back. If a couple of results go our way and we can keep winning games then who knows where we will end up."

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