LIVERPOOL, England -- Everton defender Lucas Digne insists he will not be fazed by coming up against his former teammate Mohamed Salah in Sunday's Merseyside derby.
Digne played with Salah at Roma during the the 2015-16 season when the Frenchman was on loan at the Serie A side from Paris Saint-Germain.
The left-back joined Everton in the summer from Barcelona in an £18 million move, and said a prime motive of his move to England was to face the world's best attackers on a weekly basis.
"I know Mohamed Salah because I played one year with him in Rome," Digne told reporters at Everton's Finch Farm training base. "He's a very good guy and a very good player, but you play football to play against the big players, against [Lionel] Messi, against Neymar.
"I play football to play against the biggest players in the world and I came to England to play against the best strikers because, for me, the best football is in the Premier League.
"When you play in the big games, it's a very good thing for you as a player.
"I play every game the same. I'm a defender and it's down to the team. We work together and it's not down to one player or two players. It's down to the team and we need to work together."
Digne was one of six recruits to arrive at Goodison Park in the summer that have sparked an upturn in Everton's fortunes under new boss Marco Silva.
However, Everton are winless in the last 17 Merseyside derbies in all competitions -- last picking up a victory against Roy Hodgson's Liverpool in 2010 -- and have not won at Anfield since the turn of the millennium.
"The stats are here to change," Digne said. "Maybe you can lose for one year, two years or three years, and the fourth you win and the stat is finished.
"Football is like this and we need to change the past. We want to change and we want to win.
"Liverpool play well now, but we play well too. We have a good mentality too and we work hard every week. I think we can change something. We have the mentality to win every game.
"We went to Chelsea to win and proved we can win. We played well, we drew -- it was a good result because Chelsea were unbeaten.
"Before we played against Man [United], we played well before the referee made, for me, a mistake. It's football. We play well against great teams and I think it's big game this weekend and we do the same like always."
Shortly after moving to Everton, Digne claimed he had turned down two approaches from Liverpool in the past, adding that his "I never walk alone" chest tattoo had nothing to with Everton's fiercest rivals.
The 25-year-old stressed that he and his Everton teammates will be unmoved by the reception from Liverpool supporters on Sunday.
"It's not my problem," he said. "I respect everybody. I have a lot of respect for everybody. When I was asked, I told the truth. If they want to say something particular about me... No.
"I know my heart is blue and the Everton fans are with us all the time."