Leon Osman (R)
Leon Osman (R)Reuters

Everton's veteran midfielder Leon Osman has already begun mind games with local rivals Liverpool, by claiming that the Toffees can finish above the Reds in the upcoming Premier League season.

The English midfielder has been an integral part of Everton over the last few years after initially struggling to break into the first team.

Osman feels, Everton have it in them to finish above arch rivals Liverpool this season, even though the Reds have been busy strengthening their team during the transfer window.

Brendan Rodgers has been the busiest manager this summer and has already brought in six players with Bayer Leverkusen's Emre Can, Lazar Markovic from Benfica, Divock Origi from Lille and the trio of Lallana, Lambert and Lovren from Southampton. Most of the players signed have been to strengthen the offensive department to make up for the loss of star forward Luis Suarez.

Roberto Martinez has been relatively quiet compared to his Liverpool counterpart, but recently announced the signing of Romelu Lukaku for a club-record fee of £28m. He also made Gareth Barry's move permanent and brought in Serbian midfielder Muhamed Besic.

Osman, who is getting ready for his testimonial match against FC Porto on Sunday admits it will be a difficult task for the Goodison Park outfit to finish above the Anfield club, but believes that they are capable of accomplishing it.

"Yes we can. It's going to be difficult though," Osman told talkSPORT

"Liverpool have strengthened, but so have we."

"We both have extra commitments with Europe this year but we aim to finish above them every season," the England international added.

Meanwhile, the Everton boss believes that new signing Lukaku will only get better and feels that the World Cup experience will help his game progress.

"As a player, you always getter better from the experiences you enjoy and it doesn't get much bigger than playing at a World Cup," Martinez told Everton's official site.

"He's desperate to be successful, desperate to achieve things. That side of his character and personality is infectious – that's why he was such a big hit with everyone at our Club," the former Wigan Athletic manager added.