Why the stakes are higher than ever heading into Liverpool vs Everton

There's a lot that stands out about Saturday evening's Merseyside cerby.

It's the 238th time Liverpool will face Everton in a competitive setting, but it's first at an empty Anfield, and the first since that fateful meeting back in October that saw Virgil van Dijk ruled out for the season.

For Carlo Ancelotti's team, it represents the type of opportunity they so rarely get against their famous rivals: a realistic chance of victory at Anfield.

2010 was the last time they won a derby of any description: you have to go back to before the turn of the century for their last derby win on enemy territory.

This time, though, they will face a Liverpool team who are hurting. The Reds' air of invincibility has been shattered. Where their Premier League record at Anfield was once a point of pride, they've lost to Burnley, Brighton and Man City at home in the last month, watching their title hopes go up in smoke in the process.

They had lost five of their last seven prior to Tuesday night, and impressive win over RB Leipzig notwithstanding, it is fair to say they are there for the taking when Everton make the short trip round the corner on Saturday.

But while the sense of jeopardy for Liverpool is greater than it has been in a Merseyside derby for quite some time, the game also brings the chance for them to start again, and remind the Premier League that Anfield hasn't suddenly become an easy place to pick up points.

We've seen what derby wins can do for the Reds in years gone by.

Their 5-2 victory in this fixture last season really kicked them into another gear after a couple of sloppy performances, while the later FA Cup success, courtesy of Curtis Jones' wonder-strike, set the tone for a calendar year that would eventually see them win the Premier League for the first time in 30 years.

A 4-0 derby win in April 2016 was one of the early turning points for the Klopp era, a sign of what the Reds would be capable of if they stood by him despite a patchy start. We don't need to say much about what has happened in the five years since.

Klopp vs. Ancelotti will always make for an interesting encounter, but there are many layers to this one that stand it out from the crowd.

The fallout from October's derby adds an undercurrent of tension, while the thin layer between the sides as they each look to edge their way into the top four conversation paints it as a far more even tie than it has been in the recent past.

Both sides go in desperate: Liverpool for a galvanising win, and Everton to end 20 years of Anfield misery.

So, who's bringing the popcorn?

Source : 90min