Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp could be forgiven for thinking there is a cavalry charge heading across Stanley Park on Saturday.
Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles left no room for imagination when summing up his club’s best approach to securing a victory at Anfield.
“We need to kill them, that’s it,” said the Spaniard.
In fairness, there was mischief rather than venom in that threat but it was reflective of the buoyancy at Goodison Park since the last Merseyside derby.
Saturday’s fixture is not only a chance for Everton to end a barren run at Anfield but to reduce the gap between the sides to three points.
Given Liverpool were title contenders when Sadio Mane struck the 94th minute winner in December, that is a momentum shift Klopp can ill afford in seeking to protect a Champions League place.
“It is opportunity not pressure,” said Klopp, when asked if his side has more to lose.
“What I have learned is that it helps if you don’t think too much about the pressure in games like this. We all know how important it is for everybody. The pressure is always there. We need positive aggression. Not that we want to show that we are really ready to make crazy challenges or whatever but we are ready to hurt ourselves. That is how I understand it.
“I don’t remember one game that wasn’t important this season and last year I remember Everton was under a little pressure. My colleague was sacked a few weeks later.
“The hype around a derby is 100 per cent right and OK.
“The real importance of football is not that big but we create the importance ourselves. Here in this city, this is the game. It is not overhyped. That is how it always is around the players and managers. They have to use the emotion and control it, to use it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work. It is still a football game with a bigger value here. Dortmund v Schalke is also a big game, but I’m not sure a lot of people in Liverpool will know the result of that game and I’m not sure a lot of people from Dortmund or Schalke will know the result of this game. It is an important game but only in the city.”
Ronald Koeman feels Everton have been travelling to Anfield with fear in recent seasons, which may go some way to explaining the extremes with which Robles is prepared to go this time around.
Naturally, his manager is rather more circumspect in his language but feels his Everton side is now better equipped.
“I think so. The team is stronger and has a different mentality, more aggression and more of the intensity that you need to play against Liverpool, but you need to show it,” he said.
“It's not a case of being afraid exactly, but not being afraid to play in a certain way. You know they will press and be aggressive and maybe Everton were not prepared in the best way for a game with that type of football. At home we went face-to-face and maybe 98 minutes was too long but that was a good impression of how I like to play and how we need to play against Liverpool.”
Somewhat unusually for a derby week, there has been more harmony than discord between the rival managers.
Both agree the timing of the game, an early kick off after an international break, is ‘crazy’.
Both allied themselves to Jose Mourinho in calling for an end to international friendlies.
“Would anyone miss international friendlies? I’m not sure. Maybe we should try,” said Klopp.
And both spent the eve of the fixture lamenting the injuries key men suffered playing for their country, Everton especially hurt by the long-term loss of Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori.
In the absence of Adam Lallana, Klopp will be looking to his South American duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino and has revealed how Brazil manager Tite has been following the Anfield blueprint to lead his country to the World Cup.
“Tite obviously likes the way we play,” said Klopp.
“There is a guy on his staff who speaks English and we had a lot contact and he likes the way we play and I am not 100 per cent sure but I think he wants to do something similar.”
At Goodison, Klopp was unusually circumspect.
“It makes no sense that I run in the derby and celebrate in the opposite corner in front of the Everton fans,” he said.
Embracing the significance of the latest encounter, it’s unlikely either side will be temperate in victory this time around.
“I saw after we won the last two games the Evertonians were still around,” said Klopp.
“It is not that they hide themselves in the corner and this is the first time they come out. I would really prefer that we win it then life is a bit better but since the last game we played Everton have made a big step.
“Everyone knows it is very important. Now we have to show it and not talk about it.”
Joel Robles was speaking at USM Finch Farm courtesy of BT Sport. After the Merseyside derby Everton will take on Manchester United live on BT Sport (Tuesday 4 April). To subscribe and watch the match visit www.bt.com/sport.