Football reporter and Everton fan Gary Maiden provides us with the view from Goodison Park ahead of tonight's derby - including his take on the long-standing talking point of a Merseyside XI...
Is this the most important Merseyside derby you can remember?
I think it is, yes. I wasn't born to see the two clubs battle it out for glory in the 1980s and, unfortunately for us Blues, you've had the upper hand ever since. Obviously meeting at Wembley a few seasons back was huge, but both sides will be desperate to qualify for the Champions League and a win on Tuesday could prove crucial. I think a home win all but rules us Blues out of the equation for top four, whereas an away win throws the race wide open.
Like Liverpool, the Blues have a number of injuries - how will Roberto Martinez line up his team in that case?
Both are struggling with injuries at present and it is a real shame. Football is a squad game so there can be no excuses, but it would have been great to see the two sides at full strength go head-to-head. With Seamus Coleman looking unlikely to feature it will be interesting to see if Roberto opts for the experience of Tony Hibbert at right-back or the youthful exuberance of John Stones. Gareth Barry and James McCarthy will no doubt offer protection in front of the defence, with Romelu Lukaku up front. That system allows the three across the middle to play with more freedom and it would be great to see Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu take up those positions. Injuries may well prevent that from happening and we will likely see Mirallas joined by Leon Osman and either Aiden McGeady or Steven Pienaar if fit.
Who is the danger man for Everton at the moment?
The obvious answer is Lukaku. His goal threat is what we have missed at Goodison for decades. Having said that, Seamus Coleman has popped up with several important strikes of late. I would have to say that James McCarthy is our key man. If he plays well, Everton play well. He is the type of midfielder that every side needs. The second we lose the ball, he is the one busting a gut to win it back. He is the engine in midfield and will be instrumental to our hopes for the remainder of the season.
Would you rather win this single match or finish above Liverpool in the table?
No brainer - finish above Liverpool in the table. Don't get me wrong, a win at Anfield would be brilliant as we haven't managed it since 1999. But this season especially, I think the side that finishes above the Reds will be the side that lands that fourth and final Champions League spot.
What is your objective assessment of the Reds' season so far?
Without doubt one of the most exciting sides to watch. The trio of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have been lethal, and Raheem Sterling seems to have really improved after facing a slight dip after being introduced into the first team at such a young age. Suarez, in particular, has to be considered as one of the top five players in world football and with him in such ruthless form you always have a chance. I think a lot of Reds would admit that a problem has been the number of goals leaked, but if you can find a way to address the number conceded then you will take some stopping.
What would be your combined Merseyside XI?
This is tough! I promise to be as unbiased as I can. I will play a traditional 4-4-2 with Tim Howard in between the sticks. He has been in superb form this season, so I think deserves his spot. An Everton-heavy back four would see Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines operate the flanks. Phil Jagielka would be joined by Daniel Agger in central defence. You don't field a Merseyside XI without Steven Gerrard in the middle of the park. The England captain would play a similar role to the one that he has adopted this season, with James McCarthy his midfield partner. Ross Barkley would be shifted out to the right side of midfield with Philippe Coutinho on the left. The forward combination of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge has been so prolific this campaign, with 33 league goals between them, it is hard to argue against them leading the line. Romelu Lukaku can feel hard done by not to see his name on the teamsheet but he has drifted in and out form a little too much to dislodge Sturridge. Six Blues and five Reds isn't too bad there is it?
What is the one thing you relish most about derbies?
Without doubt the passion. Every city will argue that their local derby is the biggest but I think the history of the Merseyside derby ranks it alongside the very best. This fixture holds the record for the most red cards in Premier League history, with 20, and the players seem to really understand what it means to the fans.
Give us a prediction...
I'm going to be outrageous and predict the same scoreline as the reverse fixture at Goodison earlier in the season, 3-3. Anfield has a tendency to throw up a classic under the floodlights and I think it is going to be a great game for the neutrals. You'd imagine that Suarez will be up for it, as he always seems to be against Everton. He'll score, I have no doubt of that. I just hope that we can keep up with him at the other end!