A few days ago David Moyes was enjoying a drink in Belgium with Roy Hodgson, but their friendship will most definitely be put on hold today.
Moyes, the Everton manager, and his Liverpool counterpart Hodgson bumped into each other as they watched the same Euro 2012 qualifier in Brussels this week.
But there will be no room for cordiality at Goodison Park today in the 214th Merseyside derby. Hodgson, has previously said his friendship with Moyes will be tested on derby days.
"I wouldn't want to be his friend either," Moyes said.
"He was my friend this week, we met going over to Belgium. We travelled together on the plane and travelled back together. We watched the game and had a drink together and I enjoyed his company. We have seen a lot of each other this week but there are no friends on derby day are there? Even family members in this city sometimes fall out with each other."
Mikel Arteta v Steven Gerrard
Arteta pulls the strings in midfield for Everton, Gerrard likewise for Liverpool. While derbies are often fast-paced affairs with neither side having much time on the ball, one moment of calm, collected magic from either playmaker could decide the game.
The loss of Marouane Fellaini is a blow for Everton. Despite his tendency to pick up yellow cards – and a red in last season’s derby – the giant Belgian has the ability to dominate the midfield. A fit-again Fernando Torres will carry most of Liverpool’s goal threat.
Liverpool won both games last season – 1-0 at home, and 2-0 away at Goodison Park, today’s venue – with Dirk Kuyt scoring two of the goals. The Dutchman is missing today as Everton look for a first home win in the league against their city rivals in four attempts.
Everton(4-5-1) Howard; Hibbert, Distin, Heitinga, Baines; Neville, Arteta, Osman, Cahill, Bilyaletdinov; Yakubu
Liverpool (4-5-1) Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Konchesky; Poulsen, Meireles, Gerrard, Cole, Rodriguez; Torres
• Roy Hodgson, the Liverpool manager, is winless away from home in his last 21 attempts in the Premier League, three for the Merseysiders and 18 for Fulham.
• There have been 10 red cards shown in the last 11 derby games between the two sides.
• David Ngog is Liverpool’s leading goal scorer this season with seven, yet only one strike came in the league