Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was setting the scene for the latest Merseyside derby against Liverpool when he trotted out a cliché seemingly used for any match between local rivals.
“In a derby,” Ancelotti said with a smile, “you never know what’s going to happen.”
Except, that is, on Merseyside.
Everton has not beaten Liverpool in any competition since 2010. It last won at Anfield — where Sunday’s FA Cup match will be held — in 1999.
Liverpool is the European club champion and, with a 13-point lead in the Premier League, is almost certain to be English champion in a few months for the first time in 30 years. The team coached by Jurgen Klopp hasn’t lost at home in any competition in nearly 16 months.
Everton was thrashed 5-2 by a largely second-string Liverpool at Anfield on Dec. 4, a result that led to the firing of Marco Silva two days later and the arrival of Ancelotti at Goodison Park within a few weeks.
It's fair to say it is a very one-sided rivalry.
“Everything has to be perfect; work hard, sacrifice, intensity,” Ancelotti said Friday. “To beat them, the game has to be complete.”