Ancelotti bids to reverse Everton's derby-day fortunes

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Liverpool's Sadio Mane, center, celebrates with Liverpool's Roberto Firmino after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Sheffield United at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

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.”