The Merseyside derby is played out inside a wild atmosphere whether it occurs at Anfield or Goodison Park. The match between Everton and Liverpool is renowned for its combative nature and many a derby has ended with one team or the other having a player sent off.
Jürgen Klopp addressed his side’s approach to the often chaotic derby during his pre-match press conference today. The manager was asked how he prepares his team to keep their aggression in check inside the Goodison cauldron. The answer is: He doesn’t.
“We always want to be very, very, very aggressive, in the best football way,” said Klopp.
“How we understand it, being aggressive means be ready to hurt yourself and not the other guy. It’s a ball we fight for and not a bone.”
Both Liverpool and Everton players have been sent down the tunnel in the derby over the years. Many times. The fixture has produced the most red cards in the league.
But in recent meetings between the two clubs tempers have largely remained composed, delivering less drama and less chaos, and most importantly to Klopp and current Everton manager Marco Silva, less red cards.
“The crowd wants to win and the best way for winning a game is with eleven players” Klopp said.
“Everyone knows that we had three or four harsh challenges in the past where one was a bit lucky and the other situation we were a little bit unlucky.
“There were a few situations where we suffered a little bit. But the last couple of games it was a football game, a very intense football game.
“I don’t think this generation of Everton and Liverpool players did a lot for that statistic. I think the red cards are a little bit older.”
It’s true that the hostile aggression of season’s gone has dwindled in the derby. But tempers can be funny things and Klopp’s team on the pitch will need to fight with clear heads on Sunday and do their best to not get dragged in petty scuffles. Three points is all that matters and we’ll move on to the next one.