Liverpool vs Everton always guarantees fireworks.
It might not produce the avalanche of goals that other blue riband Premier League matches offer, but make no mistake that few fixtures get the blood pumping quite like the Merseyside Derby.
And there's good reason to think that pulses are still racing after the first meeting of the two Liverpool-based clubs this season, which saw a dramatic 2-2 draw unfold at Goodison Park.
Liverpool vs Everton drama
Michael Keane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin notched equalisers for strikes from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah before VAR controversially ruled out a last-minute winner for the visitors.
But the biggest talking point undoubtedly came when a brutal tackle from Jordan Pickford, who avoided a red card on a technicality, inflicted a serious knee injury upon Virgil van Dijk.
And while we'd be lying if we said that tackle and that tackle alone has bridged the gap between the Merseyside clubs this season, there's no denying that it's played a key role.
Is the tide turning?
Besides, if Everton get the better of their local rivals at Anfield this weekend, they'll move level on 40 points in the Premier League standings - and with a game in hand to boot.
As a result, when the traditional combined XI rigmarole before big games rolled around, it was the most finely-poised that the Liverpool and Everton squads have been in the best part of five years.
After all, you'd be hard-pressed to argue that a single Toffees player deserved a place alongside the Premier League winners when the Marco Silva tenure was coming apart at the seams.
But if we're talking about 2020/21 performances in isolation, then there's a real conversation to be had with a slew of Everton players staking a claim amongst their silverware-ladened neighbours.
However, before you plot your own combined XI in your head, let's turn to the statistics because the data gurus at WhoScored.com have revealed what the 'true' Merseyside mash-up would really be.
They've taken their average Premier League match ratings, which are based upon numerous data sets, for every Liverpool and Everton player to see how a statistical combined XI would shape up.
The 'true' combined XI
The only caveats are that data has only been taken from starts and injured players aren't available, though, for the record, Van Dijk's average match rating means he wouldn't be picked anyway.
And, well, there's no shortage of controversy with more Everton players making the cut than Liverpool stars, so be sure to check out the final XI down below:
GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says
Is a random journalist a better judge of statistical footballing quality than reams of data programming averaging out performances from the entire season? Ummm, yeh, nope.
So, with that whopping caveat out of the way, I'm sure you're probably wondering what my opinion is here. Ok, probably not, but stick with me on this.
As much as I think that the battle-lines between Liverpool and Everton have blurred this season, it's pretty hard for me to stomach that the power has supposedly shifted across Stanley Park.
Sure, I resoundingly agree with Dominic Calvert-Lewin getting the nod over Roberto Firmino and it makes complete sense that at least one Everton centre-half would feature given Liverpool's injury crisis.
But even with Trent Alexander-Arnold's wonkier defensive moments this season, it's difficult to see him and Andrew Robertson - who are worth a combined £166.5 million - sitting behind Mason Holgate and Lucas Digne in the pecking order.
And if you think that Alisson Becker should be relegated beneath Pickford based on his recent errors then, well, we can't be friends. Only joking, GMS peeps, I love you really. Promise.News Now - Sport News