IT'S often been said that the fizz and fervour of the Merseyside derby has been diluted in recent years due to the influx of so many foreign players.
The suggestion is that because they were brought up in places where the first question visitors get asked is not 'are you Red or Blue?' they will never fully appreciate what it means to win or lose one of these local squabbles.
Put that theory to Javier Mascherano, though, and it's clear to see from the way he bristles that the opposite is true; he may be from Argentina but his desire for Liverpool to beat Everton tomorrow is as strong as those Reds who will congregate in the Bullens Road.
Smarting after an inglorious exit from the Champions League on Tuesday, Mascherano and his colleagues are in need of a boost, having lurched from one low to another during a ruinous autumn.
So what better way to beat the blues is there than beating the Blues?
'This is the perfect game for us to try and catch a bit more confidence,' said Liverpool's midfield tiger, a player destined to thrive in the hurly-burly of contest.
'We know how important it is for us in terms of our position in the league and for our supporters.'
David Moyes and his players may revel in their role as the neighbours from hell, and they will be just as determined to put their own recent misery behind them with a repeat of the display that enabled them to knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup in February.
Mascherano, however, does not expect that game, which was settled by a solitary Dan Gosling goal in extra time, to have any bearing on the outcome of the latest instalment of a fixture that neither side can afford to lose.
He might have cut a dejected figure the last time he slipped out the Goodison Park exit door, but Mascherano has no intention of being on the receiving end of a similar scoreline this weekend.
Aware that Liverpool cannot afford to squander many more points if they are to keep tabs on the sides who are jostling for a Champions League spot, Mascherano - whose form has been outstanding in the last month - is ready to carry the fight to Everton.
Three points, of course, are only on offer to the winners, but the suspicion remains that whichever side is victorious will get the kind of boost money cannot buy, while the vanquished will be subjected to intense scrutiny. Given they have had every move dissected during a run of two wins in 11 games, Mascherano is tired of having to bat off questions about the state of Liverpool's health and is determined to get people talking about Rafa Benitez's men for the right reasons.
'If we could go to Goodison and win, it would give everyone such a massive lift,' said Mascherano.
'It's so disappointing to have gone out of the Champions League, but there is still a lot to play for.
'We have the FA Cup, and we want to try and win the Europa League.
'We want to make sure we get back into the Champions League again, too.
'The last time we went to Goodison, was very disappointing, one of our worst games of last season. But this is a completely different story. We are absolutely desperate to win for our supporters.
'We only have to remember what we did to Everton when we played them in the league (and Fernando Torres scored twice).
'The FA Cup defeat is just a statistic now, it will have no bearing. We know how special it would be to win at Goodison Park.
'We all want that feeling again. We need to win to get three points and get back towards the top of the table again, where we expect to be.
'We know we haven't played well so far. This is one of the most special games you can be involved in as a Liverpool player.
'Games against Everton and Manchester United are the ones you want to win most for the fans, you only have to see the way they celebrate. And we have to play with same passion and intensity.
'If we can play like we did against Manchester United, with the same control and same determination, I think it will be a very good afternoon for the supporters. We will be doing everything we can to win for them.'