Everton take on Liverpool on Sunday in the 229th edition of the Mersyside Derby, with the Reds looking to equal their record of 15 consecutive games without defeat. Blues for their part are more stoic this year than any after enduring a miserable start to the season and only just starting to reach a level of stability.
Speaking ahead of his first Anfield Derby, manager Sam Allardyce appeared very relaxed and in good humour, riffing with the reporters on various topics.
On how he plans to have Everton line up -
"We've just been installing some of the basics we believe in; team play and how we effect each other's game and live or die by our team work.
"What sort of areas do we want to try and expose? When we keep the ball, why are we keeping it? It's one thing at a time.
"We can't let the occasion over-awe us. We have to deliver a performance that is tactically right and block off the areas Liverpool try and work in; then it's how good we are when we get possession.
"We know we probably won't get as much possession as them so how will we utilize it? If and when we get a chance we need to score."
On beating Liverpool’s high pressing style -
"The confidence they seem to have with one or two touch football is huge.
"It's very very good but it can be stopped. What we don't want to do is play into Liverpool's hands. If they do a high press then why are we going to try and play out from the back. Is that a good idea or not?
"Playing into the right areas for us is what we must try and do.
"I won there with Palace (last season) because we played our game which on the day was better than theirs. Our tactics paid dividends on the day. Their flair and natural talent is a concern.
"The last thing we want to do is go 1-0 down on Sunday."
It's the pre-Merseyside derby press conference!Posted by Everton Football Club on Friday, December 8, 2017
On the links with Pierre Aubameyang.. and Bitcoin?
"It's the hardest thing to recruit today - a centre forward who scores goals.
"It's the most expensive area of the pitch. We have a number of players here with decent goal scoring records; Niasse, Sandro. There are people who have scored goals.
"But it's my opinion that my first signing has to be right for Everton and my future. You make bad signings you get the sack, good signings it helps your prospects."
At that point a journalist's phone rang and interrupted him, and he wisecracked -
"Bitcoin- I wish I'd invested in that. Started at £1,000 it's £14,000 now."
When the phone kept ringing, he was surprised to hear that the ‘fine’ was only £10, adding that it was £25 at Crystal Palace, probably because of the cost of living in London.
Overall Big Sam appeared very relaxed and in good humour, asking fans to looking forward to the game on Sunday.
“It’s such an important game for everybody, particularly the Evertonians. I’ve got to try and make sure the players give their best on the day. Why not wake up on Sunday and look forward to this game.
“Go with a positive frame of mind and really look forward to this game. Know what your strengths are and play to your capabilities, and see if you can get a result.”