Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish admits his Anfield return will be emotional but he has told his players to make sure they keep their tempers in check in Sunday's 215th Merseyside derby.
Dalglish happy to be back
Dalglish will walk out of the Anfield tunnel as Reds boss for the first time in nearly 20 years and although the welcome he will receive will surpass anything afforded his predecessors he will have wanted to arrive in better circumstances. Dalglish is desperately in need of a win after two losses to start his latest era but that will not detract from the moment he walks under the famous Anfield sign to take his place on the bench.
"It will be emotive coming back down the steps," he said. "If the supporters are pleased to see me sitting there, they will not be as pleased as I am. It's all very well being romantic but the truth of the matter is we have got to start winning games. Me, the players, the staff, we are all responsible for trying to achieve that. It would cap off a fantastic day if we got a positive result. But Everton want a positive result, too, because they haven't exactly set the world alight this year either."
Dalglish will send out his team - without Scousers Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher through suspension and injury - at Anfield telling them to play the game and not the occasion. There have been 19 red cards in this fixture in the last 14 years and Dalglish is keen for his men not to add to that tally.
"The players here know the importance of the derby and sometimes the local lads get carried away and are too motivated and get a bit heated,'' Dalglish said. "Nowadays if you say 'Good morning' to someone you've got a chance of getting a red card. But you can't blame players for being passionate and committed - they've been highly criticised for not being passionate and committed.
"If there is a bit of understanding from the officials I'm sure it would ease things along a bit. You have to be intelligent - the fact it is a derby doesn't change the rules of the game, they are exactly the same. But you have to go and compete, just as you have in every other game. We want to see the players competing but within the rules of the game and if I have 11 players on the pitch we have a chance of winning.''
After defeats in Dalglish's opening two matches, and the team on a run of four losses in five domestic league and cup matches which have dropped them closer to the relegation zone, the significance of this derby is being hyped up. But the manager played down those suggestions.
"We're going out to win game. Where it takes us at this moment in time isn't particularly relevant,'' he added. "It's where you are at the end of the season when you add up the points that's the most relevant thing. A positive result for us gives everyone a lift. We just need a bit of confidence. The best way to do it is to start winning matches. The sooner we do that, the quicker the confidence will come.''