Liverpool's season so far has raised more questions that answers in what has been a worrying time for the club.
The Reds have fallen short of last campaign's excellence to date and there are major concerns about a number of areas of their squad.
The lack of goals and the porous defence are obvious worries, but the form of their captain, Steven Gerrard, is also beginning to frustrate.
Gerrard, so long Liverpool's talisman, has shown signs of ageing in recent times and his displays in a defensive midfield role have seen many call for him to take a prolonged absence from the first-team.
The 34-year-old has lost the dynamism that he once offered to the side and his displays so far this season have fallen well below par.
In the Merseyside derby, his teammates will be looking for him to use his ample experience to guide them through what promises to be a hotly contested fixture, but he may not even be the most talented English midfielder on the pitch anymore.
Everton's Gareth Barry has become a central figure in Roberto Martinez's side over the past year, where his composure in possession has allowed the Toffees to asset their authority on the game.
Although Barry has never reached the heights Gerrard did at his peak, as the former Manchester City man has grown older, his performances have arguably improved rather than regressed.
Barry is the glue that holds Everton's squad together as he allows their more creative stars to move forward and his intelligent displays have been particularly eye catching.
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Indeed, he is certainly proving to be a more influential figure than Gerrard for his team.
Barry's performances have surpassed the Reds' legend's displays so far in almost every important area of the game.
He has made more passes, at a better accuracy rate, he has been more available to his teammates and he has also shown greater defensive qualities than his Liverpool counterpart.
It highlights the renaissance Barry is having at Everton currently and if they are to beat their close rivals at the weekend his performance in the centre of the pitch will be crucial, whilst Gerrard will need to step up if he is to have an impact.