Liverpool, England – Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has played in plenty of Merseyside derbies against Everton. But even after all these years, he still relishes those games above all others.
So when Liverpool takes the field on Saturday at Goodison Park against the Toffees, you can bet that Gerrard will have done everything in his power to take part.
Gerrard made his first league appearance of the season last weekend in a nine- minute substitute cameo against Wolverhampton after battling a groin injury, and whether it is off the bench or in the starting 11, he is ready to contribute.
"I think it's the best week of the season," Gerrard said of derby week. "These are the two favorite games for me with Manchester United a close second. Because of the Merseyside rivalry and the buzz you get from beating them, it's probably my favorite game, so I'm looking forward to it. We'll just have to wait and see what Kenny decides to do with the team and whether I'm going to be in from the start or on the bench, but whatever he decides I'll be ready."
Liverpool snapped a two-game losing skid last time out with a 2-1 win over Wolves, while a showdown with Manchester United awaits following the Everton clash.
The Toffees will be trying to reverse a poor run of form against their Merseyside rivals with Everton having won just one of the last nine matches against the Reds in the league.
Manager David Moyes saw his team lose 2-0 to Manchester City last time out, and with Everton traveling to Chelsea up next in the league, the club will be trying to survive a tough stretch of games.
Midfielder Leon Osman played in his first Merseyside derby in 2004 and he feels as though the team that controls the midfield will come out on top.
"It is absolutely vital (we win the midfield battle)," Osman told evertontv. "From the first whistle to the last the team that usually wins the derby is the team that controls the tempo and controls the middle of the park - both teams will be looking to get the upper hand in there."
The Merseyside derby will not be the only game involving two big rivals this weekend as North London sides Arsenal and Tottenham square off at White Hart Lane.
Arsenal collected a much-needed win last time out against Bolton while Tottenham has won three straight after opening the season with back-to-back losses.
Manchester United dropped points in the league for the first time last weekend as the Red Devils were held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke City, and Sir Alex Ferguson's side will try to rebound on Saturday with a win at home against Norwich City.
Manchester City is tied atop the league with United and the Citizens visit Blackburn, while Chelsea travels to a Bolton side trying to snap a five-game losing streak.
Newcastle has been one of the surprise packages in the league so far as the Magpies are unbeaten through six games and they will try to continue that run at Wolverhampton.
Aston Villa is also unbeaten through six games but the Villains have drawn their last four and try to return to the win column against Wigan.
West Bromwich travels to Sunderland with the Baggies sitting second from the bottom, Fulham hosts QPR, and Swansea City entertains Stoke City.