Everton’s historic victory over arch-rivals Liverpool on Saturday presents a unique opportunity which must be capitalised upon.
The Toffees have boasted some remarkable away form for some time, having not tasted defeat in their last eight games on the road.
With their neighbours’ scalp now claimed in the own backyard, Carlo Ancelotti’s side will indubitably be buoyed with fighting spirit and confidence when playing away from Goodison Park.
The result eased a recent slump, with the Toffees having only won one of their previous six league games prior to their Anfield victory – but there is more that needs to be done.
As BBC journalist Phil McNulty noted, the win has the capacity to break a psychological barrier at Everton, but his analysis was confined somewhat to the record the Toffees hold in the Merseyside derby.
Conversely, the effects of the win could run even deeper than an individual rivalry – it could serve as a wider catalyst to revive Everton’s push for European football this season. Having failed to win at Anfield since 1999, an insurmountable adversary was broken by a Toffees side which has proven its capacity to defy expectation.
Carrying that winning mentality forward, as McNulty succinctly puts it, ‘will provide huge confidence and momentum moving forward’ – not just in future derbies but in the campaign at large.
READ EVERTON VERDICT
Everton fans and Ancelotti alike will be inundated with praise for how the team performed against the Reds and broke off the 22-year shackles of history, but the conundrum remains: can the Toffees replicate that success and tactical astuteness every week?
If every game fields like an Anfield derby for Ancelotti’s side, expect Everton to be playing in Europe next season.