Under David Moyes the Toffees were pragmatic. They got the ball wide, usually to Leighton Baines, who got the ball into the box whenever possible, usually to Marouane Fellaini. Combined with the intelligent play in central areas that allowed them to work such positions and a resolute backline, it worked.
There was no real reason to change their game having flirted with European football for some time, but in order to make that progression the board did see cause for a rethink in style. Cue the arrival of Roberto Martinez. The general consensus was that Everton may become more pleasant on the eye but sacrifice defensive solidity in turn. For now, however, the latter hasn't really come to pass.
Fans of the blue persuasion in Merseyside have actually witnessed their side concede marginally fewer shots per game this season (11.5 to 11.9) and allow fewer goals per game in turn (0.9 to 1.1). They've managed to maintain that strong defensive set-up whilst seeing their possession and pass accuracy figures rise significantly. Indeed, only three teams have averaged more possession than Everton this season (58.1 per cent), but Brendan Rodgers' side isn't one of them.
The Northern Irishman came under criticism early on having placed what many felt was too much emphasis on possession football. It was the feeling of some that they passed the ball to death without really heralding the rewards. The same can't be said for his current squad though, with the Reds, and their reunited SAS in particular, getting the plaudits for their free-scoring exploits thus far; only Arsenal and City have netted more (21).
The hosts will certainly fear their rivals' strike partnership, with Suarez in particular likely to put the frighteners up the home support. Liverpool have scored 16 goals in the six league matches since his return from suspension and the Uruguayan has netted in three of his four Merseyside derby appearances, picking up two assists as Steven Gerrard netted a hat-trick in the other.
Liverpool's game hasn't undergone major reconstruction, not by a long chalk, but they've become more efficient when they do have the ball. As many as eight teams have averaged more possession than the Reds this season (53.8 per cent) but only two have had more shots on target (68). Liverpool still look to pass the ball, maintaining a higher pass accuracy than Everton (84.6 per cent to 83.8 per cent), but they're doing so in more dangerous areas than when Rodgers first joined the club.
It is in fact Everton that could be targeted by those that question the benefits of possession focused football, with Martinez's side failing to score in their last two matches, looking void of ideas against bottom club Palace last time out, hitting the target just twice. They'll need to be more inventive come Saturday, as their home matches against Liverpool have generally seen only one side score of late.
This fixture last season was somewhat of a trend breaker in that regard and brought about the first draw at Goodison Park between the two rivals since 2000. It was also the first time the game saw both teams register on the scoresheet in six encounters at Everton.
WhoScored.com's statistically calculated match forecast suggests that Liverpool are likely to score 'as a result of individual skill'. If that proves to be the case, there are no prizes for guessing who is most likely to be the match winner this weekend.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.
Martin Laurence (Twitter: @martinlaurence7)