There was a time when Everton and Liverpool supporters would eagerly scrutinize the newly released fixture list to make a note of the Merseyside derby.

However, by the start of the Millennium, a fixture that once dominated English football started to lose its allure due to the fortunes of both clubs moving in opposite directions.

Everton fans could only watch depressingly from the sidelines as their rivals won domestic, European and global honours. In the same two-decade period, no additional space was required in the Goodison Park trophy room.

There was a 50-point gap between the two teams when Liverpool lifted the Premier League last season. Jurgen Klopp could afford to field fringe and youth players against their neighbours in both league and cup matches, a sign that the derby had slipped down his priority list.

Tomorrow Everton make the short journey across Stanley Park, to Anfield where they have not won since 1999, thanks to a solitary strike from Kevin Campbell.

The 51-year-old believes taking three points from the home of current champions will further signify improvements at his former club under Carlo Ancelotti.

He explained: “The derby has meant more to Everton because Liverpool have had titles and Europe to contend with. Last season, they ran away with the league. But this season, we are in February and only three points behind them. Beat them and it is neck and neck. The gap is being bridged. For some Evertonians, it's not fast enough. We have to be patient but we will get there.

“Carlo’s track record and achievements are known throughout world football and he is making his mark on Everton. It will take time, it won’t happen overnight but when you have a manager of his pedigree on your side, that can only be a positive.

“From a personal point of view, I’m hoping the whole ‘not winning at Anfield’ issue can be put to bed as it will save me getting calls in the future. This is the third one I have had so far!”

Campbell enjoys hero status amongst the Goodison faithful after playing a pivotal role in securing their Premier League status in the 1998/1999 season. He initially arrived on loan from Trabzonspor and scored nine goals in eight appearances before making the move permanent for five seasons.

Some Everton fans anticipate qualification for the Champions League at the expense of the six-time European Cup winners.

Campbell holds a more “realistic” perspective.

He adds: “Having beaten Tottenham (FA Cup) and then losing to Fulham (league), it shows the squad needs strengthening. But you can’t rely on a manager’s stature or past success when looking to bring in new players. Winning trophies and offering European football gives you an edge in transfers.

“Champions League at this stage will be too much of a jump up. A top-six finish and qualifying for the Europa League will be an excellent season for Everton. There is a quarter-final in the FA Cup to look forward to and there has been good news about the [new] stadium. The club is moving in the right direction.”