Starting this season in such uncommonly commanding fashion, Everton now face the biggest examination of their top-six credentials when arch-rivals Liverpool make the short trip to Goodison Park on Sunday.
During David Moyes’ tenure at the club, this has often been a fixture supporters dread. The Toffees have a woeful record under their current manager with just four victories and six draws coming in his 23 contests.
Recent form is particularly dire, with five of the past seven clashes ending in victory for the Anfield club, including a trio of deflating defeats last season.
With all this considered, and given how key personnel such as Marouane Fellaini, Darron Gibson and now Steven Pienaar could be missing, some may be thinking this result is already a forgone conclusion.
In an effort to restore confidence and inflate optimism among Evertonians, here's a look at why Sunday's derby may prove to be different.