Everton manager David Moyes expects a "feisty" Merseyside derby this weekend, but no more so than in previous years.
The stakes are high heading into the 214th clash between Everton and Liverpool on Sunday, with both teams struggling at the lower end of the Barclays Premier League. Everton needed seven games to register their first win, while Liverpool's below-par performances have left them in the bottom three at a time when their off-field problems have dominated headlines.
"I don't see why this one would be more (feisty) than any other game. Maybe it is because tackling has been debated a bit at the moment," said Moyes.
"It shouldn't put any more focus on the game because if it does it would probably ruin the spectacle.
"Parts of derbies are the challenges, sometimes not so good challenges. That is the way it always has been. It is always a feisty occasion.
"We don't want the bad tackles but this is why people talk about the derby and are excited about it. What they expect from managers and players is a bit of commitment.
"We don't want to see bad injuries but we don't want to stop tackling. I wouldn't want to manage teams that couldn't tackle. I think the games are feisty but I would quite enjoy that."
Everton's preparations have been badly hit by injuries with Fellaini and Phil Jagielka returning from international duty with hamstring problems.
Key midfielder Fellaini faces up to six weeks out after suffering his injury in Belgium's Euro 2012 qualifier with Austria.
Defender Jagielka's injury is not as bad as feared after pulling up in an England training session, but he is still unlikely to feature on Sunday.
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