Ancelotti was undoubtedly too busy with his own career to pay close attention to the nuances of the Merseyside derby, but his decline has been a great sadness in the modern era of the Premier League.
For a decade, perhaps longer, Everton stopped playing tied for Liverpool. They play them like underdogs, like it’s a cutting device.
It does not mean that they are not in competition. Liverpool haven’t won at Goodison Park since December 2016. Yet it is an inferior form of competition, based largely on lack of ambition and the willingness to frustrate and nullify a superior opponent.
Even at home, Everton played Liverpool as if they were hoping to draw and bring them back to their place. And on Saturday that changed.
Everton were also lucky. It is indisputable. Jordan Pickford should have been sent off within the first 10 minutes, Virgil van Dijk was sent off from the game – and possibly the season – and there are telescopes at NASA that would not be able to identify why Sadio Mane was offside for what should have been Liverpool’s late winner.
Still, there were times when Everton were in the forefoot, when Everton’s urgent passing triangles caught the eye, when Everton demonstrated the ambition of a team at the top of the table.
Ancelotti delivered this for them. The change of the narrative, the recalibration of the targets. He won’t play for Liverpool like he’s in awe of them. He will not try to keep them at bay.
Ancelotti has faced Liverpool 15 times as a coach. He played them more times than he did in Turin. And in those 15 games, he won seven. He has beaten Liverpool on more occasions than he has beaten Juventus or AC Milan. Why, then, should he be afraid of this bold red shirt?