For some involved in the Merseyside derby tomorrow, the game at Anfield will be significant whatever the outcome.

Jamie Carragher will be playing his last match against Everton, since he is retiring at the end of the season. Phil Neville will miss the encounter through injury, but is also in the same circumstances as Carragher as he is leaving Goodison in June. It might, too, be the last time that David Moyes experiences the fixture, since he may also seek a new challenge when this campaign ends.

The derby match can never be reduced to the stories of individuals. Despite the friendships amongst the support – some families even contain Liverpool and Everton supporters – and the comradeship between the two sets of fans during the ongoing campaign for justice for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, the rivalry is still intense when the teams meet. This is, as always, a game about pride, local identity, a competitive instinct that runs deep into the city's psyche, but every derby game is capable of having its own identifying features.

Carragher is typical of the fixture. A boyhood Everton fan who has devoted his entire playing career to Liverpool, he is steeped in the football ethos of the city. In effect, both sets of supporters will be paying tribute to his qualities, not least the sense of him representing them, and their communities, on the field. He once told an interviewer that he was ribbed mercilessly by his childhood friends for turning up one day with a wallet – "where I'm from, you carry money in your pocket" – and immediately got rid of it.

When Carragher retires, Steven Gerrard will remain as the Liverpool player who epitomises the Merseyside character in the team. Moyes has left a different impression on Everton, but in a sense his achievement has been greater. This is a club whose wage budget places it around 10th in the Barclays Premier League spending charts, but which regularly finishes above that in the league table. A win at Anfield would ensure Everton finish above their city rivals for a second consecutive season, which last happened more than 50 years ago.

Numbers and statistics fascinate Moyes. When he was at Preston North End, the Scot was one of the few managers outwith the top flight who was using Prozone. He uses data analysis, of his own players and opponents, to help formulate Everton's game plan for every fixture, and his attention to detail is exhaustive. That has enabled Moyes to establish Everton among the second tier of Premier League clubs when finances are stretched, a buyer can't be found and no solution can be thought up for moving from or upgrading Goodison Park.

Other figures will irk Moyes, though. Everton have not won at Anfield since 1999, a run which includes his 11 visits as manager. Out of 21 Merseyside derbies in all, he has won only three. Indeed, Moyes has never won away to any of the original "big four" clubs – Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool – which seems a strange quirk when his side has proved so troublesome for Manchester City of late.

Moyes has raised Everton beyond their means. He has not yet committed to staying beyond this summer, when his contract runs out, and has been linked to jobs abroad, particularly in Germany. If Moyes does leave, it may be that his parting gift is a final season in which Everton sit above their local rivals.