In The Oxford Companion to Chess (1996), David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld offer the assessment that the opening favors White and suggest the origin of the intriguing name.
...an extensively analyzed variation that favours White. It was known to the 16th-century Italian masters and the name is Italian for a piece of liver, perhaps implying that the sacrifice of White's knight is like a slice of liver used as bait in a trap.The Wikipedia entry currently offers, "White has a strong attack, but it has not been proven to be decisive." That is my view, but it is not universally shared.
The opening begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6
White to move
Now Black makes the first important choice.
Although 8...Nce7 is a frequent move, it is my view that 8...Ncb4 is Black's best choice.
White to move
White has a problem to solve. The most common response here may not be the best.
In my best game on the Black side of the Fried Liver, my opponent played 9.a3. That game continued 9...Nxc2+ 10.Kd1 Nxa1 11.Nxd5 Kd6 12.d4 b5!? and I was in the process of repeating moves when we agreed to a draw on move 22.
9.Bb3!? has been explored in a small number of games. It may deserve more attention.
In a challenge on Chess.com that resulted from my claim that the Fried Liver is unsound, and Black is fine if he or she defends accurately, my opponent continued with 9.Qe4.
When that game finishes, I plan to post it.