As Liverpool heads into a local lockdown, Merseyside’s two football clubs will lock horns at Goodison Park – live on talkSPORT.
The rivalry has seen more red cards than any other English fixture since the Premier League’s inception, underlining the passion and tenacity the fixture invokes.
With the Toffees evolving under Carlo Ancelotti and the Reds needing to bounce back after a humbling 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa we could be set for a humdinger on Saturday at 12:30pm.
Players including Steven Gerrard have let their passion get the better of them on derby day With many families in the city having supporters from both teams, the Merseyside derby was initially given the tag of being the ‘friendly derby’. Cameras will often spot the odd Liverpool shirt in a sea of blue at Goodison Park’s Gwladys Street End when the two sides face each other.
The rivalry started when Liverpool were founded in 1892 and took Everton’s home ground, Anfield. Everton’s owner at the time, John Houlding, got in a dispute with the club’s board and founded his own club, while Everton moved to a new home. More gets made of this fallout though as the powers that be seemed content taking Everton to Goodison Park anyway.
Generally, there seemed to be a mutual respect between the two clubs, whose homes are merely separated by Stanley Park – the 1984 League Cup final between Liverpool and Everton was known as the ‘friendly final’.
Although we all know Bill Shankly would have closed the curtains if the Toffees were playing at the bottom of his garden.
Liverpool and Everton were two of the best teams in the land in the 1980s Relations did become strained after the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985, where a minority of Liverpool fans were responsible for the deaths of 39 people before their European Cup final against Juventus. This led to a five-year ban from European competitions for all English teams and a promising Toffees side were thus denied the chance to compete on the continent.
However, the city was well and truly united following the Hillsborough disaster four years later. 96 Liverpool fans died during an FA Cup semi-final tie but of course it was an incident that affected Everton supporters too.
Upon the vindication of Liverpool fans at Hillsborough in August 2012, two children sporting Everton and Liverpool kits with numbers 9 and 6 on the back walked onto the Goodison Park pitch holding hands before a Toffees Premier League match.
The Hillsborough disaster affected Everton and Liverpool fans On the pitch, there are plenty of hostilities with 21 sending offs in Premier League matches between Liverpool and Everton.
So what’s it like to play in one of these matches? Ahead of our live commentary, talkSPORT.com has taken a look at what makes the Merseyside derby so great.
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As desperate as fans are to claim local bragging rights, it seems the Merseyside derby was for many years viewed as a good opportunity to show the rest of the country just what football in Liverpool is all about, with former Everton man Tim Cahill suggesting the city stops on derby day.
He said: “I think it is one of the biggest (matches) other than playing for your country in a World Cup. The derby is magical.
“It is not only the day of the game, it is after, it is before, it is the grudges, the banter.
“For those 90 minutes the whole of Liverpool stops and you have countries around the world watching.
“Going into the game, whether you are injured or you have little problems whatever, it is forgotten.”
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Cahill scored when Everton last beat Liverpool back in October 2010 Meanwhile, Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish said: “The derbies are perhaps more frantic and hectic but they will still be competitive.
“It will always be competitive but it is not malicious – and if it is not competitive you have a problem.
“It is a great game to play in, there is a fantastic atmosphere, and the city should be very proud it has two fantastic clubs.
“Overall I think both the clubs have done more good than harm for the city.”
The Merseyside derby could make or break a player – Dalglish experiencing both sides of derby day It’s a whole lot better than the Manchester derby, according to Tim Howard, who was was at Manchester United before joining Everton.
He told talkSPORT: “The Merseyside derby is the greatest game I’ve ever played in.
“It’s a thousand times better than the Manchester derby. Anyone who tells you differently is just pulling your leg.
“(The Merseyside derby) is the one everyone looks forward to, even people who don’t reside on Merseyside, it’s special.”
Tim Cahill and Tim Howard celebrate an Everton win It’s not just matchday when derby fever hits Liverpool.
Liverpool’s record scorer Ian Rush, who once scored four goals in a 5-0 win for the Reds at Goodison Park, revealed how supporters from both sides would be reminding the players of the importance of emerging victorious in the days leading up to it.
Rush said: “When you’re playing Liverpool or you’re playing Everton on the Saturday you’d see on a Tuesday that there would be about 50 (people) outside Melwood.
“And Wednesday there’d be 100 and Thursday 200 and Friday there’d be 300 outside Melwood saying ‘make sure you beat them’ and all that.
However, if we’re on about bragging rights it’s the local lads who understand the significance of this better than anyone.
Ian Rush believes Liverpool deserve the chance to finish the Premier League season and be crowned champions
Jamie Carragher grew up an Evertonian but later switched sides and went on to become a Reds icon. But he revealed that he never truly let himself enjoy the occasion because he was so desperate to win.
Carragher said: “The overriding emotion for me on derby day was fear more than joy, even as I savoured memorable victories.
“I wanted to win derbies like no other game because I dreaded the consequences of defeat. You felt so relieved when you were successful because you knew how awful it felt on the wrong side of the result.”
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Carragher ran the length of the Goodison Park pitch to celebrate a win in October 2007 with the Liverpool fans, one of the times he gave into his emotions on derby day Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard perhaps did let himself get wrapped up in the spectacle – too much at times. He has contributed to two of the 21 red cards in Merseyside derbies in the Premier League years.
There have been some glorious moments for Gerrard though, the standout one coming in March 2012 when he scored a hat-trick in a 3-0 victory at Anfield and the Liverpool great revealed it was the perfect way to stick it to the Evertonians, who had taunted him throughout his career.
Gerrard said: “I had years of tonnes and tonnes of abuse off Everton fans from when I made my debut at 18-years of age. So to score a hat-trick against them at Anfield (in March 2012), that was obviously a special moment from a personal point of view.
“But any time that you experienced a derby victory as a player was always a special feeling.”
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Gerrard scored ten goals against Everton in his career Like all derbies, there are one or two frosty exchanges between opposing players and Everton legend Peter Reid recalled one brilliant dispute with former Red Ronnie Moran that stretched over two games.
Shortly after Moran’s death in 2017, Reid said: “One of my best memories of him were the derbies, which as well know, are fiery affairs.”
“One year, they beat us at Anfield and as I was walking off the pitch, Ronnie came over to me and said: ‘Hey lad, you played well’. Let’s just say I gave him an Anglo-Saxon response!”
“The following year we beat them at Anfield and I couldn’t see Ronnie in the tunnel so I marched straight into the boot room, found him and said: ‘Unlucky, you played well’. I got the same Anglo-Saxon response!”
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When Peter Reid played in the Merseyside derby it wasn’t only his shirt which was blue! The Merseyside derby has the power to make or break players and managers too.
As mentioned, Rush’s four-goal haul at Goodison in November 1982 made him an instant Anfield icon. Perhaps he wouldn’t have gone on to become their record goalscorer if he didn’t have such a wonderful game.
However, a 4-4 draw at Everton spelled the end of Dalglish’s first spell as Liverpool manager in Feburary 1991, the Scot understood to have still been struggling with the psychological trauma of Hillsborough.
Everton’s previous manager Marco Silva’s decline arguably started following a heart-breaking defeat to Liverpool in December 2018, where Divock Origi scored a freak stoppage-time goal. Everton’s form plummeted after that and Silva was sacked twelve months later with the club in a relegation battle at the time.
But the likes of Peter Crouch prove just how much a good performance in a Merseyside derby can make a player.
Talking about a clash at Goodison in December 2005 where he scored Liverpool’s opener in a 3-1 win, he said: “These matches have the power to define reputations and change how someone is perceived by fans.
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This was the only goal Crouch scored for Liverpool against the Toffees “That was something Jamie Carragher told me before my first Liverpool-Everton game in December 2005. I’d suffered a difficult start to my time at Anfield but I’d just found a little bit of form before we went to Goodison Park.“Carra and Steven Gerrard both spoke to me in the build-up and their message was clear: ‘If you do something here,’ they said, ‘you’ll always be remembered. This is the one.’
“I remember it (scoring against Everton at Goodison Park in December 2005) like it was yesterday and can still see the angry faces and the programmes flying down at me. Funny.”
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Liverpool’s celebrations were fairly muted despite trouncing their local rivals in December We’d love to say that the rivalry burns as bright as ever these days but that’s simply not the case.
Everton have not tasted victory against their local rivals since October 2010. They were even knocked out of this season’s FA Cup by a second string Liverpool side.
But 10 years to the day of that last win, they perhaps have their best chance of glory as the unpredictable Premier League season gets back under way – live on talkSPORT.