Friday, September 30, 2011

Everton vs Liverpool: The Merseyside Derby

Editorial | Best Merseyside derby matches |

It is ironically known as 'The Friendly Derby' due to the large number of families who have both Reds and Blues supporters in them. But as we know - it's far from friendly when both teams set foot on the pitch.

Here we look back at some of the most memorable Merseyside derbies:

1932/1933 First Division - Liverpool 7-4 Everton (Anfield)

The scoreline says it all. It's the highest scoring Merseyside derby in history and given today's defensive and physical nature of the game, it's unlikely we will see such a scoreline again. Everton legend Dixie Dean led the line valiantly for Everton, scoring twice himself as the visitors scored four at Anfield. But it proved insufficient as a hat-trick from Harold Barton saw the home side romp to victory in this 11 goal epic derby.

1982-83 First Division - Everton 0-5 Liverpool

It is often referred to as the Ian Rush match. The Welsh striker was a living nightmare for Everton, scoring an incredible four goals to cement his legendary status at Anfield and till this day remains the only Liverpool player to have scored a hat-trick at Goodison Park. Everton's cause was not helped by the sending off of Glenn Keeley, who happened to be making his debut for the club. Mark Lawrenson added the other for the Reds in the final season of Bob Paisley's reign.

1991 FA Cup Fifth Round (Replay) - Everton 4-4 Liverpool (Goodison Park)

Nobody expected a match of such epic proportions after the two sides produced a dismal and uneventful 0-0 draw in the first tie. But it all exploded into life in the replay at Goodison Park - a match considered to be one of the best - if not the best - Merseyside derbies ever.

Liverpool, who were managed by Kenny Dalglish then, incredibly led four times in the game, with a double from Peter Beardsley and strikes from Ian Rush and John Barnes. But Everton epitomized the spirit of comeback by hitting back each time through Graeme Sharp and Tony Cottee - both scoring a brace each. It proved to be the last match in charge of the Reds for Dalglish, who resigned a week later.

1998/99 Premier League - Liverpool 3-2 Everton (Anfield)

It was a game best remembered for Robbie Fowler's infamous line-sniffing celebration which then manager Gerard Houllier defended by saying "he was eating the grass". That aside, it was as good a Merseyside derby as it could get.

The Anfield faithful were still settling to their seats when Olivier Dacourt stunned the home crowd by scoring the opening goal after just 40 seconds. But Fowler single-handedly turned the match in favour of the Reds with two goals in six minutes before half-time.

The second-half was a cagier affair but it's the Merseyside derby we are talking about. Patrick Berger looked to have put the game beyond Everton with a goal in the 82nd minute, but 'Fox-in-the-box' Francis Jeffers nicked one back two minutes later to ensure a nervous finish for the Reds. And the Kop's hearts were in their mouths when a goal-bound Danny Cadamarteri shot was cleared off the line by a young Steven Gerrard.

2000/01 Premier League - Everton 2-3 Liverpool (Goodison Park)

Both sides headed into the derby at opposite ends of the table. Everton were fighting for their place in the top-tier of English football while Liverpool were closing in on third place. And like all Merseyside derbies - form was thrown out of the window. It proved to be one of the most pulsating and typically tempestuous matches between the rivals in recent memory.

Emile Heskey gave Gerard Houllier's men the lead after just four minutes before Duncan Ferguson drew Everton level. Right-back Marcus Babbel restored the home side's lead near the hour-mark, only for David Unsworth to to silence the Kop from the spot. Four minutes into extra-time, with the game heading for a 2-2 draw, up stepped Gary McAllister for a free-kick from 40-yards. The Scottish midfielder somehow found the bottom corner of the net with a stunning effort to send the Anfield crowd into hysteria.

2006/07 Premier League - Everton 3-0 Liverpool

It was Everton's biggest victory over their bitter rivals in 42 years. Everton had got their season off to a flying start and were to continue it with victory over Liverpool. Tim Cahill opened the scoring before Andy Johnson added a second in the first half to put the game pretty much beyond the Reds.

Rafael Benitez's men threatened to stage a comeback after the break. But it was not to be as the Toffees stood firm and piled on the humiliation for their rivals with a second from Johnson in the last minute.

Some Merseyside derby facts

- This is the 216th meeting between the sides, making it the most played fixture in English football

- Liverpool have the edge with 85 wins to Everton's 66. There have been 64 draws.

- Since the Premier League's creation, the fixture holds the record for the most red cards with 19.

- The longest unbeaten derby run is Everton's in 14 matches from 1941 to 1952.

- The longest unbeaten derby run, away from home, is Everton's - 16 matches from 1899 to 1920.

- The longest winning run, away from home, is Everton's 7 consecutive wins at Anfield from 1908 to 1915.

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