Opinion

Reds keen to maintain record over blue neighbours

On Sunday afternoon, Liverpool will welcome Everton to Anfield aiming to maintain a fantastic record against their neighbours from across Stanley Park. Since a 1-0 defeat on 27th September 1999, courtesy of a Kevin Campbell strike inside the opening 5 minutes, Liverpool have remained undefeated in all competitions against Everton at Anfield. That game is probably more remembered for the 3 red cards which saw a good old-fashioned tussle between Sander Westerveld and Francis Jeffers as well as seeing a young Steven Gerrard dismissed as Liverpool ended the match with 9 men.

Since that day and the turn of the century, Everton have traveled to Anfield 20 times, ending up on the losing side 10 times and drawing the other 10 matches. Liverpool have outscored Everton 33-12 in these matches which have included 2 4-0 midweek league victories in 2014 and 2016, the 1st of which could have seen another hat-trick but Sturridge ending up scooping his penalty into the Kop, much to my frustration in the lower centenary that night, having seen him score a wonderful looping effort from a Kolo Toure assist to make it 3-0. The game also is remembered for Romelu Lukaku managing to injure himself as Gerrard scored the opener with a header.

Everton have failed to score in 9 of these 20 matches although they have scored in all 3 of their previous trips. Everton have only managed to score 2 goals at Anfield once since that date and 3 times in the Premier League since it’s rebranding in 1992 (1995 & 1999 the other years) and that was in Kenny Dalglish’s 1st league game in his 2nd spell as manager in a 2-2 draw in 2011 which saw Raul Meireles score his first goal for the club.

Gerrard

Gerrard setting the ball ready for his free kick (his final Merseyside Derby goal)

Prior to last December’s meeting Everton had last came away from Anfield with a point in September 2014 when Steven Gerrard’s free kick, his last goal in a Merseyside derby, was cancelled out by a late long range equalizer by Phil Jagielka, a game I was sat in the lower centenary, still fuming about Balotelli’s inadequacy to get a 2nd goal following Gerrard’s strike.

The last meeting came in January in the FA Cup 3rd round where the build up focused on 1 man. £75m signing Virgil Van Dijk where questions were banded over whether he would start and not only did he start but he adhered himself to the Anfield faithful with the winner in a 2-1 result that took the reds through to a VAR-centered 4th round tie, again at Anfield, against West Bromwich Albion.

The view from the Kop as the players celebrated Van Dijk’s winner in January

Once again on Sunday, I will be in the Kop cheering on the reds in yet another derby. My own personal record sees Everton as the opponent I’ve seen play against Liverpool the most. Here’s to Liverpool continuing the run and Everton again enduring a derby defeat in December. 90th minute Sadio Mane winner anyone?

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