Today, the 55th Premier League Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and Everton is taking place at Anfield. Liverpool, as the home side, are at the top of the table with an eight point difference from Leicester City. Everton are 17th, just two points above the relegation zone.
A very different start to the season for the two clubs. After 14 games played, Liverpool have won 13 times and drawn only one game, looking more confident than ever. They are doing everything they can in order to celebrate their first Premier League title (constituted in 1992). The last season they were champions was the 1989-1990 one.
On the other hand, Everton are having a disappointing start in the league. Their expectations were much higher in the summer, especially when taking into consideration that they have spent £118.5 million during the transfer window, on players such as Alex Iwobi, Moise Kean, Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin. They’ve spent the fifth-most money on new players this season.
The only clubs who’ve outspent Everton this season are Man United (£148m), Aston Villa (£144.5m), Arsenal (£138m) and Man City (£134.8m), with Liverpool being 19th as they spent just £4.4 million on the Dutch youngster and ex-PEC Zwolle central defender Sepp Van Berg.
Taking into consideration the importance of today’s game, in addition to the city of Liverpool being the most successful football city in England with Everton and Liverpool winning a combined 27 league titles, we decided to take a look at the history of the Merseyside derby, before finally summarizing everything with a brief statistical analysis.
The last FA Cup Final between the two sides
The Early Years
Everton FC were founded in 1878 and Priory Road was the first stadium of the club for six years. In 1884, Anfield was completed and inaugurated. Everton FC moved in, becoming the first team to play there. The first game that took place at Anfield was between Everton and Earlestown on 28 September 1884, which Everton won 5–0.
“In 1884, Anfield was completed and inaugurated. Everton FC moved in, becoming the first team to play there.”
Anfield stadium was first owned by John Orrell who was a friend of Everton FC member John Houlding. John Orrell agreed with Everton FC to rent Anfield in exchange of a small rental fee. In 1892 John Houlding purchased Anfield from John Orrell. John Holding asked for an increase in rent, however, Everton’s committee denied the request.
In addition, it has to be mentioned that several board members of Everton FC were members of the Liberal Party, whereas Houlding was a Conservative Party member. Houlding was also a brewer and his business interests were opposed to the rest of the members’ political beliefs, as the Liberal Party was associated with the National Temperance Foundation which supported an anti-alcohol ideology. Hence, with different political views and disputes over the stadium’s rental fee, Everton FC left Anfield and purchased a new ground at Goodison Park, which is Everton’s home until today. Stanley Park divides the two stadiums which are just 0.9 miles away.
“Stanley Park divides the two stadiums which are just 0.9 miles away.”
After Everton left Anfield in 1892, John Houlding was left without a tenant. Houlding decided to found a new club which was originally named ‘Everton FC and Athletic Grounds Ltd’. The Football Association refused to recognize the club as Everton and in March 1892 the club changed its name to Liverpool FC. Liverpool FC played their first-ever friendly game at Anfield on the 1st of September 1892 against Rotherham Town in front of 200 people and won 7-1. The first football league match of Liverpool at Anfield was a year later against Lincoln City. 5000 spectators watched Liverpool’s 4-0 home victory.
Two years later, Liverpool won their promotion to the First division. The first Merseyside derby took place at Goodison Park on the 13th of October 1894 with Everton winning 3-0.
“The Football Association refused to recognize the club as Everton and in March 1892 the club changed its name to Liverpool FC.”
Mutual Respect Between the two rivals
Despite that the Merseyside derby is the longest-running top-flight derby in England, taking place every season since 1962-63, there is no truly visceral hate among the fans of the two sides. The latter can be supported by the alternative name of the game which is the ‘Friendly Derby’. There are a number of reasons for which there is a mutual respect among the two sides.
First, members of a high number of families in the town support both Liverpool and Everton. In 1984 the two teams faced each other at the Football League cup final which took place at Wembley stadium with 100,000 fans attending the game. The game finished 0-0 and a replay match taking place at Maine Road, Manchester, would have decided the winner. Liverpool celebrated winning the trophy after a 1-0 victory. What was special about that Wembley final though was that there were mixed fans of the two clubs on the stands chanting together “Merseyside, Merseyside” and “Are you watching Manchester?”
“The Hillsborough memorials which take place every year find both Liverpool and Everton fans together to pay tribute to the victims.”
The Hillsborough disaster which took place on 15th of April 1989 where 96 Liverpool fans had lost their life was a key incident to enhance the feeling of mutual respect between the two sides. The tragedy of Hillsborough affected the entire city of Liverpool as children and adults unfairly died. Everton fans have lost their friends and relatives in some cases.
The Hillsborough memorials which take place every year find both Liverpool and Everton fans together to pay tribute to the victims. A number of actions on and off the field support the latter. An example was the 25th anniversary of the tragedy in 2014 where more than 20,000 fans of both clubs attended the memorial event which took place at the Kop stand of Anfield.
Their most successful decade
The 80’s was undoubtedly the most successful decade for both clubs. Liverpool was the team to dominate English football with success on the European stage as well.
During that time, the Reds won the league 6 times and the Football League Cup 4 times. In addition, they were also European Cup winners twice. Liverpool also won the FA Charity shield in 1980, 1982, 1988 and 1989.
Everton won the league twice in 1984-85 and 1986-87 (their last season to win the league until this day), the FA Cup once in 1984-85 and the FA Charity shield three times (1984, 1985, 1987). Everton also celebrated their only European trophy in 1984-85 by winning the European Cup Winners’ cup against Rapid Wien with a score of 3-1.
It has to be noted that the 1986 Charity shield was shared by the two Merseyside clubs after a 1-1 draw which was attended by 88,000 fans at Wembley.
The statistical side of the derby
Everton and Liverpool have faced each other 233 times in all competitions. Liverpool have won 93 times, Everton 66 times, and 74 matches ended in a draw.
The current decade has been dominated by Liverpool when it comes to these two clubs. Everton are without a win in all competitions at a Merseyside derby since October 2010.
Everton’s last derby win came on the 17th of October 2010, where they defeated Liverpool 2-0 at home.
“This is Everton’s worse Merseyside derby run of all time.”
This is Everton’s worse Merseyside derby run of all time (17 games in a row) with the second worse being a 15 game run without a win from April 1978 to March 1982.
The blues will try to put an end to that dire streak today against Klopp’s Liverpool, with the latter being massive favourites, having both quality and momentum on their side.