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The Merseyside Derby is the name given to any association football match contested between Everton and Liverpool FC football clubs, the two most successful clubs from the city of Liverpool in England. It is the longest currently running top flight derby in England, having been at that level since 1962 when Liverpool were promoted to the First Division (later the Premier League) for the last time.
Traditionally, the Merseyside Derby was referred to as The Friendly Derby because of the large number of families who have both Reds and Blues supporters in them.
It is one of the few local derbies that does not enforce fan segregation. With so many families and friends supporting both clubs, it is not uncommon to see Evertonians and Liverpudlians sitting together during the derby. The 1984 Milk Cup final at Wembley had the strange sight of almost all sections of the ground being mixed and combined chants of "Merseyside, Merseyside" and "Are you watching Manchester?.."
There are a number of reasons for the "friendly derby" tag. Firstly the clubs are situated in the north of the City and very close to each other (less than a mile), with only Stanley Park separating the two. Everton actually played at Anfield, which is now Liverpool's ground before a rent dispute with the ground owners saw Everton relocate to Goodison Park and the formation of Liverpool F.C. From 1902 to 1932 the two clubs even shared the same matchday programme. Today there are no evident geographical, political, social, or religious divides as in other derbies, although for many years a sectarian divide did exist within the city (Kilfoyle, 2000) it is unclear how (if at all) this influenced the support bases of the two clubs and more recent research has indicated that it was more likely to be a political allegiance that influenced support . During the 1950s and 1960s Everton were coined as the Catholic club mainly as a result of successful Irish players Tommy Eglington, Peter Farrell and Jimmy O'Neill as well as manager Johnny Carey. This, in turn caused Liverpool to be thought of as Protestant club. However it should be noted that this notional divide was never seen as a basis for supporting a certain side as is the case with Celtic and Rangers. In truth both teams have strong support from all denominations as well as many fans from Presbyterian North Wales and Catholic Ireland. Most importantly, the actual clubs themselves did not act to strengthen sectarian divides and in fact both clubs stem from a Methodist origin.
Unlike other local derbies (such as the Bristol, Birmingham and Stoke derbies, where the clubs are separated by long distances across their towns) violence between Evertonians and Liverpudlians is a rarity, but in the fallout from the Heysel Stadium disaster, fan relationships became strained, with Everton fans blaming Liverpool hooligans for their subsequent ban from the European club competitions. However, relations improved after the Hillsborough disaster when both sets of fans rallied together, with Evertonians even joining in on the boycott of the Sun while Everton and Liverpool scarves were intertwined stretching across Stanley Park between Anfield and Goodison Park. Recently, after the murder of 11 year old Rhys Jones in a gun crime incident in 2007, Liverpool Football Club invited the victim's parents and older brother to Anfield for a Champions League match. The Z-Cars theme tune Johnny Todd, the song which Everton traditionally run out to was played for the first time ever at Anfield while the victim's family stood on the pitch wearing Everton shirts and scarves. A standing ovation was given before You'll Never Walk Alone was played.
The city of Liverpool is statistically the most successful football city in England with Everton and Liverpool winning a combined 27 league titles, and there has never been a season without one of either Everton or Liverpool competing in the top flight. Both clubs have rich histories, with Everton being one of the twelve founder member clubs of the Football League. Everton have only been relegated twice and have competed in over 100 seasons of top flight football, more than any other English club. To date Everton have won 9 League Championships, 5 FA Cups and 1 European Cup Winners Cup. Liverpool hold the current joint record of the most League Championships with 18. They also have won the European Cup 5 times, more than any other English club, the FA Cup on 7 occasions and three UEFA Cups.
Since 1892 the clubs have appeared almost every year in the Liverpool Senior Cup, although Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere Rovers only field reserve sides against the likes of Prescot Cables, Southport and Marine. Everton hold 45 titles while Liverpool have won 39.
Matches between Everton/Liverpool and Tranmere Rovers, based in Birkenhead (on the other side of the River Mersey) are also classed as Merseyside derbies, but Tranmere have never been in the top division, so competitive matches are a rarity. Pre-season friendlies are often played but the dislike between Rovers and the two Merseyside Giants stems from purely geographical reasons rather than footballing tradition.
Everton and Liverpool FC also have affiliated women's teams playing in the Women's Premier League, although only Everton ladies have won titles in the women's top division.
Modern day derbies
During the 1960s Liverpool and Everton were regular winners of domestic trophies, but while Liverpool went from strength to strength in the 1970s and 1980s, Everton went through a relatively barren spell after their 1970 title triumph and did not win a major trophy for the next 14 years.
However, Everton started to emerge as a serious threat to Liverpool's dominance of the domestic scene following the appointment of Howard Kendall as manager at the start of the 1981-82 season. The first Merseyside derby that Kendall oversaw was at Anfield on 7 November, when his side lost 3-1 to Bob Paisley's. This saw Liverpool standing seventh in the league and Everton 13th. An identical scoreline followed in the return game at Goodison Park in late March, by which time Liverpool had overcome a dismal start to the season to muscle in on a title race which they eventually won, while Everton were still mid table.
In 1982-83, the final season of Bob Paisley's management before he retired to make way for Joe Fagan, Liverpool were champions once again with Everton finishing mid table, and the most notable of the two derbies occured in early November when Liverpool triumphed 5-0 at Goodison Park. The return match at Anfield in mid March brought a goalless draw.
1983-84 was the season when Everton (who won the FA Cup at the end of the campaign) really started to emerge as a serious threat to Liverpool. Though Liverpool won the league title and Everton still couldn't even make the top five, Liverpool needed a replay to see off Everton 1-0 in the League Cup final at Wembley. The Anfield derby in early November saw Liverpool triumph 3-0, while the clash at Goodison Park four months later ended in a 1-1 draw.
The 1984-85 season began with a Liverpool derby in the FA Charity Shield at Wembley, when league champions Liverpool faced FA Cup winners Everton in a game which Everton won 1-0 due to an own goal by Bruce Grobbelaar. The first league clash came on 20 October 1984, when a 1-0 win for Everton at Anfield saw Howard Kendall's team occupy fourth place in the league and show signs of challenging for the title for the first time in his four seasons in charge, while Liverpool were a lowly 17th and just 2 points outside the relegation zone. Liverpool's final game of the season came on 23 May when they lost 1-0 to Everton (who still had two games left to play) at Goodison Park. Everton had been crowned champions by this stage, while Liverpool had rallied since their terrible start to the season to occupy second place.
1985-86 was perhaps the most exciting season for the fans of both clubs, as Liverpool and Everton battled it out for both the league title and the FA Cup. The first Merseyside derby of the season came at Goodison Park on 21 September 1985 and was won 3-2 by Liverpool, who stood second behind Manchester United while Everton occupied sixth place. Everton triumphed 2-0 in the return match at Anfield five months later, by which time Everton had just taken over from Manchester United as league leaders and Liverpool were eight points behind them in second place. The climax to this exciting campaign came at Wembley Stadium when Liverpool and Everton contested the first all Merseyside FA Cup final on 10 May 1986. An early goal by Gary Lineker suggested that Everton could gain revenge on Liverpool for beating them to the league title by defeating them in the FA Cup final, but in the second half the tables were turned as a double from Ian Rush and another goal from Craig Johnston made Liverpool only the fifth English club to complete the double.
The FA Charity Shield for 1986 was shared between Liverpool and Everton, who drew 1-1 at Wembley, but the first league derby of the season between the two clubs didn't happen until late November in a goalless draw at Goodison Park. Both clubs were challenging for the title at this stage alongside Arsenal (leaders), Nottingham Forest and unlikely contenders including Luton Town and Coventry City. The League Cup quarter final on 21 January 1987 saw Liverpool win 1-0 at Goodison Park. The Anfield derby in late April saw Liverpool triumph 3-1, but it wasn't enough to prevent Everton from winning the title within the next couple of weeks.
The 1986-87 season was perhaps the last time that Everton overshadowed Liverpool, though they did come close in 1989 when the two sides met at Wembley for the second all Merseyside FA Cup final in four seasons. The match went into extra time before Liverpool triumphed 3-2, with Ian Rush (twice) and John Aldridge scoring for Liverpool and both of Everton's goals coming from Stuart McCall.
By 1990-91, Everton were no longer generally considering as a leading English playing side (finishing ninth that season having started the season near the foot of the table), while Liverpool finished second in the league, but the campaign still brought one of the most pulsating clashes between the two clubs. Liverpool and Everton were drawn for the FA Cup fifth round at Anfield on 17 February 1991. The match ended in a goalless draw, and the replay three days later ended in a thrilling 4-4 draw at Goodison Park, in which Peter Beardsley scored twice. 1990-91 was Kenny Dalglish's last season as Liverpool manager, as he resigned two days after the 4-4 draw with Everton. It was also the last season of "replays of replays" as penalties after extra time took over as the competition's ultimate tie winner decider for the 1991-92 season. The second replay ended with a 1-0 win for Everton on 27 February, and ended Liverpool's double hopes.
The close season of 1991 saw Peter Beardsley move from Liverpool to Everton, followed within a year by defender Gary Ablett, causing more tension in the Merseyside derby, though the first couple of years after their transfers saw Liverpool and Everton firmly overtaken by Manchester United and the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal as the biggest challengers in English football. On 7 December 1992, Everton defeated Liverpool 2-1 at Goodison Park in a game where Peter Beardsley became only the second man in history to score for both clubs in Merseyside derbies.
The 1993-94 Merseyside derby at Anfield saw Liverpool defeat Everton 2-1, not having much effect for a mid table Liverpool side but increasing the risk of relegation (a battle which was ultimately won) for Liverpool. Perhaps the most notable event of this game was the winning goal by Robbie Fowler, who turned 19 the following month and was one of the most promising young players in England at the time.
The next notable Merseyside derby came on 18 October 1997, when Everton triumphed 2-0 at Anfield in a victory that ultimately saved them from relegation (they only stayed up by having a greater goal difference than Bolton Wanderers) and helped end Liverpool's title bid.
By the end of the 2001-02, Liverpool had finished above Everton in the league for 15 seasons in succession, but 2002-03 saw Everton showing signs of eclipsing them for the first time in years. After a brilliant run of form saw Liverpool top the Premier League in October, an 11-match winless league run followed their 2-0 home win over West Ham United in early November and during that barren spell they drew 0-0 at home to an Everton side who were actually above them and looking like qualifying for Europe after several seasons of persistent relegation battles. However, they were on course for their fifth place finish when they next met Everton on 19 April and won 2-1 at Goodison Park, a result which pushed their neighbours towards seventh place and narrowly deprive them of European football.
In 2004-05, Everton finished fourth in the league and Liverpool came fifth - the first time since Everton's 1987 title win that Liverpool had finished below them. Everton gave their neighbours a reminder of how far they had progressed under the management of David Moyes with a 1-0 win at Goodison Park on 11 December 2004, though Liverpool won the return match at Anfield 2-1 three months later.
Everton had a setback and finished mid table in 2005-06, while Liverpool's compensation for their prolonged title wait came in the form of a narrow FA Cup final triumph. And Liverpool triumphed 3-1 in both of the Merseyside derbies that season, giving their neighbours a reminder that they still had some way to go before they could have any real claim to being the stronger of the two Merseyside teams.
In 2006-07, Everton recovered to finish in the top six, while Liverpool finished in the top four, and there was an early season triumph for the blue half of Merseyside as Everton crushed Liverpool 3-0 at Goodsion Park in early September. They also held them to a goalless draw at Anfield in early February and helped hold them behind pace setters Manchester United and Chelsea.
Liverpool did the double over Everton in 2007-08, securing a top four finish and Champions League qualification and leaving Everton to settle for a UEFA Cup place.
This derby is responsible for many records across all derby matches, largely due to it being contested so many times:
- * The longest unbeaten derby game run in all matches is 14, held by Everton, this was between the 1941/42 and 1951/52 seasons
- * The longest unbeaten derby game run in home matches is held by Liverpool when Everton failed to beat them in the League for 14 games between the 1970/71 and 1984/85 seasons.
- * The longest unbeaten derby game run in away matches is held by Everton with a 16 match run at Anfield between 1899 and 1920 which included 10 victories
- * The longest unbroken winning run at home belongs to Liverpool with 5 between 1932/33 and 1936/37
- * The longest unbroken winning run away from home belongs to Everton who scored 7 consecutive victories at Anfield between 1908/09 and 1914/15
- * Recent games have been marred by sendings off, and the fixture has seen 17 red cards in the Premiership, the highest tally for any fixture
The following are records just for the Merseyside derby match itself:
- * The record home victory in a league match is 6-0 recorded by Liverpool at Anfield in the 1935/36 season
- * The record away victory in a league match is 5-0 recorded by both Everton at Anfield in the 1914/15 season and by Liverpool at Goodison Park in the 1982/83 season
- * The highest scoring match was in 1932/33 when Liverpool won 7-4 at Anfield
- * Neville Southall of Everton holds the record for most derby match appearances
- * Ian Rush of Liverpool holds the mark for the most derby goals with 25, overtaking Dixie Dean of Everton's long-standing record when he scored two goals in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Everton in the second all-Merseyside F.A. Cup Final in 1989
- * William C. Cuff of Everton holds the record for the most wins as a manager with 16 wins over Liverpool from 1901-1918
- * Tom Watson of Liverpool holds the record for the most losses as a manager with 21 defeats to Everton from 1896-1915
- * Record Attendance: 78,299 at Goodison Park, 18 September 1948 (Old Division One)
- * Lowest Attendance: 18,000 at Anfield, 19 January 1901 (Old Division One)
Current scorers: Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and Everton's Tim Cahill joined the list of scorers of four or more Derby goals on the same day when both scored in a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Monday January 19 2009. They are the only current players on the chart. Cahill is also the only non-British player to feature. Other current players who could join this list are Liverpool's Fernando Torres (3 goals) and Dirk Kuyt (2), and Everton's Dan Gosling (1).
More goals than years: Liverpool's Fred Howe and Everton's Tommy Lawton bear the curious distinctions of scoring more goals than they actually spent in years on Merseyside. Howe scoring five goals in three years and Lawton four goals in three years.
Own goals: Sandy Brown's famous own goal in Everton's championship winning 1969-70 season was, amazingly only the second own goal in the history of the fixture, the first having been scored by Balmer (Everton) in 1902. Since then 5 Evertonians have put through their own net, including two in the same match at Anfield in 1972. There have only been 3 Liverpool own goals, Sami Hyypiä's effort at Goodison in 2007-08 being the most recent of all derby-day own-goals.
Scoring in consecutive matches: Between May and September 1986, Ian Rush scored for Liverpool in 4 consecutive derbies, none of them League games (Cup final, Charity shield and two Super Cup finals). Several players have scored in 3 consecutive games: Hardman (E, 1905-06), Freeman (E, 1909-10), Parkinson (L, 1910-11), King (E, 1978-79), Lineker (E, 1985-86), Barnes (L, 1989-90) and Fowler (L, 1995-96).
Youngest derby goal scorer: Although difficult to verify, since birthdates of early players are not known, the youngest derby goal scorer is probably Everton's Danny Cadamarteri who scored the winner at Anfield 6 days after his 18th birthday, in October 1997.
Top five Merseyside Derbies
1. Everton 0 Liverpool 5, 1982
Top Merseyside Derby marksman Ian Rush netted four in this rout for the Reds. One of the few players to have scored a hat-trick in the famous fixture, he still remains the only Liverpool player to have scored a hat-trick at Goodison Park. Dixie Dean remains the last Everton player to have achieved the feat during his side’s 3-1 win in 1931.
2. FA Cup Final, 1986
The Toffees took a deserved lead through Gary Lineker after 27 minutes, but a second-half fight-back saw Liverpool lift the trophy in a passionate game at the home of football. Goals from Ian Rush (2) and Craig Johnston clinched the cup and, ultimately, the double for the club.
3. FA Cup Final, 1989
After 96 fans were killed at Hillsborough during the semi-final against Nottingham Forest, the game took on an emotional turn for Reds fans. The Reds won the game 3-2 after extra-time with striker Ian Rush scoring the winner. Stuart McCall and Rush had twice exchanged goals as the game took on its thrilling climax.
4. FA Cup fifth-round replay, 1991
Both fans needed a replay after this 4-4 thriller. Everton came back to equalise every Liverpool goal as Tony Cottee refused to give up for the Toffees. Kenny Dalglish resigned the following morning as he cited stress as one of his reasons; after this game it was hard not to argue with him. Everton went on to win the replay.
5. League Milk Cup Final, 1984
This was the first all-Merseyside Milk Cup Final and Liverpool again took the honours with the help of Kenny Dalglish. The 33-year-old Scot was coming towards the end of his career but he still played his part as the Reds lifted another trophy – the fourth year in succession Liverpool had won the League Cup. To make amends, Everton won the FA Cup that year.