There are select few of games that are recognizable to even the fair weather fan, Real Madrid vs Barcelona, Arsenal vs Tottenham and Liverpool vs Everton otherwise know as the Merseyside derby! These rivalries all have a few factors in common. 1. History 2. Location 3. Hatred/passion
Although all of these rivalries tick off all of those boxes. None compare to the merseyside derby! The sheer passion that Liverpudlian fans have for their respective teams is unmatched, not to mention the extremely close proximity of the two clubs. This all makes for heated derby matches that create an unmatched atmosphere in English football.Liverpool F.C and Everton F.C have faced off in some of British football’s most memorable matches and in recent years they have not disappointed in keeping that history alive.
Liverpool is a club with a long and decorated history winning 4 European cup’s in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Those team’s were a force to be reckoned with, boasting some of the best team’s of that era with Ian Callaghan, Club legend Kenny Dalglish and later Ian Rush! The Red’s may have had plenty of success in the 70’s and 80’s but other than a Steven Gerrard led 2005 Champions League title Liverpool have lacked recent success whether it be Europe or the league. The Rafa Benitez era offered a sliver of hope for Red’s fans with club legend Stevie G leading the charge and the likes of Djibril Cisse and Milan Baros leading the charge up front but that era fizzled out.Other than striker Luis Suarez developing into one of the world's best during his 3 years at Anfield,losing the league title on the last day and overspending on bad singing’s I.E 35 million pounds for Andy Carroll or paying 5 million for a then 32 year old Rickie Lambert in 2014.
Liverpool fan’s were fed up with mediocrity so in October 2015 the ownership group made a power move when they brought in Bundesliga winning manager Jurgen Klopp. Although with Klopp at the helm the Reds were only able to finish 8th in the league, you could tell that a new culture has started to form at Anfield and only time would improve that. This season the Reds are playing with an improved squad with the addition of Senegalese winger Sadio Mane and Cameroonian center back Joel Matip. With these new additions the Reds have risen to a respectable 4th place in the league and are not too far off from 3rd place Man City.
Everton are often the 2nd thought when it comes to Liverpudlian football but they have been very successful in their own right. The Toffee’s achieved high levels of success throughout the 80’s as the club won a FA Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, 2 League titles and managed to be FA cup runner up twice in that period. By 1989 the Toffee’s string of success dropped off and they ended the season in 8th place. The 90s proved to be an up and down time for the Toffees and as they bounced around the table like a ping pong ball, heading towards the millennium no one really knew what to expect.
After a tumultuous start to the 2000’s Evertons board decided to make a change and bring in exciting young manager David Moyes. Moyes seemed to recharge the culture surrounding the club, along with that a young Wayne Rooney starting to come into his own the future was looking bright. Ultimately Rooney only stayed at the club for 2 seasons and The Toffees were forced to cash in on the opportunity as Manchester United paid 26.5 million pounds for the then 18 year old. Many people expected Everton to drop in the table after Rooney's exit at the start of the 2004-2005 season but they ended up finishing 4th in the table, their highest finish since 1988. Throughout the rest of the David Moyes era the toffees were consistently finishing in the top 10 of the league table and were always a threat for Europa league success.
Fast forward to the 2016-2017 season and both of these Liverpudlian heavyweights are in contention for European places! Liverpool currently sit in 4th place with a 4 point cushion on there other big rivals Manchester United. Everton sit in 6th and are being led by their star man Romelu Lukaku,he currently leads the golden boot race with 21 goals. With that being said this is the Premier League and it takes more than one man to carry a team to the pinnacle. With it now being Chelsea's title to lose, fans on merseyside are now only concerned with who gets bragging rights going into next season! A win for Liverpool would mean further securing a Champions League spot for next season while for Everton their chance at Europe is still there although getting their first win at Anfield since 2000 will be tough.
Lukaku will put one in the back of the net for the toffees but the home crowd at Anfield will prove to be the difference.
My prediction Liverpool 2-1 winners!
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