The Merseyside Derby
The history of the most hotly contested derby in English football, rivalled in Britain only perhaps by the Old Firm clashes.
To the fans on either side of Stanley Park, it is the biggest game in the football calendar.
If you are an Evertonian and have never experienced the blood and thunder of a Merseyside derby, you simply haven't lived. Though they might call it the friendly derby because of the intermingling of the fans in the grounds, there is no room for niceties on the pitch as local pride takes centre stage.
In the late 1990s, Everton enjoyed a fantastic record against their arch rivals, losing just once in 11 meetings between the autumns of 1994 and 1999, but since then it is the Reds who have clearly had the upper hand.
There have been some fantastic derby matches down the years, not least the 4-4 draw in the FA Cup in 1991 and the exhilarating but ultimately heart-breaking Cup Final of 1989. Here are some facts about Everton's League games against Liverpool since the two first met in 1894.
- The longest unbeaten run in matches home and away was 14, held by Everton, until Liverpool surpassed that in 2017-18. It currently stands at 19.
- The longest unbeaten run in home matches is held, unfortunately, by Liverpool as Everton have failed to beat them at Anfield since 1999-2000.
- The longest unbeaten run away from home is held by Everton with an astonishing 15 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 1914-1915.
- The record victory in a league match is 6-0 recorded by Liverpool at Goodison Park in the 1935-36 season.
- Everton's 2-1 away victory in the 1995-96 season was the first time they had won at Anfield for 10 years. They won again in September 1999, recording a 1-0 victory but haven't won there since.
- Liverpool failed to beat Everton once during Joe Royle's 2½-year reign – that's 5 matches – and had to wait another four games before finally winning 3-2 in the spring of 1999.
- Blues legend, Neville Southall, holds the record for most derby match appearances.
- Ian Rush stole Dixie Dean's long-standing record of most derby goals in the early 1990s.
- Everton's 3-0 victory over Liverpool in September 2006 was their biggest league derby win for 42 years and only the second triumph by three clear goals by either side in 22 years.
- After winning 3-0 in 2012, Liverpool topped that result eight years later, though, with a 4-0 win at Anfield in 2014 and again with the same result in 2016.
Very few people outside Merseyside realise that, had it not been for a rift within Everton FC in 1892, Liverpool FC would never have existed. A rent dispute at Anfield Road (yes, the very ground that Liverpool use today) caused a core of Everton players and members to look elsewhere for a ground. They chose Goodison Park while the remaining club was forced by the League to change their name from Everton Athletic Grounds Ltd to Liverpool because they did not want two clubs with the name Everton. The rest is, as they say, history!
Here are some more interesting facts about the relationship between the two clubs:
- Liverpool still play on Everton's old ground, Anfield. Although the surrounding stands bear no relation to the Anfield that Everton occupied, Liverpool still play on the same pitch. It is still in the same location.
- Everton won their first championship at Anfield.
- Everton hosted an international between England and Ireland at Anfield, it was considered so good at the time.
- The largest audience to ever watch a Derby game at Everton was 78,299 in September 1948 which is also Everton's biggest attendance in history.
- When 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death on the terraces of Sheffiled Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium in April 1989, fans of both clubs rallied round in a period of unparalleled unity. A chain of blue and red club scarves was stretched for the mile or so across Stanley Park from the gates of Anfield to Goodison Park in memory of the deceased.
- In the 4-4 draw in the FA Cup in 1991 Everton came from behind four times to force a replay which they went on to win 1-0. Kenny Dalglish resigned as The Reds' manager that week.