Merseyside Derby Memories
What pictures do the words ‘Merseyside Derby’ evoke in your head? Images of drama, controversy, tempers and furious football must be in there somewhere.
November 20th, 2013
This Saturday sees Liverpool make the brief trip across Stanley Park to face Everton, for the first time under new manager Roberto Martinez. It is the 221st Merseyside Derby and, if recent history is anything to go by, is likely to be as hot-headed as ever. In fact, the Merseyside Derby is the fixture that has produced the most red cards in the Premier League era; 20 to be precise, six more than any other fixture.
Liverpool go looking for a win and three points to take them, albeit temporarily, top of the Premier League table. Everton though have plans of their own, currently sitting in sixth place, just three points behind the Reds.
Those images of past Merseyside Derbies etched in the memory are exciting to think about in relation to this Saturday’s must-win game for both sides. Who can forget the Mark Clattenburg derby of 2007 when the man in black awarded Liverpool two second-half penalties to turn around a one-goal deficit.
His late awarding of a penalty for handball by Blues defender Philip Neville incensed the Goodison faithful, but less so than his even later dismissal of Everton penalty appeals when Jamie Carragher pulled down Joleon Lescott in the area.
In 2000, England international Nick Barmby bravely “crossed the park” when he moved from Everton to Liverpool in a deal worth around £6million. He was the first player to move from Goodison to Anfield since Dave Hickson in 1959. Not long into his career at the Reds, he scored an important goal to help Liverpool to a 3-1 victory over the Blues at Anfield – confirming his position amongst Evertonians as the villain of Merseyside.
Back in 2001, Scottish international Gary McAllister broke Toffees’ hearts when his injury-time free-kick from 40 yards found its way through a crowded penalty area to steal three points for Liverpool in a 3-2 victory.
It was an important result that not only gave Liverpool the city’s bragging rights, but also kept them in contention for a top three – and more importantly – Champions League-qualifying finish.
Two seasons earlier, controversy had surrounded the Derby with Robbie Fowler imitating snorting cocaine as a goal celebration in response to false drug abuse allegations – and in yet another match, Reds goalkeeper Sander Westerveld playing fisticuffs with Blues forward Francis Jeffers.
Controversy and excitement has always followed the Merseyside Derby and here’s to hoping this Saturday lunchtime’s meeting is no different.