Liverpool vs Everton: 6 classic Merseyside derby clashes

Liverpool vs Everton: 6 classic Merseyside derby clashes

Despite this fixture having been played year in and year out for well over a century now, the Merseyside derby has always led to fireworks. And even though Liverpool have dominated this clash for much of recent history, this rivalry still holds just as much importance as it did when the sides first met in 1894.

Considering the consistent presence of these old adversaries in the English top flight, this fixture is naturally one of the most played derbies in British football. Whether it was in the old First Division, the Premier League or the FA Cup, there have been countless classic clashes between these two foes.

While we can’t take you through every single instalment of this mouthwatering rivalry, we can pick out some of the more prominent meetings. So, here’s six classic clashes between Liverpool and Everton.

You’d have to go all the way back to before the creation of the first helicopter to see the highest scoring Merseyside derby game ever, but it would certainly be well worth the trip back in time to lay eyes on this 11-goal thriller.

A hat-trick from Harold Barton helped Liverpool to an emphatic Anfield win over their neighbours, with even a Dixie Dean brace not enough to wipe the egg off the Everton players’ faces.

Despite the humiliating defeat, the Toffees would go on to have the last laugh come the end of the season, finishing three places above Liverpool and lifting the FA Cup for only the second time in their history.

Considering the tragic events of that unfolded in the semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough, this FA Cup final Merseyside derby clash is one that reminds us there are more important things in life than football.

On the pitch, however, this still turned out to be a classic FA Cup final.

With Liverpool having beaten Everton comfortably in the cup final just three years earlier, it appeared the Reds were on their way to a similarly simple victory when John Aldridge put his side 1-0 up within the first four minutes. With time running out for the Toffees, it took an injury-time equaliser from Stuart McCall to send the game to extra-time – which is where the drama truly began.

Ian Rush bagged a lovely volley for the Reds to put them in the driving seat once again, but McCall managed to bring the Toffees level once more just seven minutes later. Determined not to be outdone by the Everton man, Rush silenced the blue half of Merseyside just two minutes afterwards, heading Liverpool towards another FA Cup triumph.

To use an old football cliché, this game was one hell of a rollercoaster ride. Liverpool led four times in the FA Cup fifth round replay at Goodison Park, only to be continually pegged back by a plucky Everton side hellbent on upsetting the apple cart.

With the first match between the two sides having ended goalless, there was simply no danger of that being the case here. Peter Beardsley – who would join Everton later that year – put the visiting Reds a goal to the good before half-time. Graeme Sharp levelled the scores shortly afterwards before Beardsley struck again with just 20 minutes remaining.

Sharp would equalise two minutes later before goals from Liverpool’s Ian Rush and Everton’s Tony Cottee would send the game to extra-time. Another from Cottee in the dying embers of the match cancelled out a fourth Liverpool goal from John Barnes and, eventually, that was that.

The draw took the game to a second replay which Everton narrowly won 1-0 at Goodison Park, while the 4-4 thriller would end up being Kenny Dalglish’s final game as Liverpool manager before returning to the club in 2011.

Despite what some of you younger folks may think, Everton have actually beaten Liverpool before – admittedly not for some time. You have to go back even further to see the last time the Toffees won at Anfield – 1999 to be exact.

In a game of just one decisive goal from Kevin Campbell for the visitors – which came after just four minutes – this match still wasn’t short on drama.

Following red cards for Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld and Everton forward Francis Jeffers, a young, fresh-faced Steven Gerrard was next to receive his marching orders a minute from time in a frenzied match fuelled by the pure emotions of the Merseyside derby.

Five goals – including a last-minute winner in dramatic style – two penalties and a red card…what more could you really ask for from a Merseyside derby?

In an end-to-end, adrenaline-fuelled clash, it was Liverpool who struck first – Emile Heskey powering home from the edge of the box after just four minutes. A persistent Everton side managed to grab an equaliser through Duncan Ferguson just before half-time, but the visitors would soon find the lead shortly after the break courtesy of an unexpected goal from Markus Babbel.

Surprisingly, the ever-reliable Robbie Fowler struck the post with a penalty just moments later, while Igor Biscan’s silly red card offered Everton hope of a late revival. A second controversial penalty of the game was this time handed out to the home side, with David Unsworth doing what Fowler couldn’t to bring the Toffees level.

As Everton pushed for a winner, a Liverpool third was looking increasingly unlikely. But one man still believed: Gary McAllister.

Everton v LiverpoolEverton v Liverpool
Everton v Liverpool – Gary McAllister | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Having won a free-kick around 40 yards out from goal, nobody inside Goodison expected the veteran Scotsman to shoot. Shoot he did, however, tucking the free-kick home from a quite frankly ridiculous range with quite frankly ridiculous precision.

A goal worthy of winning any game.

While tension and emotion are always at the forefront of Merseyside derbies, quality has sometimes been lacking in this fixture in the Premier League era. As Liverpool continued their title challenge in 2013/14 and Everton boasted some of the most exciting young attackers in the division, it was hardly surprising that this one was a goal fest.

A strike from both sides in the opening ten minutes set the tone, before Luis Suarez’s sumptuous free-kick only added to the drama. With another chance for Merseyside derby glory set to fade away, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku bagged a clinical brace to put the Toffees moments away from a rare recent victory in this fixture.

But, as McAllister had 12 years prior, Daniel Sturridge popped up with a late goal to break Everton hearts, heading home Gerrard’s cross with aplomb a minute before full-time.

With the game toing and froing from start to finish, this modern-day classic is arguably the best instalment of this fixture in Premier League history.

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