Throughout my life, there have been some things I could always count on with absolute certainty. As I’ve grown older and, sadly, more aware of the real world, I’ve relied on those certainties like a security blanket. This past Sunday, one of those certainties were shattered; the cracks having started show over the last two Premier League seasons.
I am of course referring to the former rivalry between my beloved (and eternally frustrating) Liverpool and our Blue neighbours, Everton. Yes, I said ‘former’. What used to be one of my favourite matches, one which would cause my insomnia to flare due to my nerves, has become nothing more than just another fixture on the Premier League timetable.
Regardless of what other games we had had before the Derby and no matter what would follow, until recently you could count on the Merseyside clash to be one for the books, even on the days the score ended 0-0. In the past, we always went out guns blazing and credit to our neighbours, because they would do the same.
To jog our collective memory, here are three of my favourite Merseyside derbies at Anfield:
- 16 January 2011: Liverpool 2 – 2 Everton - Kenny Dalglish's first home game in charge of Liverpool since his return as manager.
- 13 March 2012: Liverpool 3 – 0 Everton – Steven Gerrard scored his fifth Liverpool hat-trick on this night, his 400th Premier League appearance for the club
- Finally, one of my all-time favourite matches and my favourite derby at home took place during the madness that was our 2013/14 season – 28 January 2014: Liverpool 4 – 0 Everton – Goals: Steven Gerrard scored his ninth derby goal, Daniel Sturridge then gave us the second and third goal and always effervescent Luis Suarez scored our fourth. The epic photo below was captured after Sturridge netted our third goal of the evening (& his second).
We Liverpool fans love our history
I’m certain that every true Red LFC supporter has at one stage or another lamented our performance in a match and compared it to the past.
The difference here is that I sense that my longing is futile. The emotion behind rivalry is an element we cannot necessarily regain as to do so, our squad would require history lessons and a few older squad members around so as to raise morale and inject passion and aggression which then filters through Liverpool players of all ages. As at the end of the day, that passion that I long for in our squad is an emotion that can only be harnessed and fully expressed when you truly understand what was at stake on Sunday, and last Sunday, it didn’t seem as though either side felt that.
It’s what is always at stake—should always be at stake—whether it’s a Merseyside derby or a match against the red of Manchester.
Up the Reds!