IT’S derby day here in Liverpool as tonight sees Everton make the short trip across Stanley Park to Anfield for what will be the 217th Merseyside meeting – and Reds manager Kenny Dalglish is hoping for the usual competitive battle.
Speaking ahead of the match Dalglish stated: ‘The derbies are perhaps more frantic and hectic but they will still be competitive.’
‘It will always be competitive but it is not malicious – and if it is not competitive you have a problem. You cannot take away the competitive spirit of a derby match. If you do that you may as well close the doors and not let anyone in’.
The stats highlight the competitive edge, with the once known ‘friendly derby’ producing 11 red cards in just the last 14 league meetings between the sides. The scorelines at Anfield have also tended to favour the Reds with Everton looking for their first victory there since 1999 in the Premier League, and to avenge a 2-0 loss in the first derby meeting of this season when Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll gave the Reds all 3 points.
Current form suggests that this may be the Blues best opportunity to break their Anfield hoodoo as defeat to Sunderland on Saturday saw Liverpool lose three times in a row in the league for the first time since 2003. However Dalglish believes a derby match, with its unique atmosphere, could provide the fighting tonic needed for his ailing Reds:
‘It is a massive game, like any derby is for any club involved in one. We know how much enjoyment the people get out of winning the game but the players get a lot out of enjoyment out of it also. The winners get to enjoy it. You get the bragging rights for the city but both clubs come straight out of that into two FA Cup quarter-final ties so you don’t get much time to rest on your laurels – and you wouldn’t want to either.’
Live4Liverpool is recruiting columnists. For further info contact the site editor at firstname.lastname@example.org