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Merseyside Derby: Two Teams, One City

 

The Split”

Everton FC was founded in 1878, 14 years before the emergence of Liverpool FC. Everton spent these 14 years playing at Liverpool’s current home, Anfield. Tensions between Everton chair members, stemming from  political differences eventually led to the divergence. In 1892 several board members had decided to leave Anfield after purchasing a new ground a mile up the the road, Goodison Park remains the home of Everton to this day. John Houlding would respond to this brazen move by founding a team to occupy Anfield, Liverpool FC was born.

A Unique Rivalry

Unlike many other local rivalries in English and European football the Merseyside derby remains largely peaceful. The derby is not fueled by sectarian or geographical differences like many others. The derby is one of the last remaining in which fans are not segregated, often families are split in their allegiance but are still allowed to sit together. In the aftermath of the 1985 Heysel Stadium  disaster which saw 39 Juventus fans crushed by Liverpudlians, fan tensions increased. Evertonians blamed Liverpudlians for their ban on European competition. Relations were eased in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster where 96 Liverpool fans were killed. The tragedy had pulled together the entire city to mourn the loss of so many. The so called “friendly rivalry” was restored.

Statistics

Liverpool is the most successful football city in all of England. The Reds and Toffees share 27 league championships. The Toffees have achieved a total of 9 league championships and 5 FA cups in their 135 years. The storied history of Liverpool FC has seen them win 5 European Cups, 18 league championships, 7 FA cups, and 8 league cups.

Throughout the 220 game rivalry the Toffees have managed 66 wins compared to Liverpool’s 88, splitting points 66 times. Everton had remained largely dominant from the early 1900’s until the mid-1970’s. With the emergence of strong Liverpool sides at the hands of Bob Paisley the tables had turned. The Reds had continued to be favorites until recently with a rebuilding Liverpool and a strong Everton. Liverpool has won the double 14 times to Everton’s 9.

Best Rivalry in Sports?

The deep passion that resides in the hearts of supporters of two of the most storied teams in English football continues to burn. The game day atmosphere that blankets Merseyside is like no other. The uniqueness and history of this rivalry make it one of the best in the world.

Stay tuned for a full preview of Saturdays game.

 

Tags: Liverpool Football Club

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