Tomorrow sees Liverpool host Everton, in what should be an explosive Merseyside Derby, which is of course the biggest Derby in the world! I once heard a scouser say “There are only 3 important Derbies in the world.. The Merseyside Derby, The Epsom Derby and Terence Trent D’Arby”.
Much has been made of Kenny Dalglish’s return as boss at LFC, losing his first two games (Man United, then Blackpool) its been a nightmare start for the Liverpool legend.
Kenny will be desperate to make sure its third time lucky, but both teams will have an unfamiliar look about them. Firstly, Everton will be without Tim Cahill and possibly Steven Pienaar as Cahill is away with Australia and Pienaar is on the verge of a big transfer deal.
Secondly, Liverpool will be without local lads Carragher and Gerrard, which is a big worry and a sign of a Liverpool team of the future. Im sure players such as Reina, Lucas and Torres will understand how big this game is for the people of Liverpool, and will be playing with that scouse passion Stevie or Jamie would provide.
Such an important game for Liverpool, got me thinking about my favourite Merseyside Derbies. Without a doubt the one that sticks most in my mind is the FA Cup Final 1989 – Liverpool 3-2 Everton AET. I must have watched this game over 100 times on video as a kid. It was a hot summers day in May with temperatures over 90 degrees, yet LFC boss Kenny Dalglish was wearing his LFC thick winter jacket!!
The sight of watching Rush, Barnes, McMahon and Aldridge linking up was a joy to watch. Ian Rush’s two goals in extra time were typical Rush goals, a swivel and shot with back to goal and a deft header. Just thinking about that game now brings a smile to my face!
Im pretty certain, that this weekend’s Derby won’t have the same quality as that game back in May 1989, but im sure it will have the same passion and atmosphere. Another FA Cup derby, which long sticks in the memory is the Liverpool 4-4 Everton, in particular John Barnes’s wonderful goal, which left Southall rooted and flew into the net after smashing the post on its way in. Everton came from behind FOUR times, to force a replay, which they went to win 1-0.
After that 4-4 FA Cup thriller back in 1991, Kenny resigned from Liverpool, citing he could no longer carry on as Liverpool manager. So the Derby tomorrow, will take extra significance. It was Kenny’s last game in charge back 1991 and twenty years later he hopes its his first winning game back as LFC manager.