Five Merseyside derby villains ahead of Everton v Liverpool
The likes of Dirk Kuyt and Mark Clattenburg are not universally liked on Merseyside
To accompany our piece on Merseyside derby heroes, we’ve also put the spotlight on the biggest villains from some memorable derby day clashes from years gone by.
Passions always run high – on and off the pitch – whenever the two teams from opposite ends of Stanley Park come together in a fixture that always delivers drama and excitement.
Everton host Liverpool on Sunday afternoon and the football world will look in the hope that none of these controversies repeat themselves, for the sake of sportsmanship and the beautiful game.
Hardman Case was a favourite on the Red side of the city, but the Blues had a rather different view of him after one particularly gnarly incident in the Merseyside derby of 1980.
The Englishman ended the career of Geoff Nulty with a widely condemned tackle that took Merseyside passion and commitment a step too far.
Uruguayan Suarez is no stranger to controversy and he courted it once more to the dismay of Evertonians on their home turf a year ago.
The Toffees were arguably in control for the first quarter of the game, but then came the theatrics. Suarez inexplicably threw himself to the ground clutching his leg and writhing in pain, seemingly untouched from a Jack Rodwell challenge – an act that resulting in an unjust sending off for the English youngster.
With a one-man advantage, Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners in this heated derby.
Dirk Kuyt was perhaps as much the villain in the 2007 Merseyside derby at Goodison Park as the referee was, but it was match official Clattenburg that drew most of the criticism both during and after the game.
The ref decided to send off Tony Hibbert for a tackle in the area after what appeared to have been a bit of external influence from Steven Gerrard. Clattenburg’s performance was judged to be so bad that he was given some time off by the Premier League the following weekend.
In the same game, 10 minutes after tucking away the penalty that Hibbert conceded, Dutch striker Kuyt lunged through the air at Phil Neville, only to receive nothing more than a yellow card from Clattenburg.
He went on to score the winning penalty a minute from time and became one of the most disliked people on the Blue side of Liverpool for a while.
It’s rare that a referee gets an easy ride in a Merseyside derby – and this has been the case for years.
Thomas makes the list of Merseyside villains because of his decision to disallow an Everton goal that might have seen the Blues progress to an FA Cup final meeting with Manchester United in 1977.
Which players can count themselves lucky not to make our list of derby villains?