There’s no love lost between Everton and Liverpool and while Brendan Rodgers’ side are the 6/4 favourites to win this weekend’s Merseyside Derby there is little to separate the teams.
The Reds are second in the league but with hosts Everton just three points behind them and available at 7/4 for a Goodison Park victory, the outcome of this one remains very much in the balance with the draw also priced at 12/5.
One thing is for sure though: the atmosphere will be electric, with the antipathy between the two clubs not helped by a series of transfers that have seen players from either side ‘crossing the park’ to play for their neighbours.
Here are five of our favourites:
Abel Xavier – Everton (1999-2002) – Liverpool (2002-2003)
Known as much for his beard/hair combo as for his football skills, Xavier arrived at Everton for £1.5 million, after impressing in a brief spell in PSV Eindhoven, at a time when the Toffees were struggling in the Premier League.
Then, mid-way through the 2002/03 season beleaguered manager Walter Smith did the unthinkable, selling the full back to a Liverpool side in need of cover for the absent Markus Babbel for £800,000. He would go on to play 14 games for the Reds, scoring once against Bayer Leverkusen. Smith, meanwhile, was sacked in March with a young Preston manager by the name of David Moyes appointed in his place.
Don Hutchison – Liverpool (1990-1994) – Everton (1998-2000)
Hutchison first made the headlines with his transfer from lowly Hartlepool to Liverpool in 1990 at the age of just 19 but his arrival at Anfield was badly timed, with the Reds enduring a four trophyless years while he was at the club.
Moves to West Ham and Sheffield United followed before Everton came calling in March 1998. He was then involved in arguably the most controversial moment in Merseyside Derby history in April 2000. With the game heading for a 0-0 draw, Sander Westerveld saw his harmless free kick hit the back of the Scot, bouncing over the Reds keeper and dropping into the net.
But in a bizarre twist, referee Graham Poll had already blown his whistle for full-time while the ball was in the air, meaning it did not count.
Nick Barmby – Everton (1996-2000) – Liverpool (2000-2002)
Up until July of 2000 Barmby had been something of a Toffees stalwart playing 116 games and scoring 18 goals for the blue half of Merseyside. But with Everton stuck in the Premier League doldrums under first Howard Kendall and then Smith, the England international wanted out.
Although Manchester United expressed an interest, the overtures of Liverpool proved too tempting to ignore for a self-confessed Reds fan. The £6 million received in the deal is still a record fee for transfers between the two clubs but when Barmby scored on in his debut for the Reds against their friendly rivals the following season, the feeling for Liverpool fans was most likely priceless.
With the midfielder playing a part in League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup success that year, he’s unlikely to have any regrets either.
Steve McMahon – Everton (1979 – 1983) – Liverpool (1985 – 1991)
If, in the early 1980s, you had told an Everton fan that club captain Steve McMahon would one day lift league titles and FA Cups in the colours of Liverpool they would have most likely laughed you out of Goodison Park.
The England international started his career with the Toffees, playing 100 games and scoring 11 goals for the team before Aston Villa, who had just claimed the European Cup, came calling for the midfielder.
But after moving to the Midlands, McMahon was forced to watch on as his former club enjoyed domestic and European success. So when new Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish offered to make him his first signing, the player didn’t think twice about leaving a mid-table Villa side.
The three league titles and two FA Cups he won over the next six years ensured it was a shrewd decision.
Peter Beardsley – Liverpool (1987 – 1991) – Everton (1991 – 1993)
One of only three players to score for both Everton and Liverpool in separate Merseyside derbies, Beardsley first made his name with Liverpool after moving to the club for £1.9 million from then employers Newcastle, who turned down a similar bid from Alex Ferguson and Manchester United.
In four years he won two league titles and an FA Cup before moving across the divide for £1 million after being deemed surplus to requirements following the signing of Dean Saunders.
He finished top scorer for the club in his first season before financial problems prompted the Toffees to accept a bid from the resurgent Toon Army who were keen to bring their former hometown hero home.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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