The biannual Merseyside Derby has been known to bring out the crazy in fans and players alike and the first of this season’s efforts is promising to be no different.
With the addition of Mario Balotelli to the mix, coupled with the potential for Samuel Eto’o to come off the bench, the weekend’s game looks likely to maintain the standard high quota of crazy.
Liverpool are 4/5 favourites as hosts to win with Ladbrokes while the draw is offered at 11/4 and an Everton win can be backed at 16/5.
There will be moments of genius, moments of the mundane and plenty in the way of surprises – here are some of the craziest incidents to occur in years past.
An Everton winner that never was
We start with the first Merseyside Derby of the new millennium and a game that would make Graham Poll persona non grata around certain parts of Liverpool.
All set to be a bore draw at 0-0, Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld prepared to clear the ball up field with mere seconds left.
But the Dutchman managed to turn the clearance into something approaching calamity when the ball struck Don Hutchinson and trickled in. Everton had scored, or so they thought until Poll revealed he had already blown the whistle – though replays suggest otherwise.
The Scottish Zidane strikes
A year on and Liverpool are battling for Champions League qualification and know that a win a win over their archrivals is crucial.
Down to 10 men and level at 2-2 in the 93rd minute, Gary ‘the Scottish Zidane’ McAllister prepared to hoof a free kick some 44-yards out into the box.
But just when everyone is expecting the veteran to launch a cross, he instead opts for to shoot, which beats the keeper and gives the Reds the win.Liverpool went on to qualify for the Champions League by a single point.
It never Reina’s but it pours
It’s 2006 and Goodison Park bears witness to a memorable day for Everton fans, with Liverpool put to the sword in some style with a 3-0 whitewash still watched by many Toffees supporters.
The heroes that day include goalscorers Tim Cahill and Andy Johnson though the undoubted villain of the piece, Pepe Reina, helps the latter to notch up a memorable brace against the Reds, which includes a moment of pure madness from the Spanish goalkeeper.
Everton take an Ad Break
Three years later and Everton are going head to head with Liverpool in a heated FA Cup Fourth Round replay that has gone into extra time after finishing goalless.
With time ticking on, Dan Gosling writes himself into Toffees folklore with a dramatic 118th minute winner that sees Everton reach their first major final in 15 years.
But while those inside the ground were celebrating, Blues fans at home were instead enjoying an ad break, after an ITV blunder saw the cameras cut away at the crucial moment.
Wobbly Wembley defensive woes
The first Merseyside derby to be played at the new Wembley was a comedic affair with not one but two major defensive blunders witnessed.
First up, Jamie Carragher was the culprit after a misplaced pass saw the ball bounce to Nikica Jelavic in a mistake that saw the Croatian score the opener.
But ever keen to upstage their Merseyside rivals, Sylvain Distain delivered a similarly comedic moment when a short pass-back to Tim Howard gifted Luis Suarez a goal.
The hilarity of the situation was further heightened when Andy Carroll scored the winner – that’s right, Andy Carroll scored a goal.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.