The Merseyside derby is almost upon us. So, we relived some performances and goals that have put the players below in our best ever Merseyside derby XI.
This was tough, although in recent years our team haven’t been successful in a Merseyside derby, they certainly were in seasons gone by.
It’s worth mentioning afew names that haven’t made it into our team below; however provided some spellbinding spectacles in an Everton shirt.
Andy Grey, Gary Lineker and Anders Limpar were nothing short of sensational for our club. All won us games singlehandedly on occasions and went onto be part of some of our most successful eras. All, however, didn’t have the impact on a Merseyside derby as our team below.
Of course Big Nev! Our best goalkeeper to date, certainly proved the difference in many a derby game over the years.
Amongst his match winning saves, there are a couple that stick in the memory. None more so than his saves in Everton’s 2-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in 1985/86. Everton are 1-0 and through goes Ian Rush on goal, Southall readjusts and throws himself at Rush’s feet to prevent a certain equaliser. More of the same was replicated after Everton made it 2-0.
Stevens, Ratcliffe, Watson & Baines
Possibly the most underrated centre backs for our club in a Merseyside derby was Dave Watson. He provided resilience that would make many cringe on the terraces as he threw himself at literally everything in his direction. Watson’s goal in the FA cup 5th round 2nd reply in 1990/91, summarised this as he battled through a crowded penalty area to rattle home the only goal of the tie.
Kevin Ratcliffe was a leader of men, stood tall as the example the rest needed to follow or replicate. His long range strike in front of the Kop in 1986 flew under Bruce Grobbelaar and rolled into their net, the most unlikely of goalscorer’s once again stood up for his team.
Both the full backs we have selected my not have contributed many goals to a derby game, but their appearances and contributions mean they’re the best we’ve had for this kind of fixture.
Kanchelskis, Bracewell, Reid and Sheedy
I think most of us would give a lot to have this midfield in their pomp available today. Kanchelskis may not have been involved in that many derby games, but he had a game winning impact in his first derby at Anfield in 1995/96 when he scored a brace in a 2-0 victory. Kanchelskis is also the only player, the world over, to score in the Merseyside, Manchester and Old Firm derbies, a clear sign of his ability on every stage.
Paul Bracewell and Peter Reid were the engine room of Everton’s most prosperous time. A die hard battling spirit scared the life out of many opposition and the Red half of Merseyside were no different.
That free kick, in front of the Kop, the Two finger salute and something we’ve never seen replicated since. Kevin Sheedy was one of the first on our team sheet and rightly so.
Cahill and Sharp
Tim Cahill? Hear us out! The Australian played amongst one of Everton’s most uninspiring generations in terms of quality and names. That didn’t stop him becoming the first Blue to score in 3 derby matches though, causing havoc in the air for Liverpool’s defence on every occasion. Tim was, at one point, Everton’s only source for goals and he provided in most of the big games.
There isn’t much justification necessary for Graeme Sharp’s selection here. ‘Class on grass’ has never been a more appropriate phrase for a footballer in an Everton shirt. Sharp’s goal against Liverpool in still goes down today as one of the best in the Merseyside derby. 30 yards from goal and Sharp drilled the ball high past Grobbelaar and into the goal in front of the Kop. Some say the goal is still shaking, as is the Kopites heads!
This is how our best derby XI would shape up. What a team!