The inauguration of my blog is also the day before perhaps one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports – the 206th Liverpool/Everton derby. It doesn’t get any more auspicious than this. All that is left is the virgin sacrifice.
Putting it in perspective for those of you unfamiliar with the gravity of tomorrow’s affair, this is the longest running derby in the English game dating back to 1894 which makes it older than Utah. Better still, it’s a 113 year-old rivalry that is separated only by a river – a river that divides a city and sometimes even families.
As for stats, Liverpool has won it 65 times, Everton 56 and they’ve split the spoils 55 times. In the last seven at Goodison Park, Liverpool has taken 5 against the Toffees, netting 8 times versus Everton’s 6. But last year Liverpool took it in the shorts losing 3-0 on the back of a Tim Cahill goal and an Andy Johnson double strike.
Liverpool’s form of late has been less than stellar. Actually, they have stunk the place up. With no Xabi, no Agger – and now no Torres – it could mean… actually it doesn’t mean much to those unhampered by hype. Sami Hyppia looms just as large in the centre of defense, albeit a tad slower on the wing than Agger, and Javi Mascherano has been a revelation in the midfield. No, he doesn’t have the capacity to put a ball on a dime like Alonso can, but he is equal in every other facet – except maybe shaving.
As for up front, Rafa has a cornucopia of world class strikers lining up to fill Torres’ boots. Crouch, with his terrible benchitis, must have a 6’7” itch to scratch. Dirk Kuyt is more than likely chained to wall somewhere in Melwood to slow him down and Voronin is probably hot waxing his locks in anticipation.
Yes, I could go on and on about the veritable host of journalist-engineered woes that are apparently plaguing Liverpool, but there is not enough room or attention span to list them. So I won’t bother. And I’m not one for excuses. Anyway, there’s nothing like a derby to rekindle the flame under the hindquarters and force a team to shine. Or collapse on an even bigger scale.
My humble prediction – a whippin’. Liverpool 4 – Everton 1.
Think I’ll be at Sláinte at 7:45am? God is a Liverpool fan and if it floods, I’ve got an Ark.