Do Everton fans want the team to lose next week to stop Liverpool?

Clive Brunskill

A few weeks ago we ran a poll on this site asking whether Everton fans would rather Everton finish fifth and Liverpool not win the league or finish fourth and Liverpool be crowned champions.

The result was overwhelming – Everton fans put Everton first and wanted the best for their club regardless of what that meant to the title race.

Now, after an eventful and ultimately disappointing weekend of Premier League football, a similar question is being asked about the supporters’ feelings heading into the final fortnight of the season.

Saturday’s defeat at Southampton has all but ended Everton’s top four hopes. If Arsenal win tonight (which they really should against an out-of-form Newcastle) then they will be four points clear of Everton with just two games to play.

Everton would need the Gunners to draw or lose against both West Brom and Norwich in order for the Blues to overtake them in the final standings, again very unlikely.

Liverpool meanwhile no longer have their title destiny in their own hands after Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at home to Chelsea and Man City’s win at Crystal Palace. City know now that if they win their last three games they will win the league on goal difference – unless there is an eight goal swing in Liverpool’s favour.

We are therefore approaching the nightmare scenario whereby Everton could miss out on Champions League football yet also directly help their neighbours win the league.

The dream scenario, of course, is that Arsenal lose to Newcastle and slip-up in one or both of their last two games. Everton beat Man City and Hull to pinch fourth while Crystal Palace beat Liverpool at Selhurst Park next Monday.

But life just isn’t that kind is it?

In a bizarre quirk of football fandom, Everton’s game against Man City next week will see Liverpool fans supporting Everton and Man Utd fans supporting Man City, all to stop the team they hate from winning the league.

But what about Everton fans?

There was much chatter on Twitter after Sunday’s events suggesting many fans would not be too disappointed if Everton lost next week, provided it had no impact on their European ambitions.

The problem with that is we will not know the true impact of any defeat until the following week. Should they lose to City Everton will need a result at Hull to ensure European qualification and keep Tottenham from leapfrogging them in the table.

Not only that but fifth and sixth place could be the difference between a Europa League qualifying round and going straight into the groups, depending on the result of the FA Cup final (I think basically we need Arsenal to win).

Therefore wishing defeat in order to stop the Reds has greater consequences on the Blues than many think.

Plus surely we have to support our team regardless? As whoever wins the league should be considered worthy champions?

After all if Liverpool do win the league it will largely be down to their incredible 11-match winning streak since January rather than events at Goodison next week.

But would Liverpool fans see it that way?

Would they not instead remind Everton fans how they won them the league for years to come? Would they make a big banner out of it and wave it on the Kop? Would they put it on a t-shirt? Or even make it into another cringeworthy hashtag and splash it all over Twitter and Facebook?

The answer to all those questions is yes.

The result is a footballing quandary for Evertonians to consider in the next seven days. Stuck between the rock of wanting their team to win but the hard place of knowing it could result in months of crowing by them lot across the park.

What do you think? Have your say both in the poll and the comments section below.

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