The Merseyside Derby might have picked up the ‘friendly derby’ moniker off the pitch, with families of Blues and Reds often going the game together, and crowd segregation not enforced either. Everton travel to Liverpool on Sunday for the 232nd edition of this clash and the clash should be no different in temperament than previous years.
But on the pitch it’s more often than not a surprise when there are still 22 players finishing the game. It is by far the most undisciplined fixture in the Premier League calendar, with a record 21 red cards shown, 14 of them going to Toffees.
Refereeing inconsistencies have been a pet peeve of Blues in the derby, with seemingly small infractions by Everton players punished while similar or worse going unpunished by the match officials.
Sunday’s clash will be officiated by a relatively inexperienced referee in Chris Kavanagh. The Manchester-born Kavanagh is in his mid-thirties and is only refereeing his third Premier League season, having done only 25 games before this in the top flight.
He has been in charge for nine games this season, handing out 26 yellow cards and one sending off. That red card was a controversial one too, after he booked Leicester City’s James Madison for a dive in the penalty area having already cautioned him earlier in the game.
Kavanagh was in charge for Everton’s penalty shootout loss to Southampton in the Carabao Cup this season, and in three games last season - the wins against Huddersfield Town and Leicester City, and the loss at Burnley where he sent off Ashley Williams late in the game.
Match Officials details -
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistants: Daniel Cook, Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor