There’s no getting away from it; Everton’s record against Liverpool is awful. Their only win at Anfield this century was behind closed doors in February 2021, meaning travelling Evertonians have witnessed nothing but misery on the Red side of Stanley Park, bar the odd battling draw (Phil Jagielka, woof).
That 2-0 win during the second Covid-19 lockdown is Everton’s only victory over Liverpool anywhere in the last 28 meetings in all competitions stretching back over a decade.
Maybe it’s me, but I feel that dismal record has had an impact on the rivalry, with the build-up to this weekend’s clash a little more reserved than your typical derby week. The game feels more and more like a fixture to get out of the way than one with any genuine hope.
They do at least go into the game full of confidence after that thumping victory against Bournemouth last time out. It was the most complete display of the season so far, with chances created finally equating to goals. The defence looked solid, the midfield looked balanced up front Dominic Calvert-Lewin looked as fully match fit for the first time in two years.
It ensured they carried a feel-good factor into the international break. Of course, this is Everton so there was always going to be some drama, with more revelations in the media about prospective owners 777 Partners. The long-awaited independent commission hearing for alleged breach of Financial Fair Play rules is also under way.
A resolution for both sagas is still some weeks away so that uncertainty will linger for a while let. Some positive results on the pitch would at least give us reason to be optimistic while we worry about the club’s predicament off it.
Liverpool 2-0 Everton, February 13 2023
Sean Dyche had only been in charge for a matter of weeks when he took Everton to Anfield for just his second game as boss. It was a case of new manager, same result though as Liverpool won 2-0 for the second year in succession.
Everton expect to have Idrissa Gana Gueye available after he missed the Bournemouth game with a heel injury. It remains to be seen whether Dyche opts to bring the Senegal international straight back into the side given how well the team played against the Cherries.
Captain Seamus Coleman is back in full training after his knee problem but is sill a few weeks away from a return.
Dele Alli and Andre Gomes are the only other absentees.
What they said
Everton boss Sean Dyche: “Their record is very strong. “They are a good outfit. Our record needs changing there, we know that. It’s a tough place to go.
“But we won’t be listening to the noise around it. There’s a lot of it of course, and rightfully so, it is a big game. But our focus is to get through that and concentrate on our performance.
“I must say from afar, you know the stories but it’s not the same as when you are in it. The focus stays the same, when the whistle blows you focus on the team, but there’s a focus, a feel, there’s no two ways about it, it’s a proper derby.
“I have played in a few and been around a few but it’s definitely the biggest I know and have been involved in. I have had one experience and I am certainly looking forward to the next one.”
Everton’s recent good form, particularly away from home, gives cause for some optimism. But their woeful record at Anfield means this is very much a case of hope more than expectation.