Fantasy FA Cup: Liverpool Greatest XI vs Everton Greatest XI - Who Wins?

This weekend's Merseyside derby will be fiercer than ever given what the prize for the winner is, but who would win if the clubs greatest XIs went toe to toe?
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This weekend's Merseyside derby will be fiercer than ever given what the prize for the winner is, but who would win if the clubs greatest XIs went toe to toe?

404

It's not been a good season

Liverpool Greatest Xl

GK: Pepe Reina

Gerrard would be missed and Torres lamented, but if Reina goes we will be well and truly f*****. Plays like a sweeper at times, has got better in the air, kicks off both feet, has a beautiful, perfectly smooth, round head and was the fastest keeper in our history to 100 clean sheets. Grob might have won more and Dudek danced us to victory in Istanbul, but neither touch Reina for sheer class. 9

RB: Rob Jones

If Rob Jones hadn't had a back like a wet fence in Walton and a knee made of glass, that s*** bag Gary Neville would have considerably less England caps. I loved watching 'Chopsy' Nicol as a kid, but it's Jones for me. Could play on either side, knew how to defend with it, full of pace and great on the ball. That he retired at 27 made me weep. 7

CB: Alan Hansen

Although I could happily give him a right-hander for his vampiric performances on the MOTD sofa, Hansen was the first player I really, truly, loved. Couldn't tackle or head but he was as continental as British defenders got in the 80s. The dictionary definition of 'not a hair out of place,' though I suspect he has been using creosote on it since 1977. 8

CB: Sami Hyppia

'Oooohhh Sami Sami, Sami Sami Sami Hyyppppiiiaaaaaa…' was the first song my stepson heard sung at Anfield for his first, and Hyppia's last, game. Criminally underused by Rafa in his final season (who almost didn't bring him on against Spurs that day, the t**) he memorably stepped in at the last minute for the sacking of Old Trafford and played like Beckenbauer. Should still be at the club. 8

LB: Jamie Carragher

Not his best position by a country mile, but there is no way I could leave Carra out. Has made more last ditch tackles than any footballer in the history of the game, deep thinker tactically and won't stand for any bulls**t. Anyone who has seen him, close up, bollocking Phillip Degen will agree. 'Degen… DEGEN… DEEEEGGGEEEENNN you f****** t***, mark your man…" 8

Then a snotty nosed tyro with dynamite in his left-boot arrived and started ploughing goals in from everywhere.

RM: Steve McManaman

He might have looked like Rodney from Only Fools and Horses with a perm, but the ‘coltish’ (copyright Fleet Street, 1992) Macca breathed fresh air into our moribund midfield under Souness. Scorer of great goals – Celtic twice, Arsenal etc – our plan at corners when he played used to involve passing short to him and letting him dribble. What we’d give now for someone on the flanks who was as comfortable on the ball. 8

CM: Steven Gerrard

He might have the worst haircut in the history of football and he might, due to the Chelsea courtship, be difficult to like at times but f*** me can he play. Has dragged us out of the s*** on so many occasions that his nickname should be ‘tractor’ rather than the rubbish Stevie G. People might scoff, but when he had the security of Alonso and Mascherano behind him there was no-one better in his position. 10

LM: John Barnes

You can keep your Barcelonas, your Milans and your Brazils, the team that Dalglish put together, featuring Beardsley and Barnes left such an indelible impression on a nine-year-old boy that whenever I’ve set a team up since, either coaching, on Fifa or Championship Manager, I play with two wide men and a number ten. Imagine what Barnes would cost in the modern game? F*** England and f*** the fans who booed him, Barnes was a hero and was nearly as good in the middle of the park after his thigh injury. 9

CF: Kenny Dalglish

As much as I loved Beardsley, there is no way I could have him ahead of Kenny. And anyway, Biff’s got him in blue and no-one needs to look at two Peter Beardsleys in the tunnel. Technically perfect, not scared to put his head in, unparalleled with his back to goal and wearer of the most aesthetically pleasing number 7 shirt in history. Dalglish is to Liverpool what Maradona was to Napoli. And then some. 10

ST: Robbie Fowler

It was the 90s, the glory days had slipped away and we were all in a funk. Then a snotty nosed tyro with dynamite in his left-boot arrived and started ploughing goals in from everywhere. Still the fourth highest scorer in Premier League history with 163 goals (15 ahead of that turncoat Welshman Michael Owen) watching Fowler was joy unconfined. My favourite goal was when he Cruyff-nutmegged Steve Staunton at Villa Park and hit an exocet at the catflap. God indeed… 9

ST: Ian Rush

When Torres let the United defenders pass the ball around in front of him in the recent FA Cup clash, my heart ached for Rushie. As devastating in the penalty box as anyone in the modern era, his work ethic was legendary. I was seven when he scored the iconic camera-toppling goal against Everton in the 1986 FA Cup final, and my four-year-old brother was so distressed when he left that he continued to call John Aldridge ‘Rushie’. 9

Total: 95

Gerrard scores from the penalty spot after Van Den Hauwe obliterates McManaman, and Dalglish follows up Southall’s wonder save from Rush by knocking it in with his massive arse

Everton Greatest Xl

GK: Neville Southall

First up these are only players I’ve seen but even so the magnificent, contrary, scruffbag, maestro would be in any all time ace Everton list. Has there ever been a player so good yet so completely at odds with his status? Considered by many to be the best in the world in the mid to late 1980s – I can’t say as I never saw all the others – he was at times unbeatable. Ask John Barnes. Football Writers’ Player of the Year in 1984/5. 9

RB: Ian Snodin

This is a controversial choice but I’m still mad at Gary Stevens for the pass that let Ronnie Whelan in at the 1986 cup final. Snodin came from Leeds United as a midfielder and he was alright there, but when he filled in at right back for a spell he was superb. Fast, aggressive and smart, he made the position his own and was called up for England but had to withdraw when injury knackered him. 7

CB: Dave Watson

Wretched at first – a Guardian match report on one of his early games (probably by Ian Ross) reckoned he and Kevin Ratcliffe weren’t on first-name terms yet – he became one of Everton’s most important post-war players. Rock solid, rock hard and fond of unorthodox refuelling methods, Watson was superb. Lifted the FA Cup as captain in 1995 and once ruffled Michael Owen’s hair when the little s*** was whining. 8

CB: Joleon Lescott

Most people my age would go for Kevin Ratcliffe here, and he was a good player and our most successful skipper, but Lescott was simply brilliant for us. His defection basically finished football for me. Good on the floor, good in the air, fast and with an incredible knack for scoring (big) goals, him leaving left a massive hole in my betting strategy. 8

LB: Pat Van den Hauwe

An absolute beast but a brilliant player. Once put Vince Hilaire over the advertising hoardings at Goodison with a spirited tackle. As Hilaire’s twitching torso was stretchered off people were whispering ‘I think he’s dead’. Also smashed through Jimmy ‘s***house’ Case after he’d fouled Adrian Heath or Trevor Steven (can’t remember which) when playing for Southampton. Scored the goal which clinched the 1987 championship at Norwich City. 8

The Toffees went on to win 3-1 in a game regarded by many as Everton’s greatest ever. If you weren’t there you missed out because it was f***ing ace

RM: Andrei Kanchelskis

My god what a player. Twenty goals in 52 league appearances in just under two seasons, including a cracking brace at Anfield in a 2-1 win in November 1995. He was fast as fuck with a great shot and a fine head too. At times Kancheskis was unstoppable – then he got the a**e over a move to Fiorentina and that was that. 9

CM: Peter Reid

Described by Howard Kendall as Everton’s most important post-war signing. Paul Bracewell was arguably a better player but not as important. Reid wasn’t the quickest but he had everything else – he’d be priceless in today’s game. Although he’d get sent off a lot. Along with Kim Gordon and Jonny Marr, the only famous person I’d like to meet. Although we’d make an odd crowd. Marr would probably sneak off early having left his share of the bill but ‘forgetting’ the tip. 9

CM: Mikel Arteta

I was slow to warm to Arteta as I feel midfielders should be able to tackle, and it p***ed me off that he needed Lee Carsley in there to hold his hand at times. But the best little Spaniard has been brilliant the last few seasons (although he’s been largely s***e this term). An elegant player but also one of the hardest working. Fit wife too. 9

LM: Kevin Sheedy

Sheer brilliance. I don’t know who Liverpool had on the left in 1982 when Sheedy joined us but he must have been bloody brilliant. Sheedy wasn’t quick but he didn’t need to be because his touch, passing, crossing and shooting were so good. But it’s the free-kicks people remember, with many pointing to an FA Cup tie with Ipswich where he smashed it top corner, was told to retake, and smashed it in the other corner. Magic. 9

CF: Peter Beardsley

Along with Sheedy the most skilful Everton player I’ve ever seen. John Motson on Match of the Day when we played (I think) Coventry said: “You could take this first 30 minutes from Beardsley and put out a video called ‘how to play football’”. There’s no better sight than Beardsley shaking his hips, sending the defender the wrong way and then stroking the ball past a baffled keeper. 9

CF: Graeme Sharp

Everton’s post-war record goalscorer, Sharp scored some of the most important goals in the club’s most successful period, including the winner at Anfield in 1984/5, the first in the 1984 FA Cup final, and the equaliser in the home leg of the 1985 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi final against Bayern Munich. The Toffees went on to win 3-1 in a game regarded by many as Everton’s greatest ever. If you weren’t there you missed out because it was f***ing ace. 9

Total: 94

Final Score: Liverpool 95 - 94 Everton

There's a single point in it and as such it’s a close run thing in the jumpers for goalposts match on Stanley Park (no-one could agree on a venue and you can f*** going to Prenton Park). An early Sharp goal after he megged Hansen is cancelled out by the two perfect tens on the pitch. Gerrard scores from the penalty spot after Van Den Hauwe obliterates McManaman, and Dalglish follows up Southall’s wonder save from Rush by knocking it in with his massive arse. Peter Reid is so incensed - because he reckons it hit the jumper first - that he boots some passing innocent off his bike.

So what do you think? Rather have Big Dunc leading the line at Goodison? Or would you take Michael Owen over Robbie Fowler? Have your say in the comments.

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