Big Andy's Winner & Dirk's Double - A Liverpool Fan On His 5 Most Memorable Merseyside Derbies

I was born too late to truly appreciate Rushie's brace - so here's my personal favourites from the "friendly" rivalry...
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Liverpool v Everton: My 5 Favourites 

Dirk Kuyt double at Goodison (October 2007)

Nothing adds to the bitterness of defeat than a contentious refereeing decision going against you, so it’s not surprising that the Goodison Park faithful were up in arms over Mark Clattenburg’s failure to award Everton a blatant penalty for a foul on Joleon Lescott after Liverpool had been awarded one earlier in the game when Tony Hibbert brought down Steven Gerrard and was sent off for a professional foul. To compound matters, Phil Neville blocked a goal-bound Lucas Leiva shot on the line using his hand, and was sent off to reduce the Blues to nine-men. Dirk Kuyt, who scored the earlier penalty, kept his cool to convert a second spot kick and give Rafa Benitez’s side all three points. Clattenburg still gets booed by Everton fans now.

Steven Gerrard hat-trick (March 2012)

This game was shaping up to be the most evenly poised derby in recent years. We were in awful form, whilst Everton were on their usual last season surge up the table, and all signs pointed towards a potential upset for the blue half of the city. However, Everton, in predictable fashion, failed to show up for the big dance, and Gerrard put in his best performance of the season, scoring a hat-trick as the Reds won 3-0 with consummate ease. It was an awesome performance; we were better in every department. But it was equally frustrating that our league form was so inconsistent as we had the potential to beat anyone when we played to our full potential. On a personal note, this was the only derby I’d never been in Liverpool for, and I got thrown out of a pub in Farringdon for belting out the Ste Gerrard song after getting tanked up on Duvel all day.

It’s easy to forget just how bad Everton were for large periods of the late nineties and early noughties

Late Gary Mac Winner (April 2001)

It’s easy to forget just how bad Everton were for large periods of the late nineties and early noughties, and it is testament to the incredible job that David Moyes has done at Goodison that the thought of them now being relegation candidates is absurd. Still, as the old saying goes: form goes out of the window when it comes to a derby. True to, err, form, Everton clawed themselves back from a goal behind twice and looked to have secured a vital point in their fight against relegation until Gary McAllister stepped up to smash home a 40-yard free-kick in the final minute of stoppage time. Quite why he thought of shooting from such distance as it was the last chance of the game is beyond comprehension, but thank God he did. Even though he was only with us for two years at the end of his career, Gary Mac’s contribution to our success under Houllier will never be forgotten. He’s got no hair but we don’t care....

Big Andy’s winner at Wembley (April 2012)   

After the aforementioned earlier encounter, our form had continued to tail off and we were behind Everton in the table when we played them in the FA Cup semi-final. Our cup form was our only saving grace as we were unbeaten all season having already travelled down to Wembley to win the League Cup a few months earlier. The story to this one was the same: Everton looked dangerous, with Nikica Jelavic, who Liverpool turned down when they were offered him for about £4m, looking like the predatory striker that we so desperately needed. It was the Croat who put the Blues in to the lead after a defensive mix-up, and at half-time they weren’t looking overly troubled despite us dominating the ball. Then, in the second-half, Syvain Distin’s poor back-pass let Luis Suarez in, who finished cooly. Then, with three minutes to go, Liverpool won a free-kick, and the much-maligned Andy Carroll scored a header to break blue hearts and send the Reds in to their second cup final of the season.

Rafa’s first derby win (March 2005)

This is when derby fixtures are at their best: when both teams are playing for something more than local pride. Both sides were competing for a Champions League spot, and Everton had the edge as Liverpool struggled to balance their squad between their iconic European exertions and their domestic form. Steven Gerrard, the man for the big occasion, scored early on with a clever free-kick, and then Luis Garcia doubled the lead, heading home after Nigel Martyn could only parry Morientes’ spectacular volley on to the bar. Benitez was forced in to using all three substitutions as Warnock, Hamann and Morientes were forced to go off injured. Garcia also picked up an injury, but gutted it out for the entire the second half. Baros was sent off, before Tim Cahill’s late goal meant it was squeaky bum time, but the Reds grinded out the result and showed a certain strength of character and resolve that would serve them well in Turkey a few months later.

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