Except that it isn’t. Not this weekend.
If Liverpool win the Merseyside Derby for the seventh time in their last eleven games on Saturday, the twelfth time since Everton won a derby, it will be celebrated wildly by their fan base.
But it would only really confirm what her fans have seen over the past decade. That Liverpool have some kind of psychological influence on their closest rivals.
Everton can play a team of academy kids in an FA Cup tie at Anfield and still lose. You can score a goal first at Wembley against a team with a third-choice goalkeeper and give the win to their rivals with a bizarre back pass. They can take the lead at Goodison Park (2013) with eight minutes to go – and they still can’t win.
Because there seems to be some kind of monumental mental block at work, signed a pagan pact with the devil.
That’s why banning these demons would mean so much more to Everton, their fans, and their players.
If Everton can win at Goodison Park on Saturday – and they started the season better than any other team in the country – it would mean so much more to them than it does to their rivals.
A win against Liverpool would mean more than three points for Everton.
It would encourage a promising squad with confidence and self-confidence – and those qualities are the indefinable things that can sometimes make a great team out of a good team.
We have been here before.
No shameful 10 years without a Derby win.
But in 1984, Everton traveled to Anfield without winning on the ground they once occupied for 14 years.
Sure, they had beaten their fiercest rivals at Wembley in the Charity Shield – but that was a glorified friendly.
They hadn’t won a “real” game since a 1981 FA Cup draw, a run of nine games, and hadn’t won at Anfield for 14 years.
So this match really meant more.
And Graeme Sharp’s glorious Exoket has earned more than three valuable points.
And this weekend Liverpool are visiting Goodison Park in the Merseyside Derby.
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Ian Hargraves wrote in Echo the following Monday: “On Saturday it was Liverpool’s turn to face opponents who seem to have finally banished the king-sized inferiority complex that has weighed on their efforts for the past decade.”
That royal inferiority complex turned into a superiority complex when Everton won the next seven games in all competitions and established themselves as one of the greatest Everton teams in history.
In May they even beat their rivals again with a reserve team.
In 1994 it happened again. Joe Royle had inherited a team that had the worst start to the season in the club’s history.
But the win over Liverpool created a confidence and hardened determination that saw the second win of the season quickly followed by a third and a fourth. And a time when the Reds couldn’t beat their rivals for almost five years.
The win at Goodison Park on Saturday could do something similar.
Everton started the season well.
Statistics on the best starts since 1894/95 were spread like a sort of mantra.
But you know the old adage about lies, damn lies and statistics.
Everton started out well, undeniably, but that’s all. Liverpool are the reigning Premier League champions, they are the world champions, and that freak defeat at Villa Park was only their fourth league defeat in nearly two years.
But that unprecedented consistency is a double-edged sword. Because if Everton can beat a team of this quality, confidence will flow through their veins like some kind of super serum.
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It’s going to be difficult. Incredibly tough.
Especially when two influential defenders may be missing and a trio of their best players won’t get back to the country until 48 hours before kick-off.
But if Everton can finally end those 10 years of injury, that would really mean more.
Much much more.
And the rest of the season could show us how much.
What is your prediction for the Merseyside Derby? Let us know in the comments below.
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