Liverpool vs Everton: Remembering when the Toffees were better than the Reds

4 Dec

Bill Shankly once described Liverpool as “a city with two great teams – Liverpool and Liverpool reserves.”

It’s something the former Liverpool manager undoubtedly said to get one over on his club’s local rivals Everton but the Toffees’ terrible form this season makes it not the most unreasonable assertion.

Liverpool are having a much better 2019/20 season than Everton
Getty Images – Getty

The Reds are the hot favourites to emerge victorious in the 234th Merseyside Derby when they face Everton on Wednesday night.

Liverpool top of the Premier League having yet to suffer a defeat in the league season.

They’re blessed with home advantage and have even had an extra day to prepare for the match as Liverpool beat Brighton at Anfield on Saturday while Everton’s last outing was at Leicester on Sunday.

And it looks as though Liverpool are in pole position to get the three points with Marco Silva’s side currently 17th in the table and two points above the relegation zone.

Everton only have 14 points from 14 games this season
Getty Images – Getty

Manager Silva is under huge pressure to save his job so playing away at the league leaders is the last thing he’ll need.

He’s not helped by the fact that Everton have a rotten record away to Liverpool in recent seasons – their last win at Anfield coming in September 1999.

But there have been occasions where the Toffees weren’t living in the Reds’ shadow. has taken a look at some of the times where Everton were the better team on Merseyside.


The mid and late 80s saw Liverpool and Everton compete for English football’s biggest prizes including two FA Cup finals in 1986 and 1989.

They went toe-to-toe for the First Division title many times too and the Toffees came out on top twice, the first coming in the 1984/85 season.

Everton, who were managed by Howard Kendall at the time, romped to their first league title in 15 years with a total of 90 points.

Liverpool came second that season but finished 13 points behind the champions.

What arguably won the title for the Toffees was an impressive 18-game unbeaten run between December 1984-May 1985.

The end of the season saw Joe Fagan leave his post as Reds boss and Kenny Dalglish was brought in as his replacement to be player-manager of the club.

They played each other in the League Cup final that season too, which Liverpool won in a replay
Hulton Archive – Getty


Liverpool won the league the following season but Everton came roaring back after that by beating the Reds to another title in convincing fashion.

This is made all the more impressive when you consider they lost star striker Gary Lineker to Barcelona in the summer.

However, Liverpool also lost their top hot shot in Ian Rush, who joined Juventus on loan for the season.

And it’s clear the Reds suffered more with Everton being crowned champions with 86 points, finishing nine ahead of Liverpool.

Graeme Sharp was the Toffees’ top scorer with 21 strikes in the league that season.

Gary Lineker never won a top flight league title
Everton won the league again despite losing Lineker before the season started


In the 90s, both teams suffered a decline as the likes of Manchester United, Newcastle, Arsenal and even Blackburn emerged as the top sides in England.

Liverpool finished above Everton in the Premier League throughout the 90s but it could be argued the decade belonged to the Toffees in terms of Merseyside Derbies.

Between November 1994 and April 1999, Liverpool were unable to find a win against Everton in nine attempts.

The Toffees lost to Liverpool seven times in 23 games during the 90s
Getty Images – Getty

Admittedly, six of those matches were draws but it was an uncomfortable statistic for Kopites who have grown accustomed to being the top dogs on Merseyside over the years.

Liverpool ended that run with a 3-2 triumph at Anfield in April 1999 only to lose at their home ground five months later to a Kevin Campbell strike.

2004/05, 2011/12, 2012/13

Liverpool have been superior to Everton for most of the Premier League years but there are three seasons where the Blues came out on top.

They pipped Liverpool to Champions League qualification by finishing fourth in 2004/05, although Rafael Benitez’s men were allowed into the competition in 2005/06 after beating AC Milan in the 2005 final.

Meanwhile, the Toffees failed to make the group stage of the Champions League after losing to Villarreal in the final play-off round.

David Moyes, who has been linked with a Goodison Park return, was the last Everton manager to help them finish above Liverpool

Everton then finished above Liverpool for two straight seasons as the Reds were in the midst of a transition phase.

In 2011/12, the Toffees finished one place above the Reds in seventh.

And in 2012/13, they finished one place above Liverpool again but Everton came sixth that time in what was David Moyes’ final season in charge at Goodison Park.

It may be a long time before we see anything like that happening again by the looks of the current teams.

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT as we bring you THREE live Premier League commentaries across our network, including Everton vs Chelsea at 12:30pm

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