Those of us who are of a certain vintage will recall a time when Liverpool and Everton dominated the domestic game. It’s rare for a city to have two clubs who are simultaneously at the height of their powers but, back in the 1980’s, Liverpool was such a place. As this weekend’s Merseyside derby approaches, those halcyon days of silverware and dodgy perms have become a fading memory. The fans of these two proud teams must be wondering if they will ever see their like again.
It is well-documented that Liverpool FC’s record as England’s most successful club side has been usurped by Manchester United over the last two decades. Without a title since 1990, the Reds have struggled to regain their intimidating reputation of the Seventies and Eighties. However, return of “King” Kenny Dalglish has re-ignited hope on the Kop that trophies will return to Anfield sooner rather than later.
Dalglish is a throw-back to the days of the Boot Room and has promised to instil the values that brought Liverpool so much achievement during his playing days.
Peace has also broken out in the boardroom. The turbulence of the Gillett/Hicks years that hampered the club’s progress in recent times has been replaced by the investment and vision of John W. Henry . Liverpool have spent with abandon and new squad is being assembled at a rapid rate. The time it takes for these signings to gel may not be quick enough for some fans impatient for success but the squad is clearly stronger than 12 months ago.
Liverpool’s attacking options are now broader in scope and, when Gerrard makes a full return from injury, he will find he has more support around him than before. At the back, Jamie Carragher ’s powers may be beginning to wane and there is a lack of depth across the defence but with a further addition or two in January it would appear that the Anfield club’s stock is definitely rising.
Across Stanley Park, Everton supporters can only envy wealth at their neighbour’s disposal. The Toffees have been pleading poverty for some years now and have been powerless to avoid selling some big name players including, most recently, the talismanic Mikel Arteta . Many hopes are now pinned on the young shoulders of Ross Barkley to fill the void left by the Spaniard. However, his precocious talents have already brought speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea or, like Wayne Rooney before him, Manchester United. Everton may need to become evermore reliant on their brilliant youth system unless they can prevent being seen as a selling club.
Everton’s other key asset is manager David Moyes . This season, he will celebrate a decade in charge during which he has established his reputation as one of the best in the business. Despite the lack of spending power, the canny Scot has kept the club competitive and the team capable of beating anyone when at their best. With more financial clout, it’s widely felt that Moyes could have Everton challenging for trophies on a regular basis. The board are openly looking for new investors and a move to a new stadium in the hope of giving the club new impetus. For the time being, the Goodison Park outfit seem to be stuck in a mid-table rut.
25 years ago, Everton v Liverpool would not only been a highly-charged derby game but a top of the table clash too. Today, the Premier League table indicates that another city just down the M62 may be about to become the new empire of English football…
Article courtesy of Paul Gould from This is Futbol