In recent years, Merseyside derbies have been hyped up as huge clashes between two local rivals, Liverpool and Everton, only for the games to end up being extremely drab affairs.
This was personified by the last meeting between the Stanley Park neighbours in April this year, as they played out a 0-0 bore draw at Goodison Park in the Premier League, with neither side wanting to lose the game.
In total Liverpool have 92 wins compared to Everton’s 66 in the fixture, but there have also been 73 draws, and the two teams cancelling each other out has certainly been the theme in recent years.
In the 13 derbies held since the start of the 2012/13 season, eight have ended in draws, proving just how cautious both teams are heading into such an historic fixture.
One argument for this is that players who do not come through the youth setup of either club struggle to understand the derby and what it means to have bragging rights over friends and family members who support the other Merseyside outfit.
This is certainly not to say that those from outside the city of Liverpool do not appreciate the importance of the derby, but the development of a new generation of young Scousers in both teams looks set to reignite the passion that used to appear in every game between the two old foes.
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Since the Premier League’s inception, the Merseyside derby has seen a record 21 red cards. Although some modern fans may say otherwise, that is what we want to see in a game between local rivals. The players should be aware of what the game means and they should make it clear that they are out there to win.
This passion though could be reignited in years to come, and it will hopefully begin with Sunday’s clash at Anfield. If Trent Alexander-Arnold and Tom Davies both start then either side will have a homegrown Scouser on the pitch, and both players certainly love a tackle.
These two players though are also examples to other young local lads in the academies, proving that if you have the talent and work hard enough then one day they could also be playing in a Merseyside derby. Thankfully, both youth setups are brimming with a wealth of talent born in the city at the moment, meaning we could be set for a return to the competitive derbies of old for many years to come.
Everton have centre-back Tyias Browning, U20 World Cup winner Jonjoe Kenny and attacking midfielder Kieran Dowell all sniffing around Marco Silva’s first-team squad, whereas the Reds will be putting a huge amount of hope behind youngsters Adam Lewis, Bobby Duncan and Curtis Jones in years to come.
In fact, despite being just 17 years old, Jones was involved in the pre-season tour of the USA this summer and his hugely impressive performances led many to believe he would make his debut under Jurgen Klopp this season.
Although this is yet to happen, both Merseyside clubs now have progressive and attacking managers in charge who are not afraid to gamble on a young player. For us punters, we can only hope that the emergence of this new generation of Scousers will revolutionise the games between the two sides and bring back the entertainment value of a hotly-contested derby.
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