BY MARK GODFREY

It’s that time of the year again when the first “Friendly Derby” (as the media likes to believe it) of the season divides the Blue half of Merseyside from all the Cockneys, Irish and Norwegians who turn up at Lime Street Station or at John Lennon Airport every time the Reds play.

Everton victories have been rare in recent times – mostly due to David Moyes dropping his arse any time he sent his team out to play that lot from across the Park (who could forget that FA Cup semi-final?).

The weekend’s Premier League game at Goodison is the 221st in all competitions and the first for Toffees’ new boss, Roberto Martinez. He will hope to put one over on another former Swansea manager – Brendan Rogers – and improve on Everton’s 66-88 win deficit.

Barring any of the regular horrendous refereeing decisions that befall the Blues in Derbies (Martin Atkinson, Mark Clattenburg this means YOU!), or the repeated cheating and diving of Luis Suarez (who has been relatively quiet on that front recently so must be due something controversial) and Steven ‘Starfish’ Gerrard, then it could be a close and potentially successful affair for Everton, who look to be tightening their defences after a leaky opening to the season and are unbeaten at home for the whole of 2013 in the League.

While the dangerous Reds have been in scorching form up front so far in this campaign, they themselves look suspect at the back. And should Aly Cissokho start in defence for Liverpool, then Everton’s odds must surely shorten, as he looks absolutely comical at times and could be open to a proper beasting by the likes of Kevin Mirallas.

In preparation for Saturday’s 12.45 kick-off, here are some of my favourite moments from previous Merseyside derbies to get you going, counting down from number 10 to number 1. COYB

10. ANFIELD 1999 – SUPER KEV’S DERBY

Little did we know that this would turn out to be the last time we took victory away from that shit tip, but Super Kevin Campbell’s early, first half strike proved decisive. In the same game, giant Liverpool keeper, Sander Westerveld decided to be all brave by picking on Toffees’ striker, Franny Jeffers – whose own weight doubled when he put his boots on. They were both red-carded for their girly-spat and were joined later on by a pre-pubescent Steven Gerrard for his waist high, two-footed lunge on Super Kev. Once a cheat, always a cheat.

9. THE KING OF GOODISON. BUT ONLY BRIEFLY

When Everton’s Andy King lashed home the winner in this 1978 game to defeat then European champions Liverpool, you can see the unbridled joy in his goal celebration. You’d think he would be allowed some kind of leeway, yet one of Merseyside Constabulary’s finest (probably an RS), decided to forcibly remove the match-winner from the field of play during an TV interview just after the final whistle. ACAB.

8. THE COMEDY JUGGLING OF PEPE REINA

With just seconds of the 2006-07 Goodison derby left, Everton already had the game sewn up, but there was still time for Spanish plank, Pepe Reina, to do his best impression of Carry On’s Jack Douglas trying to handle a hot potato without wearing oven gloves. Fellow baldy, Andy Johnson, was on hand to take advantage. Hilarious, si?

7. NOW NOW. PLAY NICE.

You can hardly blame Steve McManaman for wanting to twat gobby Grobbelaar can you? After all, there can’t be many Bluenoses and plenty of Bruce’s colleagues down the years who haven’t thought about it. Macca got to live the dream during Everton’s 2-0 victory in October 1993. How we laughed.

6. THE CARSLEY DERBY

There aren’t many less-likely players to have scored a winner in a Merseyside derby than Lee Carsley. The dogged defensive midfielder could never be described as prolific. However, on this occasion in 2004, his goal gave the Blues a 1-0 win as they pipped their arch enemies to fourth place in the Premier League; a miracle given Everton were the bookies favourites to be relegated that year and their first choice striker was Marcus Bent.

5. KOP THIS

Here’s Kevin Sheedy doing what he did best. Free kick, left foot, goal. He then proceeded to offer up the V sign to the Kop and again to the Kemlyn Road stand. Thank you Sheeds, for doing what I can only do repeatedly in wet dreams.

4. CRY ‘HAVOC’, AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR

In November 1994, Everton had just replaced the clueless Mike Walker with Goodison legend, Joe Royle. Having just avoided relegation the on the last day of the previous season, the Blues were in an awful mess again in the early part of the 1994-95 season. In fact, they weren’t just a mess, they were shite. In Royle’s first game in charge, Everton played with pride, passion and a purpose. It was that night, in that 2-0 win over Liverpool, that the ‘Dogs of War’ were born.

3. YOU HAD TO BE THERE…

En route to the final of the FA Cup in 2009, Everton took on their neighbours in this 4th round replay for the 22nd time in the competition, after the 21st encounter had ended 1-1 at Anfield. A tense and turgid encounter was deep into extra time and barely two minutes from the dreaded penalty shoot-out, when ITV, who were broadcasting the game live, ballsed up big time – cutting away to adverts just as substitute, Dan Gosling, twisted and turned inside the Liverpool box before curling his shot beyond the outstretched arm of Pepe Reina. Millions of viewers in the Liverpool heartlands of the south of England, who had sat through the previous goalless 118 minutes, returned to see Gosling being mobbed by his team mates, unaware of the superb strike that had just knocked the Reds out of the cup. Magic!

2. THE END OF THE ROAD

February 20th 1991. Goodison Park. Everton 4-4 Liverpool. And to my mind the night that spelt the beginning of the end for Liverpool’s dominance of English football. This cup tie remains, to this day, one of the all time classics. Having gone down on four separate occasions, Everton heroically fought back each time with the final leveller by Tony Cottee coming deep into extra time at the Gwladys Street end. Although probably not directly responsible for tipping Kenny Dalglish over the edge, the cumulative effect of the pressures of the job and the previous two years following the Hillsborough tragedy meant this result was the straw that broke the camel’s back; Dalglish resigned just two days later. Liverpool were never the same again.

1. THAT GOAL BY SHARPY!

As the title of the video suggests, this goal by Everton legend Graeme Sharp is fondly remembered by all Blues as the winner at Anfield in October 1984 and signalled to the all-conquering Reds that Everton were on the march towards the League title. Gary Stevens’ accurate lofted pass found Sharp bursting through the chasm between Match of the Day gobshites, Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen to lash an unstoppable volley past hapless clown, Bruce Grobbelaar. Cue the wild celebrations and the total delirium of the beige-jacketed pitch invader. Makes me smile even today.

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