Sunday’s Merseyside derby gives Everton Football Club the perfect opportunity to prove just how far they have progressed since this time last season.
It has been widely reported that the Toffees have made their best start to a Premier League season since they finished fourth in the 2004/05 campaign.
An opening day victory over Manchester United has been followed up by some equally impressive away results at Aston Villa and Swansea and Everton are sitting pretty in fourth place.
On the contrary, Liverpool’s form has been somewhat indifferent since the arrival of Brendan Rodgers and the Anfield outfit are currently languishing in 12th with only two victories from their opening eight fixtures.
However, at the risk of sounding like a stat starved football pundit in desperate need of a cliché, ‘form goes out of the window when Everton and Liverpool meet.’
The FA Cup semi-final last season was the latest of a long list of clashes between the two clubs to back up that point.
The blues league form heading into the Wembley fixture was impressive to say the least. Some of the football being played was nothing short of scintillating and with their neighbours struggling for confidence and results, Everton were widely tipped as favourites.
What happened next however, has become something of a regular occurrence when the Merseyside rivals meet.
Nikica Jelavic opened the scoring in the first half and there was a sense that David Moyes’ men would finish the job and have another chance to end their long wait for silverware.
It was not to be however, as the Toffees simply stopped playing after that goal and some criminal defending handed victory to Liverpool.
Sunday afternoon gives the Goodison Park outfit an opportunity to put to bed any fears of a Liverpool hoodoo and prove that their impressive start can become an impressive campaign.
All bias aside, when comparing the two it is difficult to argue against Everton having the stronger side, although the creativity of suspended Steven Pienaar will be missed.
The time has now come to prove it and nothing short of a win will suffice if the blues want to be regarded as the dominant force on Merseyside.
Last season’s league position would suggest that over 38 games, Moyes’ squad were better than their Stanley Park rivals despite Dalglish’s men claiming all six points in the two league visits.
Granted, a ridiculous Rodwell dismissal at Goodison was matched by an equally ridiculous team selection for the Anfield tie which saw Everton’s second string roll over in a 3-0 drubbing.
All that aside, wouldn’t it be brilliant for Moyes to send out an eleven capable of handing out a footballing lesson to their fierce rivals and give their opponents / officials no chance to ruin it?
All will become clear on Sunday – you’d be a fool to miss it.
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