Liverpool 4-0 Everton: The Derby that spurred on a title challenge

Ahead of the first Merseyside Derby of the season, Joel Sanderson-Murray looks back to a thrashing which helped Liverpool gain momentum for a title challenge in 2014.
Joel Sanderson-Murray  |  3rd December 2019

Brendan Rodgers has been here before.

A dramatic home win over Everton to turn a season that looked to be hold aspirations of finishing in the top-four to an all-singing, all-dancing, dazzling title challenge.

Kelechi Iheanacho’s 94th minute winner, given after VAR had worked its magic, meant that Rodgers’ Leicester side have kept pace with league leaders Liverpool at the top of Premiership with that gap eight points going into the midweek fixtures.

Rewind back to 2014, and Rodgers, more fresh-faced but still full of ‘Brent quotes’, was overseeing a resurgent Liverpool side who had spent years in the abyss.

After an underwhelming first season in charge the previous campaign, hopes and expectations were set on Liverpool breaking into the top four and cementing their position back at the prestige table of the European elite.

There was no talk of a title challenge, no unruly welcome of team buses and no clue of what was to follow in the closing months of the season.

We all know how the story of 2014/15 season, perhaps the last great dramatic title race concluded with an almost dystopian ending, if you’re from the Red side of Merseyside anyway.

For everybody else, the Steven Gerrard slip was a feast of schadenfreude that allowed for seconds, thirds and leftovers for your lunch for the remainder of the week.

But it was a Merseyside Derby that took place in the January of that year that would set Liverpool, Rodgers and Gerrard on their way to creating some remarkable memories with the cruellest ending.

Liverpool and Everton met at Anfield on January 28, 2014 with both teams in the scrap for a place the Champions League qualification places in the league, and the clash was being billed as one of the biggest Merseyside Derby in three decades.

ALL OUR ODDS FOR LIVERPOOL VS EVERTON

Everton were flying under Roberto Martinez with on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku proving to be one of the deadliest strikers in Europe, and for the first time in a generation it seemed like the Blues were ready to take the crown as kings of Merseyside.

Buoyed by one of the most thrilling derbies in history earlier on in the season where Lukaku netted twice in that stunning 3-3 at Goodison Park, Everton went into this game with genuine hopes of picking up their first win at Anfield since 1999.

Evertonians had never been more confident making that trip across Stanley Park and were a team playing some vibrant and attacking football.

But Rodgers got it spot on, so spot on.

Letting that vibrant attacking trio of Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling off the leash to tear apart the league became a staple of Liverpool’s title challenge, but this was one of those occasions where we saw the attacking qualities of this team at its best.

Liverpool were 3-0 at half-time thanks to a Steven Gerrard and a brace from Sturridge – including a lob over Tim Howard from 25 yards out.

Luis Suarez left Phil Jagielka in his rear-view mirror to slot home the fourth in the second half and that was that.

Rodgers and his team went on to win 12 out of their last 15 fixtures and came ever so close to ending Liverpool’s agonising wait for a title.

Here we are in the closing days of 2019, and Liverpool are still yet to end that 30-year wait.

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And here we are again going into a Merseyside Derby with Everton still to end that wait for a win at Anfield.

The two clubs couldn’t be in more contrasting situations to the ones that took to the field for that thriller in 2014.

Liverpool are in the midst of a title challenge again but are a club that appear to be singing from the same hymn sheet in every department with world-class players all over the pitch, seven from the top 30 in the Ballon D’or rankings as we found out this week.

While Everton find themselves as the current crisis club in the division, in complete disarray languishing just one place and one point above the relegation zone going into the clash at Anfield.

Iheanacho’s late winner on Sunday was harsh on manager Marco Silva who had set up his side well for the trip to the King Power stadium and can feel that their performance had warranted a point.

A Liverpool win in the Merseyside Derby to spur on another title challenge? History may repeat itself on Wednesday.

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