Liverpool Blues XI

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Earlier this year, we all met at the pub to watch Liverpool v Manchester United. This was a little different from other occasions as we were going to be watching it from a recorded disc from a brand new DVD recorder that the club had just decided to purchase for such events. So with all of us assembled and eagerly awaiting the (delayed) kick – off, the disc was popped in and cued up. Then, to our astonishment, Liverpool are seen coming out at Anfield wearing BLUE shirts! What the? There must be something wrong here. We tried our best to make adjustments to the DVD player in the pub but with no luck, so we had the strange experience of watching Liverpool in blue, playing Manchester United in pale pink (that wasn’t the end of the colour confusion – what would you make of a player being shown a lime green card?)

It turned out that the player in the pub had been removed and re-installed during some cleaning up on the previous night, and when it was put back a couple of the wires were put in backwards. Problem solved – but it did make me think about Liverpool players in blue shirts, and how many Liverpool players had in fact played in blue shirts during their career which then led to the question of how many players have played for both Liverpool and Everton? A few names came to mind quite readily, such as former Vancouver Whitecap Peter Beardsley and Abel Xavier. After that it took a bit of work but I was eventually able to come up with a complete squad of eleven plus subs. So here is the latest version of strange Liverpool XI’s, namely: Liverpool Blues.

Goalkeeper

This looked as though it was going to be a difficult one (as it was with Scousers XI) but after some digging I found two candidates as long as I can bend the rules a little, just as I’ve done before. Sander Westerveld left Liverpool and moved to Portsmouth, but was actually on loan to Everton for a three month spell. He didn’t play any first team games during that time, but he was a part of the squad and so I’m putting him in. Another odd one was Alec Chamberlain. He was a member of Everton reserves in 1987-88 and spent some time on loan from Sunderland to Liverpool in 1995. That means I already have a reserve ‘˜keeper for the bench as well.

Defence

Gary Ablett made the direct trip across Stanley Park when Graeme Souness was in charge. Abel Xavier made the direct trip in the opposite direction in 2001 under Gerard Houllier’s management. I wasn’t going to select Xavier at first because he was already in the Premiership Ex-Reds squad. But my laziness in getting this squad completed paid off here as it was just announced that he’s out of that squad and on his way to the LA Galaxy. Popular defender David Burrows left Liverpool in 1993 for West Ham, and was then signed by Everton two years later. That gives me three defenders which may not be ideal but we’ll see what happens as we go along.

Midfield

Suddenly there’s a whole list of players to choose from for the middle of the park. Nick Barmby was the most recent direct import from Goodison, coming over during Houllier’s time, while Peter Beardsley went the other way during Souness’s management. Kevin Sheedy made 3 appearances for Liverpool before going to Everton, where he spent ten seasons. Then we have Don Hutchison and Steve McMahon, both of whom played for both Liverpool and Everton with other clubs in between. If we go back in history a little, we can find players such as Jimmy Payne who played right wing for Liverpool from 1944 to 1956 and then wrapped up his career with six appearances for Everton. Winger Johnny Morrissey played for Liverpool in the early 60’s and then joined Everton where he played out the decade. There are plenty of others that have made the switch over the long history of both clubs, but it seems as though as time goes by the rivalry becomes stronger and it is less common in more recent times.

Forwards

David Johnson spent four years with Everton before his transfer to Ipswich, then joined Liverpool in 1972. In 1978 he went back to Everton and stayed for a further four seasons. Further back in history, Dave Hickson signed for Everton in 1948, left them in 1955 for Aston Villa, returned to Everton in 1957 and then transferred to Liverpool in 1959 where he stayed for two years. Jack Balmer was an amateur for Everton where both of his uncles played before he was signed for Liverpool in 1935. He stayed for the remainder of his career until retiring in 1952.

That should give us plenty to work with, but I’m going to help myself out even more by allowing a few players who grew up as supporters of Everton before being signed by Liverpool. Some famous boyhood Evertonians include Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Ian Rush, Steve McMannaman, Steven Wright, and Jamie Carragher. Goalkeeper Tony Warner is a boyhood Evertonian who was signed by the Liverpool Academy in the late 1980’s, going on to play for the reserves while being understudy to Bruce Grobbelaar and David James. Strangely enough, there are not so many boyhood Reds who played for Everton (although there were one or two in particular who will come up in a moment), with one notable example being Gary Ablett who played for both.

Going even further, I can also bring in a few youth players from the Liverpool Academy who went on to play for Everton. Some of those players include Dave Watson who played for Everton from 1987 to 2001, Alan Harper who played for them twice from 1983 to 1988 and then from 1991 to 1993. Darren Potter spent time with both clubs’ youth squads before playing a couple of games for Liverpool, then moving on to Southampton on loan and then Wolves.

Management

The advantage of setting up all of the above allowances for amateurs, youths, and boyhood supporters is in finding more candidates for management. The first of these to be considered is Mike Newell. He was a Liverpool supporter as a youngster and signed as youth player for Liverpool in 1982. He later played for Everton from 1989 to 1991, and managed Hartlepool from 2002 until 2003 before moving on to Luton. Dave Watson is another boyhood Red who played for Liverpool youth and reserves, then with the Everton senior squad from 1987 to 2001 after six seasons with Norwich. During his time with Everton, he spent some time as caretaker manager for a few months following the resignation of Joe Royle in 1997. After leaving the club in 2001, he went to Tranmere Rovers for a season as manager. Alan Harper, another Liverpool youth player who went on to play for the Blues, returned to Everton in the early 2000’s to became youth coach until 2005. Finally let’s not forget Gary Ablett who is currently the Liverpool reserve team manager.

That should definitely be enough, so let’s see how we can select them from the above list of available players and line them up.

Sander Westerveld
Stephen Wright
Abel Xavier
Jamie Carragher
David Burrows
Nick Barmby
Don Hutchison
Steve McMahon
Peter Beardsley
David Johnson
Dave Hickson

Substitutes: Alec Chamberlain, Steve McManaman, Kevin Sheedy, Jimmy Payne, Ian Rush

Manager: Mike Newell
Asst. Mgr: Dave Watson
Reserve Mgr: Gary Ablett
Youth Coach: Alan Harper

Keith Perkins

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