Matt Sproston looks ahead to the derby and why it’s still the biggest game of the season.
A Kop mosaic will take place before the derby on Sunday so that Liverpool supporters can show their appreciation to Everton and their fans for the support given throughout the justice campaign. It is a visual token of gratitude to show the outside world as much as anything. A reminder to everyone else that despite all the hard times and the bad press, Liverpool as a city remains a class act.
The blues know we appreciate their support on all things Hillsborough related. In reality, we wouldn’t expect anything less of them. Hillsborough was always a city issue, not just a red one.
The mural is a nice touch but when it’s done the niceties will be over. Half of the mural will become a squadron of paper planes and battle will commence. Friendships, family ties and romantic relationships will be cast aside for 90 minutes. Red versus blue. Us versus them. As it should be. The biggest game of the season.
Don’t agree? Try telling that to the 45,000 people there on Sunday. The atmosphere will be electric and what are we playing for? Sixth place and a possible Europa League spot? Do me a favour. Sixth place might as well be sixteenth and Brendan doesn’t even want to be in the Europa League! It’s a game that still gets the nation talking even though there’s nothing at stake.
Still unsure? Think about this. Imagine the unlikely scenario where Liverpool reached the Champions League semi final. Who is the worst possible team that you could imagine losing to?
If your answer is anything other than Everton, I would hazard a guess that you don’t live on Merseyside. There’s nothing wrong in that, I don’t live there either. But spare a thought for those reds that do because chances are they will have a mate, a dad/mum, a brother/sister, a colleague, a girlfriend/boyfriend or (God forbid) a wife/husband who is a blue. And they’ll be ready and waiting to make our lives miserable should the worst happen and Everton get their first Anfield win in fourteen years.
That is what makes the derby our biggest game of the season. Local pride. Bragging rights. Call it what you want, it still matters. Immensely.