A familiar foe returns to the away dugout on Saturday. Here I take a look at how the Reds have fared over the years against David Moyes (and look back over some memorable wins over Everton and Man Utd – always a bonus!)
When it came to Liverpool FC, it’s fair to say Moyes wasn’t trying to win the Nobel Peace Prize during his time as Everton manager. From his “people’s club” jibe, referring to the Heysel disaster in press conferences and as a TV pundit, saying Everton were “clearly the best team on Merseyside” in May 2005 and constantly moaning about the relative budgets of the 2 clubs., Moyes couldn’t resist having a dig at the Reds. It seemed to be his weapon of choice in terms of keeping Evertonians on side during an era when relations between the 2 clubs were arguably the worst they’ve ever been. His 2 successors at Goodison, Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman, haven’t resorted to such tactics.
It’s well documented that Everton’s winless Anfield record stretches back to the last century, and Moyes accounts for 12 of those games. There were some memorable Liverpool wins in that period; the 3-1 in 05-06 after Steven Gerrard had been sent off, with Phil Neville heading into his own net , was my particular favourite. At least Neville had the distinction of scoring for the European champions that day, something that as far as I know his brother never managed!
The Gerrard hat-trick in 11-12 isn’t far behind, as is the 2-1 in 04-05 in another game we ended with ten men (and about 3 of them could barely walk by the end)
On the other side of the coin, Moyes’ sides often frustrated the Reds in Anfield derbies, achieving four 0-0 draws. And a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw in January 2009 was a hammer blow to our title hopes that season. (I went home and drank a full bottle of wine I’d been given by my boss as a Christmas present after that game! And I don’t even like wine!)
Our record was actually better at Goodison, with the Reds winning 7, drawing 1 and losing 4 of 12 visits, compared to 5 wins out of 12 at Anfield.
But perhaps our most memorable Derby win over a Moyes side came away from Merseyside in April 2012. The Reds met Everton at Wembley in the FA Cup semi final and came from a goal down to win 2-1 thanks to goals from Luis Suarez and a late Andy Carroll header. This game more than any summed up Moyes’ limitations for me; they’d been gifted a half time lead, we were in a dreadful run of form and even had our third choice keeper, Brad Jones, in goal. Yet Moyes reverted to type in the second half and instead of going for the throat, his team crapped themselves, allowing King Kenny to break Evertonians’ hearts in the capital once again!
For reasons only known to the Man Utd hierarchy, Moyes was chosen to take over from Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2013. Here was a man for whom finishing 8th was classed as success taking over at a club where finishing second was classed as failure. It was comparable to Hodgson getting the Liverpool job except I wholeheartedly backed this appointment!
The Reds’ faced post-Ferguson United 3 games into the season at Anfield and an early Daniel Sturridge goal settled matters. We travelled to Old Trafford a few weeks later for a League Cup tie but this time were on the wrong end of the same scoreline.
But the return game in the league is the one that will live long in the memory as Brendan Rodgers’ in form side ran out 3-0 winners in one of our most convincing ever wins at Old Trafford. It was an indication of just how far the title winning squad Moyes inherited had fallen in less than 9 months under his management.
The game will also be remembered for Mark Clattenberg awarding us THREE penalties (imagine that happening under Ferguson!) We dominated from start to finish and the Mancs can count themselves lucky they weren’t on the wrong end of one of their most humiliating ever home defeats, prompting an infamous internet clip where an elderly United fan says the word “bobbins” quite a lot! Sadly though, there was virtually no way back for Moyes after this!
Despite going on an impressive run under that other football visionary Sam Allardyce to escape relegation, one of Moyes’ first actions as Sunderland boss was to announce the squad was a load of shite and another relegation battle was inevitable. It was classic Moyes, and his team “responded” by failing to win their opening ten games, with Moyes of course absolving himself of any blame for his team’s terrible start. They have picked up in recent weeks though and have won their last 2.
Saturday might lack the edge of some of our previous encounters with Moyes teams. After all this isn’t a Derby or a game against the Mancs, just a match against a team in a relegation scrap with a very mediocre Premier League manager. But with the carrot of top spot dangling in front of us, I fully expect our excellent home form to continue and Moyes to once again leave Anfield empty handed.
Written by @Pilnick_Jimmy