With 22 red cards, the Merseyside Derby has produced more sendings off than any other Premier League fixture.
Many of those dismissals have been for rash challenges but we’re not here to glorify dangerous tackles.
Instead we’re looking back at 10 of the most memorable Derby day clashes when Everton and Liverpool have locked horns – and not all of them resulted in the protagonists being given their marching orders.
Bruce Grobbelaar v Steve McManaman, 1993
Going through chronologically, we start with perhaps the most unusual spat of the lot as two team-mates got involved in some unsavoury ‘handbags’, with the eyes of both the crowd and television cameras upon them.
Defending an Andy Hinchcliffe corner kick, McManaman’s shanked clearance fell straight to the feet of Everton winger Mark Ward, who fired in the opening goal of a 2-0 win from the edge of the area.
A furious Grobbelaar, sporting a 'rat tail' hairstyle at the time, took the young winger to task for his mistake with a verbal volley accompanied by some dramatic arm gestures (presumably telling him he should have booted the ball into Row Z).
McManaman tries to push his goalkeeper away but the abuse keeps coming with the pair squaring up and Grobbelaar pushing him in the face before receiving a swipe back.
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David Unsworth v Robbie Fowler, 1997
More fisticuffs but with those involved being on opposing sides, referee Steve Lodge was not impressed and he sent them both off eight minutes from the end of a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.
Robbie Fowler was reacting to a heavy challenge from David Unsworth and a couple of decades later, he recalled the incident as being not that bad.
He said: “He went through the back of me, but what people didn’t see is he also came through on me with a foot up. The desperation to win boiled over, and I snapped.
“I’ve looked back at it, and I’m bit puzzled why either of us was sent off. There was a lot of pushing, but no punches thrown, and 20 years ago unless you smacked someone you didn’t get sent off.
“OK, I had a bit of a lash out at Unsy on the way down the touchline, pushed him in the face to say goodbye, but by then, I’d got a red card so I may as well have done it properly.”
Paul Ince v Duncan Ferguson, 1998
It was a fruitful evening for each of this pair as they both got themselves on the scoresheet in a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Duncan Ferguson fired Everton ahead on 58 minutes before Paul Ince restored parity 10 minutes later.
Earlier on, the two captains showed how to ‘lead by example’ in a Merseyside Derby though as they were involved in a ninth minute melee.
Ince instigates contact by clattering into Ferguson but in the same movement he is somehow thrown to the turf by the giant Scot.
Jumping back up, for a moment it looks like he might try and give Ferguson something back but then thinks better of it, pats him on the back of the head and the game carries on.
Sander Westerveld v Francis Jeffers, 1999
A Merseyside Derby catchweight contest if ever there was one with the Liverpool goalkeeper tipping the scales at some three-and-a-half stones more than the teenage Everton striker.
The difference in size wasn’t a detail lost on Jeffers who later quipped: “Luckily for me, the referee was using his head and he didn’t want us walking off together so he told me ‘you’re going first’ and I knew I was getting sent off and the big fella was coming.
“I was happy that I was going first because there was a chance to get in the changing rooms and lock the door quick!”
For his part, Westerveld, who would later go on to play a couple of games on loan for Everton during a goalkeeping crisis, added: “I don’t think it was anything to be honest. I think they call it a ‘handbag fight.’
“Afterwards, I’ve told people many times, if I knew I was going to get a red card than I’d have tried to hit him a bit harder.”
Milan Baros v Alan Stubbs, 2005
With the local rivals battling for a top four place in the spring of 2005, Liverpool would win the battle (2-1) but Everton would win the war to edge out their rivals in the final table (although the Reds of course would go on to win the Champions League).
A subplot in all this was Milan Baros’ sending off 13 minutes from the end for an ugly tackle on Blues captain Alan Stubbs.
As mentioned earlier, this is not an article about horror challenges but rather spats – be they caused by such actions or not – and it’s Stubbs’ response to what happened that ensures an inclusion here.
The Kirkby-born centre-back said: “It was a s***bag's challenge.
“It was a challenge that could finish a player's career and I'd crucify myself if I made a tackle like that.
“I can accept players who turn their back and leave their foot dangling, but no player should look at another player and deliberately push their foot into his leg. There is no place for that in football.”
Baros, handed a three-match ban, would later apologise.
Rafa Benitez v the whole of Everton FC, 2007
Who'd have thought when Rafa Benitez branded Everton a "small club" that 14 years later he'd end up managing them?
Frustrated by Liverpool’s neighbours parking the bus for a goalless draw at Anfield, the Spaniard used the label for the Blues.
As you’d imagine, the remarks caused great ructions across Merseyside at the time but several years later, Benitez, who retained his family home on the Wirral throughout his subsequent career, tried to qualify his statement.
He said: “I made a mistake when I said it was a small club.
“What I wanted to say was they are a small team because in this game I remember they had one chance.
“Liverpool fans they were happy and the Evertonians were upset. But I didn't want to say they were a small club I wanted to say they were a small team.”
David Moyes v Luis Suarez, 2012
Ahead of the game, Everton manager David Moyes launched a scathing attack on Luis Suarez, saying that the Liverpool striker had a history of diving.
He pointed out that the Uruguayan’s dramatic reaction to a clean challenge from Jack Rodwell the previous season had prompted the Blues midfielder to be sent off.
Although the decision was later overturned, with Everton beaten 2-0 Moyes said Suarez’s actions had “ruined the game.”
Cue Suarez diving on the turf in front of Moyes after putting the Reds 2-0 up at Goodison.
The Scot, whose side battled back to draw 2-2, took his opponent’s reaction in good spirits and admitted he’d have done the same.
Romelu Lukaku v Mamadou Sakho, 2015
Tempers flared in what proved to be the last few seconds of Brendan Rodgers’ reign as Liverpool manager.
With the game petering out to a 1-1 draw – a result that would see the Reds boss dismissed before the evening was out – Romelu Lukaku and Mamadou Sakho were involved in some off the ball fisticuffs in the visitors' penalty area.
There was some pushing and bumping of chests before the two of them were separated by the French defender’s team-mates.
Martin Atkinson booked them both for good measure but many who recall the incident will remember Sakho’s wild eyes as he squared up to the Belgian man mountain.
John Henry v Ramiro Funes Mori, 2016
As someone who has made his way in the world through brains rather than brawn, Liverpool’s principal owner John Henry does not strike you as a typical fighting man.
However, the FSG chief had a withering putdown directed towards Everton centre-back Ramiro Funes Mori after his red card lunge on Divock Origi that ended the Belgian striker’s season.
Bizarrely, Funes Mori gestured towards the Blues badge on his jersey as he left the field but his actions left his team-mates down to 10 men for most of the second half and they would succumb to a second 4-0 defeat at Anfield under Roberto Martinez.
A disgusted Mr Henry branded the Argentinian’s challenge as “Bush League.”
Apparently the American phrase doesn’t have anything to do with either of the US Presidents of that name but rather it refers to being second rate, having originated to describe baseball’s minor leagues.
Goodison Park ball boy v Jurgen Klopp, 2019
Following on from Benitez’s ‘small club’ remarks over a decade earlier, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp decided to throw in a line about the Merseyside Derby being like “the World Cup final” for Everton – when previewing their previous away game at Manchester United.
Responding to the claim, Blues boss Marco Silva pointed out that his opposite number had in fact celebrated wildly following a last-gasp winner in the previous Derby, running into the centre circle of the pitch to embrace goalkeeper Alisson – an action that prompted him to receive an £8,000 fine for misconduct and a promise from the German that it “would not happen again.”
So following a goalless draw at Goodison – the final points of the season that Liverpool would drop as they were edged out by Manchester City in the title race – one of Everton’s ball boys couldn’t resist a pop at Klopp before he made his way down the tunnel.
Footage showed the youngster, named as Charlie Callaghan, sarcastically clapping the Reds gaffer as he went past.
Klopp confronted him and words were exchanged but the boy’s father Steve played down the incident.
He said: “It was just a bit of banter between Charlie and Klopp at the end.
“(There were) No threats by Klopp or Charlie. It was all good natured – what the Derby is all about.
“Charlie just asked him what he thought about the World Cup final.”