The 238th Merseyside Derby draws closer. January signing Ozan Kabak looks set to make his second Premier League start for Liverpool and his first appearance against Everton. Debuts in the Merseyside Derby, as you may already know, are always special.
The Liverpool-Everton rivalry has quite some history and tradition. It is the longest running rivalry in English football. In that context, today we are going focus on debuts. More specifically, derby day debuts of 25 current players.
Alisson Becker, Fabinho Tavares, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita
All four were recruited in the summer of 2018 and all four faced off against Everton for the first time together on the 2nd of December, 2018. Naby Keita, though, started on the bench.
Alisson kept a cleansheet in his first derby appearance. He also made a super stop from close range from Andre Gomes in the first half.
Fabinho, although booked, had put up a solid defensive performance. He was still been slowly integrated into the team by Jurgen Klopp.
Shaqiri had gotten a rare start. He was playing on the left in the seldom played 4-2-3-1 system. Salah as the striker. The Swiss international had gotten booked as well. Shaq was subbed off for Keita in the 71st minute, the latter making his Liverpool debut.
The attack that day was below par and the Reds were saved by an 84th minute substitute, Divock Origi’s antics during the 96th minute, when Jordan Pickford couldn’t handle a Virgil van Dijk long range effort and fumbled the ball and saw the goal served to Liverpool in a silver platter.
Adrián San Miguel: Huge Win for Liverpool
In Alisson’s injury plagued beginning of 2019/20, Adrián deputized for our Brazilian between the sticks and did it again for the Merseyside Derby as well. Although he did not keep a cleansheet, he performed well in a 5-2 demolition.
A Divock Origi brace along with goals from Shaqiri, Sadio Mané and Georginio Wjinaldum brought the spoils of the victory to the Reds. Michael Keane and Richarlison scored the Everton goals.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip
The 1-0 Everton win in December 2018 was, in fact, Trent’s first start in the Merseyside derby. However, his first appearance came on 1st April, 2017, when Liverpool thrashed Everton 3-1 at Anfield. The match saw goals from Sadio Mané, Phillipe Coutinho, Origi and Matthew Pennington (Everton) decorating the scoreboard.
The then 18 year-old right back was subbed on at the 74th minute for Coutinho and went on to keep a cleansheet, albeit it was just for about 16 minutes.
As for our tall, lanky and unintentionally hilarious Cameroonian centre back, this was his first appearance in the derby since he was signed in 2016 for free.
Andrew Robertson, Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Salah
The Egyptian, and the Scot were bought in the summer of 2017 and made their Merseyside Derby debut together, along with a young Joe Gomez, in a close 1-1 draw affair. New recruit, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his derby debut as well, featuring in the starting 11.
Robertson and Gomez (who was playing as Robertson’s fullback partner) were unlucky to keep a cleansheet after Dejan Lovren gave away a penalty after a careless push on Dominic Calvert Lewin. Wayne Rooney made no mistake, slotting the ball home.
The highlight of the match, though, was Mo Salah’s absolutely exquisite strike three minutes before halftime. A curling effort, this was his 19th goal of the season. He ended it with 44 goals in all competitions.
The strike was, in fact, so magnificent, it won the 2018 Puskas Award, annually given out for the best goal scored in professional football.
Virgil van Dijk
Certainly one of the most memorable Merseyside Derby debuts (and Liverpool debuts) in recent memory. The imperious Dutchman was just made Liverpool’s record signing (at 75 million euros) in the 2018 winter window. He was immediately tossed into the starting lineup in the FA Cup 3rd round clash against Everton on 5th January, 2018.
James Milner put the Reds 1-0 up after his spot kick before Gylfi Sigurðsson equalized for his side in the 67th minute. The match went on, it seemed that the tie would go to a replay. In the 84th minute though, Liverpool got a corner.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ran over to take it. Debutant van Dijk rose the highest to meet the ball, which soon found itself at the back of the net, at the Kop End. Van Dijk celebrated with an iconic knee slide in front of the crazed Liverpool fans.
His goal turned out to be the winner in the 2-1 win, knocking out bitter rivals Everton and proceeding to the 4th round.
The versatile midfielder signed for the red side of Merseyside on a free from Manchester City in 2015. He made his Merseyside Derby debut on the 4th of October, 2015, in a 1-1 draw.
Danny Ings’ opening goal at the 41st minute was cancelled out by Romelu Lukaku just five minutes later. The score remained unchanged for the rest of the game. Milner got off in the right foot, assisting the only Liverpool goal in game
Georginio Wjinaldum and Sadio Mané: 94th minute Liverpool win
Wjinaldum was signed from relegated Newcastle and Mané from Southampton in the summer of 2016. The duo made their first appearance against the Toffees on 19th December 2016 together in yet another late victory.
Nothing could separate Ronald Koeman led Everton and Klopp’s Reds until the 94th minute, when a super Sadio Mané strike secured all three points for Liverpool. This is where Mané had announced his arrival in spectacular fashion.
Our oldest serving current player, his debut against Everton came in the Merseyside Derby on the 1st of October, 2011. Jordan Henderson came on as a substitute, replacing Lucas Leiva in the 88th minute. Goals from Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll had secured a Liverpool victory.
His first start, however, came on 13th March, in the reverse fixture that season, when a stupendous Steven Gerrard hattrick left the Blues completely humiliated.
Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota: Unforgettable Liverpool Draw
The most recent Merseyside Derby was certainly the most sour in the past few years. In a very controversial draw, where Salah, Mané, Michael Keane and Calvert-Lewin appeared in the score board, Liverpool’s last minute Henderson winner was ruled out by VAR after Sadio Mané was adjusted to be offside- that is, his sleeve was offside.
Summer signing Thiago Alcantara made his first Liverpool start in yet another meeting between the two local clubs and put in a man of the match performance, playing a big role in the ultimately disallowed Liverpool winner.
This game was huge in terms of injury as well. Virgil van Dijk’s ACL was torn after an extremely reckless Jordan Pickford tackle at the 6th minute ( who, incredulously enough, faced no punishment) and was ruled out for the season. Joel Matip suffered a knock as well and was out for a few weeks.
Thiago himself was at the wrong end of a dangerous Richarlison tackle, who WAS shown a straight red for his careless action. This tackle caused Thiago a two month spell at the sidelines.
Another summer signing, Diogo Jota, made his first appearance against the Toffees as well, coming on as a 78th minute substitute for Roberto Firmino.
Curtis Jones, Nathaniel Phillips, Neco Williams, Takumi Minamino, Harvey Elliot and Yasser Larouci: The Next Generation of Liverpool
In a severely depleted Liverpool lineup, all six of these players made their first appearance against Everton, with Phillips and Minamino making their Liverpool first team debuts as well. Larouci, however, was benched before coming on as a 9th minute substitute for the injured James Milner.
The match was marked by a stunning curling effort by Curtis Jones in the 71st minute. The young Scouser’s first professional goal ultimately was the winner in the FA Cup 3rd round fixture.
Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi
The Brazilian and Belgian joined Liverpool in 2015 and 2014 respectively and made their derby debuts together in Liverpool’s 4-0 rout of Everton at Anfield, with goals coming from Origi, Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Sturridge and Coutinho, securing a Liverpool victory in derby day at Merseyside.
Origi has, since, haunted Everton, scoring five goals in all competitions against them, the most famous, of course, being his 96th minute winner in December 2018.
To sum it up…
216th derby– Jordan Henderson.
Everton 0-2 Liverpool.
225th derby– James Milner.
Everton 1-1 Liverpool.
226th derby– Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi.
Liverpool 4-0 Everton.
227th derby– Georginio Wjinaldum and Sadio Mané.
Everton 0-1 Liverpool.
228th derby– Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip.
Liverpool 3-1 Everton.
229th derby– Andrew Robertson, Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Salah.
Liverpool 1-1 Everton.
230th derby– Virgil van Dijk.
Liverpool 2-1 Everton.
232nd derby– Alisson Becker, Fabinho Tavares, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita.
Liverpool 1-0 Everton.
234th derby– Adrián San Miguel.
Liverpool 5-2 Everton.
235th derby– Curtis Jones, Nathaniel Phillips, Neco Williams, Takumi Minamino, Harvey Elliot and Yasser Larouci.
Liverpool 1-0 Everton.
237th derby– Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota.
Everton 2-2 Liverpool.