June 16, 2024
Ask Michael Ball to remember the date and he punches out the kick-off time, the month and the year straight away. After a short pause, the full details return to him. “The last occasion we went there and won.”

It has been 21 years since Everton beat Liverpool at Anfield and 10 at Goodison Park. Espanyol have defeated Barcelona more often this century.

Getafe is the Spanish capital’s third or fourth club and their record against Real Madrid is better.

Ball cannot explain the poverty of Everton’s record, though he tries. “Without being too deep about it, I think the way football has gone hasn’t helped.

The former left-back is not alone in seeing a cleaner, more tactical game now, “where players wait for their moments to pass” and this has always suited Liverpool more.

In Everton’s last victory at Anfield, the ball “always seemed to be swirling up in the air”. Walter Smith’s approach that night was to use Kevin Campbell as a target and for Francis Jeffers to pick up the scraps — to disrupt Liverpool’s play and basically, “bring them down to our level”.

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