The devil on my shoulder debates the other, slightly less evil devil on my other shoulder.
When Liverpool and Everton renew hostilities at Anfield on Sunday evening, the Blues could already be in the relegation zone, albeit with a game in hand.
Although the Reds have much more pressing issues to worry about than the plight of their bitter Scouse brethren across the park (such as, I don’t know, winning their record-tying 20th title), winning, especially by a large margin, could make Everton’s Premier League survival all the more difficult.
In recent seasons, the Ev have flirted with relegation, but haven’t yet had the decency to go through with it.
However, with relegation looking increasingly likely—a 43% chance, according to Fivethirtyeight.com—I can’t help but feel a little like the dog who finally caught the car. I don’t know what to do with these feelings.
So, in order to dive into these conflicted emotions, I decided to call in an expert to debate: myself.
Zach: Hey dude, thanks for stopping by.
Dark Zach: Get in loser, we’re relegating Everton.
Zach: OK, so we know what side you’re on, but are you sure you want to relegate the Ev? I mean—
Dark Zach: You mean what?
Dark Zach: Oh, that was your point?
Zach: I. No, I have more but umm…how about you start?
Dark Zach: Seriously, what do we gain by having Everton around?
Zach: Usually 2-3 injuries per season, on average.
Dark Zach: Right, besides injuries? Which, as a reminder, are a bad thing.
Zach: To be fair—stop looking at me like that—the Merseyside Derby has given us some of the best moments of the Klopp Era. You had Lucas Leiva’s attempted worldie from 35 yards. Sadio’s last minute winner. Merry Christmas, Everton. Origi 90+6. Blue flairs on the pitch, celebrating draws that didn’t happen. And some absolutely humiliating results along the way.
We demolished them with Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi. That’s simply not as funny or humiliating against any other side.
Dark Zach: Sure, those are all great. But let’s not forget that The Ev consistently raise their game against us and literally no one else. Especially not Manchester City. They have 10 losses on the trot to City. Meanwhile, in their last 10 matches against us, they have 4 draws and a win.
Zach: I maintain that win doesn’t count because no one was there to see it.
Dark Zach: Still, the draw in 2018/19 cost us the title.
Zach: Don’t tell them that.
Dark Zach: Right, and this is all while happily rolling over to have their bellies rubbed against City. Plus, you know, injuries.
Zach: But…umm…local Derby?
Dark Zach: Please, we can still humiliate them in the FA Cup, if that’s what’s bothering you.
Zach: This still feels weird. Dirty even. I shouldn’t be rooting for their demise. Should I?
Dark Zach: OK, one last point. It’ll be really fucking funny. Especially in a season where we win one or more trophies. Especially especially if we also do the decent thing and win the league. OH! What if they get relegated on goal differential? And it’s our goals that do it? OH! OH! And it’ll be Frankie Tory Lampard who does it! After Agent Rafa was fired midseason!
No matter what else happens, we’ll always have Everton’s relegation to hold over their heads. Well, that and 1995.
Zach: That would be…very funny.
Dark Zach: I know right?!
Zach: So…ummm…enjoy the last Merseyside Derby for a while?
Dark Zach: We can send the Blues a Christmas card when we’re top of the table in the Premier League and they’re mid-table in the Championship. After all, we do hope those miserable bastards can have a nice Christmas—sans any hint of red on the tree—and enjoy winning the occasional game against Preston North End or Blackpool.