The Merseyside Derby, while not the most equal in terms of history and wins, is definitely one of the fiercest derbies in England.
When players get on the pitch, whether it is the Goodison Park or Anfield, they have only one goal – to bury the other club under the ground.
We have seen fights, goals, and iconic celebrations arise from this fixture. Chants and curses are thrown at each other, with both flags waving high and mighty.
All of this makes the ideal English footballing atmosphere. However, when this culture starts extending outside the stadium, problems start popping up.
Going back to 2001, Everton and England legend Dixie Dean’s statue was attacked and targeted.
Although the culprits were never confirmed, Evertonians assumed this was done by the Kopites.
In retaliation, blue paint, Everton’s colour, was smeared all over the Hillsborough Memorial, which was created in honour of those who died in the 1989 stadium tragedy (source).
This was considered a very disgraceful attack, considering the Hillsborough tragedy wasn’t one that affected just the Reds, but Everton too, as they share the same city and people.
As a result, both clubs had asked for calm, hoping that the vandalism doesn’t ignite a string of tit-for-tat incidents.
Fast forward to 2022, and another such incident has taken place. Murals in Liverpool, including one promoting food banks, were damaged with blue graffiti and ugly comments on the day of the derby.
In order to raise awareness for the nonprofit “Fans Supporting Food Banks,” a mural featuring England and Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was put up on Anfield Road in 2019.
Jordan Henderson and other former Liverpool legends are depicted in further paintings across the street.
The portrait of Trent Alexander-Arnold has been defaced with graffiti including the initials “EFC” and other graphic imagery, according to a shocking video given by Andy Heaton, who produces the podcast The Anfield Wrap.
Even the Mohamed Salah mural was defaced with a racial slur.
The murals were commissioned to commemorate and promote a critical initiative that helps local families and is run and supported by both clubs’ fans.
Again, both Everton and Liverpool issued statements condemning the vandalism following the 0-0 draw.
The clubs acknowledged that abusive and racially offensive graffiti was scrawled on a number of locations in north Liverpool near Anfield and Goodison Park.
Additionally, they stated that they would collaborate with Merseyside Police and aid in the investigation to identify those at fault.
Hate will never have a place in football. These attacks are not and will never be accepted.