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Neville Southall exclusive: I’d sooner see us battered 6-3 than play it safe against Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby

Sickened by QPR's rollover, Big Nev says Everton owe the fans a result and a win at Anfield on Saturday would be a great place to start.

by Neville Southall | September 23, 2014

It hasn’t been the best start to the season for Everton to be fair.

We’re struggling a little bit and leaking goals  – but I’m convinced we can turn it around if we just cut out the individual mistakes.

The 3-2 league defeat by Crystal Palace was a shock but I was even more disappointed by the 3-0 loss to Swansea in the Capital One Cup last Tuesday.

But a derby game against Liverpool can kick-start our season and any Everton player who doesn’t want to put it right in a high-profile game like this shouldn’t be at the club.


Keep the Faith

It’s important that the players – and the fans – keep the faith with Roberto Martinez’s principles and we go out there on Saturday against Liverpool and attack.

We’ve had enough years of damage limitation at the club. I’d sooner us have a go and get beat 6-3 trying to win the game (like we did against Chelsea) than ‘manage’ a result when you go a goal down.

QPR put up the most non-committed performance that I’ve ever seen from a football team when they lay down against Manchester United. They were a disgrace. They never did a tap to try and get back into the game – just rolled over and tried to keep the score down.

Sometimes you’ve just got to play yourself out of a difficult patch. I’d be worried if the Toffees were putting in poor team performances. But recent results have been more down to individual errors. A result against our biggest rival would be a massive confidence boost.

Ian Rush & Neville Southall 840

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Handle with care

As a goalkeeper when things are going wrong, you’ve got to know how to handle the four individuals in front of you. Sometimes they’ll need a proper bollocking – other times they’ll need praise.

If you bollock the wrong one – particularly young or inexperienced players – they can go under and you do more harm than good.  I don’t think this side will go to pieces though. The team spirit is still good.

We’d a right few moaners like Kevin Ratcliffe, Peter Reid, Adrian Heath, Andy Gray and Graeme Sharp when I played. They’d have a go at me and I’d snap back.

But we all want to win and good players demand performances from each other.

I’d sooner have the rows than players you just know aren’t going to put their foot in and get hurt for the cause in the heart of battle.


Back and forwards

Liverpool are struggling for consistency. They’ve replaced Luis Suarez – a player they couldn’t trust – with another, Mario Ballotelli (above). 

He doesn’t work nearly as hard as the Uruguayan did – but he’s a big-game player. I’m hoping we can niggle him a little bit and force a reaction.

There’s not actually that much between the sides. Liverpool are better at going forward than defending – just like us at the minute. Both managers will feel the other side is vulnerable at the back.

I wouldn’t swap Tim Howard or our defence for any of theirs. Their midfield is decent – but so is ours. With Suarez gone and Daniel Sturridge an injury doubt, we can match them up front. Raheem Sterling looks a proper player though – we’ll need to stay tight to him.

If we can put in a performance like the one against Wolfsburg (won 4-1) we’ll be alright.


Let’s stick together

There should be goals and I’m hoping the Reds’ 14-13 penalty shoot-out win against Middlesbrough has taken a lot out of their legs.

If we can recapture our form I can see us winning 2-1. Romelu Lukaku looks a likely first scorer and I can see Samuel Eto’o getting one – though I don’t think he’ll start as Steven Naismith is doing very well up top.

But we’ve got to hold onto the ball longer up front because we’re giving it away too much and in the wrong positions.

This is a time for Evertonians to stick together. Two wins and you’re in the top four. Let’s stay positive.


  • Everton to win 2-1 @ 7/1
  • Romelu Lukaku to be first goalscorer @ 13/2 
  • Scorecast: Lukaku to score first & Everton to win 2-1@  66/1 

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