Merseyside Derby: Everton in red, Liverpool in blue?

The Merseyside Derby recently took centre stage in the Premier League with Everton hosting Liverpool at Goodison Park. The match featured the derby’s usual fair share of hard tackles, near misses, and dogged play in a nil-nil draw.

What you might not realise, especially if you are not familiar with your Merseyside Derby history, is that Everton used to call Liverpool’s ground, Anfield, home. Everton were formed in 1878 and leased the land that would become Anfield as their home ground. Liverpool were founded in 1892 and their creation was solely to replace Everton as the Anfield Stadium tenants.

Everton left Anfield over a disagreement between the club’s directors and John Houlding, the man who owned Anfield. Houlding wanted Everton to pay more money for the use of the venue but when the Toffees decided to up stakes, the Anfield owner had no football club to play in the ground, which meant no money was coming in. With an empty stadium on his hands, Houlding founded Liverpool Football Club in June 1892, around three months after breaking away from Everton.

Liverpool had little money after their formation and rather than spend cash to buy new football kits, the newly formed club wore the leftover shirts they found when Everton departed Anfield. Everton’s old kits were kept in storage at the ground and Houlding had the club wear the old shirts and trousers to save on expenditures. Interestingly, Liverpool’s initial colours were blue and white. It would be a few years later that they began wearing red and decades before the head to toe red kit became a staple of the club in the 1960s.

When Everton left Anfield they not only left behind old blue and white kits, but they ditched the colours altogether. The Toffees started wearing red which became their primary colour over the next few seasons before moving back to blue.

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