Everton FC: 5 Areas Where the Toffees Are Better Than Liverpool Right Now
Both have impressive trophy hauls and have enjoyed long periods at the summit of the English game—especially during the 1980s when the pair where considered two of the leading sides in Europe.
However, despite boasting two of the more substantial trophy cabinets in British football, it's Liverpool that have generally been a couple of steps ahead of their Merseyside rivals.
This has certainly been the case during the modern era, where the Reds have contested titles and hoisted a number of trophies without ever landing a much-coveted Premier League winners' medal.
Everton have spent much of the past two decades in their rival's shadow, yet have continued to improve under David Moyes.
Their gradual rise, coupled with a sudden decline from Liverpool, has seen the gap close dramatically over the past few years. Right now, the Toffees lie ahead of their rivals in the league standings and have done for the best part of a year.
That considered, here's a look at five ways the Toffees now fare better than their near neighbours at this present moment in time.
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Since the end of Rafa Benitez's reign, most Liverpool supporters would concede their side has struggled for consistency.
Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish never found their niche at the club last season, and this year the Anfield side have turned to former Swansea man, Brendan Rodgers, to lead them forward.
Although there have been positive signs, it's been a transitional season for the Reds. Having played a game more, they currently sit three points behind the Toffees and have remained behind them since the latter part of last season.
However, spanning further back, the gap is significantly wider, reflecting just how sudden Liverpool's decline has been and how steady Everton have remained throughout.
Over the past 38 games, between the start of February 2012 and 2013, the Toffees have taken 15 more points than their rivals (64-49), averaging 1.68 points-per-game to Liverpool's 1.29.
In a 2012 Premier League table alone, Everton would have finished fourth, on 68 points, 22 points and 10 places ahead of their rivals, who sit in a disappointing 14th.
That's pretty conclusive reading.
Liverpool will feel they are building something with Rodgers, but their erratic year of fluctuating results is inferior to Everton's, who are currently enjoying more wins and more success on the field.
2. Transfer Success
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In terms of success in the transfer market, Everton's ratio of hits compared to misses is currently miles ahead of Liverpool's.
Unable to spend as freely as their rivals, the Toffees have spent little in the past few years, but what they have has generally been savvy deals on the back of some crafty business.
The club has relied on the sales—and significant profits—of Jack Rodwell, Joleon Lescott and Mikel Arteta to fund transfers for the likes of Darron Gibson, Nikica Jelavic, Kevin Mirallas, Seamus Coleman, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka.
Going through the Toffees' personnel, a huge amount of the squad is now valued at a higher price than they were originally bought for, which—ultimately—is the sign of transfer success.
However, the same cannot be said for the plethora of recent additions that have arrived at Liverpool.
The likes of Stewart Downing, Fabio Borini, Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson have all declined in value while struggling to justify some ludicrous fees.
They all clearly have ability, but in relation to their value, Liverpool have spent poorly and that doesn't even include the discarded purchases of Charlie Adam, Andy Carroll and Alberto Aquilani.
Of course there are some success stories in there—Luis Suarez, Jonjo Shelvey and Glen Johnson for example—however, the amount Liverpool have frittered away on failed deals is far more than Everton.
3. Value for Money
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Continuing with the monetary theme, Everton maintain an advantage when it comes to their success in relation to their means.
The Toffees, along with Swansea, punch above their financial weight more than any other Premier League club, while Liverpool possess one of the more negative gradients.
FinancialFairPlay.co.uk displays several graphs highlighting as much, based on estimated wage budgets compared to present Premier League positions and point tallies.
Everton currently have 42 points, the sixth best return in the top flight, yet carry the joint 10th highest wage budget, estimated here to be roughly £62 million.
Liverpool's wage budget is over double that of the Toffees, at £127 million, the fifth highest in the Premier League. However, having played one more game than most other teams, 39 points and seventh position in the table is not what many would define as value for their spending.
This is where those who highlight David Moyes' lack of silverware at Everton need to take greater notice.
Even without the trophies to boost its aura, continually keeping the Toffees in and around the Premier League's top six—with clubs dramatically exceeding their own financial boundaries—is an impressive return on its own.
The Toffees have their own financial issues, especially surrounding their stadium, but in terms of maximising their own financial return, David Moyes and Everton are far more effective.
4. Manager (for Now)
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As is hinted in the last slide, Everton have a better, more experienced manager driving them, at least for the time being.
That's in no way meant as a degrading criticism of Brendan Rodgers. He's a newer manager and has a chance to build something at Liverpool that could yet take his stock beyond where David Moyes is now. However, at the moment, he's behind Moyes in managerial stakes.
A trio of LMA Manager of the Year awards and numerous Manager of the Month trophies compliment Moyes' tenure, as does his fourth place finish, several top six finishes and a quartet of forays into Europe. All achieved on the back of a modest wage bill in Premier League terms.
The current uncertainty around Moyes' contract is certainly worrying for Evertonians, and this could well be different by the end of the season, but—for now at least—the Toffees hold the advantage.
5. First XI
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Merseyside XI (4-4-1-1): Tim Howard; Glen Johnson, Phil Jagielka, Daniel Agger, Leighton Baines; Leon Osman, Darron Gibson, Steven Gerrard, Steven Pienaar; Marouane Fellaini; Luis Suarez.
There are several ways one could pick a 'Merseyside XI' but, whichever way you choose, it's hard to find a lineup with more Liverpool players in it.
In goal, neither Howard nor Pepe Reina have been at their best this season, but the American's played more and has less notable blunders on his copybook.
Johnson and Baines are two of the best fullbacks in the world, so there's surely little argument against either's inclusion here. Jagielka is a must at centre-back, and it's a tough call on Sylvain Distin to opt for Agger in his place.
Midfield is the real challenge. Pienaar and Gerrard are the obvious picks, for me, and then it's between Gibson and Lucas for the final central berth. I've gone for Gibson, just, with Osman playing on the right.
Suarez is a clear choice up front, as is Fellaini behind him, leaving the final total at 7-4 in the Toffees' favour. It could have easily been one more either way.
It's hard to judge Daniel Sturridge after just a month in a Liverpool shirt, but if he continues his start, he may well push Fellaini back into central midfield. At the moment, he's begun in the same way Nikica Jelavic did at Everton, when few could have envisaged him missing a team like this.
In terms of 'dead certs', it's perhaps 4-2 in Everton's favour, with Jagielka, Baines, Pienaar and Fellaini joined by Johnson and Suarez as essential picks.
However, whichever way you paint it, the overriding fact is that Everton's current first XI is better represented.