Everton could have done their city rivals Liverpool a huge favour in the race for the Premier League title by beating Manchester City on Saturday, but they just couldn't finish the job, losing 3-2 at Goodison Park.
Reds fans had to experience the odd sensation of supporting their blue city rivals (let's refrain from some of the colourful nicknames in an attempt to keep this SFW), and on social media, it created a very strange atmosphere for everyone watching the match:
Liverpool fans actually pulling for Everton takes some getting used to.— Keviη Stott (@KevinStott11) May 3, 2014
When Ross Barkley scored first, putting the hosts up early, it gave hope to fans all over Merseyside. I'm fairly certain no Liverpool fan had ever typed these words:
YESSSSSS ROSS BARKLEY I LOVE YOU— Jack Widnell (@jackwfootball) May 3, 2014
Of course, the joy didn't last long, with Sergio Aguero equalising for the visitors. Tim Howard didn't look particularly good when he attempted to stop the Argentine's shot, leading to the first sightings of the expected conspiracy theories:
I know Everton don't want to win but you'd of thought Tim Howard would have at least tried to look like he was trying to save it #fix— Paul Thomason (@paulthomason77) May 3, 2014
And when Edin Dzeko put the Citizens up a goal just before half-time, Liverpool fans already started to realise their blue neighbours might not be able to pull off the win.
Cue the predictable insults:
Everton fans: hate Liverpool more than they love their own club how embarrassing— beth~lfc (@cope_beth) May 3, 2014
Dzeko would add a second goal just after half-time, and with Liverpool fans not satisfied with Everton's performance and their players' perceived lack of drive, the idea Everton were throwing the game only seemed to be gaining traction:
Throwing games is cheating! Everton to be investigated for match fixing, then relegated as a consequence.— Lee Jenkins (@LJenko88) May 3, 2014
Some people tried to be the voice of reason, however:
Poor defending from Everton but how LFC fans can claim the Toffees are throwing the game beyond me. You go out to win every game.— Callum Mackenzie (@callumlarr) May 3, 2014
Liverpool fans making accusations of Everton "throwing" the game should realise they had their chance last week stop being so petty— Declan Barlow (@barlow_declan) May 3, 2014
On the other end of the scale was the plain ridiculous:
#EFC will look back on this season and reminisce how they didn't want to fight for 4th and decided to stick it into their neighbors instead.— Vince (@vincetalksfooty) May 3, 2014
Guess Champions League football and much more money means absolutely nothing to the Everton fans then.. Oh well, shame.— Connor (@ConnorwilsonLFC) May 3, 2014
Romelu Lukaku's late goal seemed to bring everyone back to life, and Piers Morgan correctly assessed the mental state of virtually the entire city of Liverpool:
I don't think the words 'calm down' will work in Liverpool right now... #Lukaku— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 3, 2014
When Gerard Deulofeu came close to equalising for the Blues, Liverpool fans didn't appreciate the fact he put his shot in the side netting:
In 50 years time Liverpool fans will say what if Deulofeu had scored— Joel (@JMXFifa) May 3, 2014
But it wasn't meant to be, as the Citizens held on to their one-goal advantage, positioning themselves as the favourites for the title thanks to a superior goal difference.
Let's just say Liverpool fans weren't happy with the result:
And that is why ya'll are the 3rd best team in Liverpool @Everton— Freddie_vS (@FREDDIE_vS) May 3, 2014
So that's how much they hate Liverpool #Everton— The Stig (@chavezdoe) May 3, 2014
As a product of Everton's loss, Arsenal are now mathematically sure of finishing in the top four, and the Gunners will qualify for the Champions League play-offs, needing to survive one round of fixtures to make it into the group stages.
Everton will play Europa League football next season, as Roberto Martinez and his young squad can look back on an excellent first season under their new coach.
Manchester City, meanwhile, will hold the top spot in the league standings for at least two days, as Liverpool will take on Crystal Palace on Monday.
The Citizens will play Aston Villa and West Ham at home to close out the season, and if they win both games, the title should be theirs (barring Liverpool beating Crystal Palace by a video game-like margin).