The Merseyside Derby: A Stage for Liverpool Legends
Club icons, a cult hero and a local lad bursting onto the scene…
The Merseyside Derby has proved a happy hunting ground for Liverpool in recent memory, with numerous club legends stamping their name into the history books on the first occasion.
Dominik Szobozslai, Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo will all be looking to follow suit, as they prepare for their first taste of the Derby on Saturday.
In this article, we’re going to look at seven memorable Derby debuts for some of the Reds’ most iconic players of their recent history.
Torres made his Derby debut on the 30th March 2008 at Anfield, following his arrival from Atletico Madrid in 2007.
The Spaniard scored a seventh minute winner in a 1-0 victory, with a tidy finish into the bottom corner in front of The Kop.
By the end of the 2007-08 season, Torres had scored 33 goals across all competitions as Liverpool finished 4th and reached the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final.
He would go on to make a further four appearances in the Derby, scoring two goals before his £50million move to Chelsea.
From one world-class striker to another, Luis Suarez made his debut against the Toffees on the 1st October 2011 under the legendary Kenny Dalglish.
Against ten-men, it was Liverpool’s new strike force in Andy Carroll and Suarez who grabbed the goals in the 2-0 victory at Goodison Park.
That wouldn’t be the last time the Uruguayan would celebrate in front of the Gwladys Street, as he would go on to score another four goals against the Toffees.
It would actually be Everton that would go on to finish a place above Liverpool in that season, finishing in 7th place.
Origi made his Merseyside Derby debut on the 20th April 2016, in a 4-0 demolition of Everton at Anfield.
The Belgian forward scored the opener in the game, before Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho followed suit.
The cult hero figure would go on to haunt Everton for the rest of his time at Anfield, scoring six goals including a iconic last minute winner in the 19/20 season before departing for A.C Milan in 2022.
Only Steven Gerrard (9) scored more goals for the Reds against Everton than Divock Origi (6).
The Senegalese forward gave Liverpool supporters the perfect Christmas present on his Derby debut on the 19th December 2016.
Mane scored a 94th minute winner as he slot the ball home after Daniel Sturridge saw his long-range effort strike the post.
The Reds would win the game 1-0, sending Jurgen Klopp’s side up to 2nd in the Premier League table.
The winger would score another three goals against the Toffees before his departure to Bayern Munich in 2022.
Virgil Van Dijk:
Eyebrows were raised when Liverpool splashed £75 million on Virgil Van Dijk in January 2018.
However, any worries would soon disappear after a fine debut against Everton at Anfield in the FA Cup on the 5th January 2018.
The Dutch defender scored an 84th minute winner with a thunderous header in front of The Kop, to lead Liverpool to a 2-1 victory.
Van Dijk will be hoping for more of the same as part of Klopp’s side to face Everton on Saturday, more than five years later.
The only local lad on our list, Curtis Jones made his Derby debut in the FA Cup at Anfield on the 5th January 2020.
For the most part, the game was quite scrappy with Jurgen Klopp opting to go with a heavily rotated side in the midst of a Premier League title charge.
That was until a moment of pure brilliance in the 71st minute from Curtis Jones burst the game into life, with a beautifully curled long-range effort into the top corner in front of the visiting supporters.
The 22-year-old will unfortunately miss the clash at the weekend through suspension, after receiving a dubious red card against Tottenham Hotspur a few weeks ago.
The most recent Derby debutant is Cody Gakpo, who joined the Reds for £35 million back in January from PSV.
Gakpo made his derby debut in the most recent clash on the 13th February 2023, where he scored his first Liverpool goal in a 2-0 victory over Sean Dyche’s side.
Mohamed Salah gave the Reds the lead in the 36th minute, before Gakpo put the game to bed with a simple finish from a delightful Trent Alexander-Arnold cross.