OnThe Ball

Derby will show if Toffees are for real

James Rodriguez of Everton (centre) celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the English Premier League match between Everton and Brighton in Liverpool, Britain, on Oct 3, 2020.
James Rodriguez of Everton (centre) celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the English Premier League match between Everton and Brighton in Liverpool, Britain, on Oct 3, 2020.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Everton won their first seven games of the season. The eighth was a Merseyside derby. They won that, too, 3-0. It is not a prediction of the immediate future as much as ancient history: This was 1894-95 when Everton made what is their finest start to a campaign.

History will not repeat itself in one respect - Liverpool were relegated then - but, with every week, it feels likelier it might in another. Everton had enough staying power in 1895 to finish second.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2020, with the headline 'Derby will show if Toffees are for real'. Print Edition | Subscribe