Friendly rivals. . .this week

Everton fans enjoy “hating” our arch-rival Liverpool. However, the rivalry is purely a sporting one. It has no religious dimension (unlike the Glasgow rivalry between Rangers and Celtic); no political dimension (unlike the rivalry between Roma and Lazio or the one between Barcelona and Real Madrid); and no geographic dimension (unlike Barcelona-Real Madrid and Paris S.G-Marseille). That’s why it’s common for members of the same family to hold different loyalties, and that’s why the rivalry rarely gets out of hand.
It’s also why we sometimes see great gestures like the one Liverpool just made. Last week, an eleven-year old boy, Rhys Jones, was shot dead in the Croxteth area of Liverpool. Jones was an Everton fan. Today, Liverpool F.C. honored him by playing the Everton theme song (“Z-Cars”) before its Champions League qualifier against Toulouse. It did so ahead of Liverpool’s own brilliant anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” The Liverpool players wore black arm-bands. Jones’s parents appeared on the field before the match to accept the crowd’s applause.
Just this one time, I’m pleased to report that Liverpool, with Israeli star Yossi Benayoun pulling the strings, crushed Toulouse 4-0 to advance to the next stage of the Champions League

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