Players Who Played for Liverpool and Everton

Liverpool FC was founded in 1892, with Everton having its roots a little further back in 1878. That means the two rivals have co-existed for well over 130 years, and given the origins of Liverpool – the club was founded following a dispute over the rent paid by Everton – it is safe to say that rivalry has always had a little bit of spice, right from day one.

The Merseyside derby was known as the “friendly derby” for many years, with the fact that the two grounds are so geographically close meaning that allegiances were often divided even within the same family. The rivalry is perhaps not as friendly as it once was, even if the two clubs still come together on issues that really matter, such as Hillsborough, food banks, and other social issues. But it is still far more civil than, for example, the bitter, hate-fuelled rivalry between Celtic and Rangers.

No matter how cordial, or otherwise, Liverpool versus Everton games are, it has always been, and remains, a big deal when one player switches from red to blue, or vice versa. The controversy is greater still if a player should move directly between the two Merseyside rivals. Nonetheless, over the years, many players have represented both clubs.

In fact, this is pretty much as old as Liverpool FC itself, with two Everton players moving to join Liverpool when they were first set up in the 19th century. In 1892, Toffees Duncan McLean and Tom Wylie were the only two first-team players to opt to stay at Anfield, which had originally been Everton’s home. Those two Scottish footballers will be familiar names only to the most committed of football historians. However, let’s take a look at some of the very biggest names to have turned out in both the red of Liverpool and the blue of the Toffees.

Gary Ablett

Gary Ablett
Gary Ablett (Photo thanks to

The late Gary Ablett, who sadly died in 2012 aged just 46, is one of a select band of players to have represented both clubs more than 100 times. He played 109 league games for the Reds (147 matches in all competitions) and 128 for the Toffees, switching to Goodison for a fee of £750,000 in 1992. He is in an even more select group – of just one – to have won the FA Cup with both teams.

Ablett, who was born about 20 miles from Liverpool, won the 1989 FA Cup with the Reds, a famous cup final that was also a Merseyside derby. Liverpool beat Everton 3-2 after extra time. In 1995, Ablett then also won the cup with the Toffees. He also earned wins in the Charity Shield, as the Community Shield was then known with both teams.

Peter Beardsley

Peter Beardsley
Peter Beardsley (Skippo10 |

Peter Beardsley was unstoppable on his day and his feet were as fast as his footballing brain. A brilliant, creative striker, he was the perfect number 10 to go alongside an out-and-out centre forward. He earned 59 caps for England, which is the same number of goals he scored for Liverpool (from 175 games). He also managed 32 for Everton, for whom he signed from Liverpool in 1991. He was 30 by that stage, but the Toffees got decent value for their £1m fee and he played almost 100 times for them.

Steve McMahon

Steve McMahon
Steve McMahon (petetambo |

For many, combative midfielder Steve McMahon was a Red through and through and, indeed, he played more than twice as many games for Liverpool than he did for Everton. However, whilst he captained both Liverpool and Everton, he began his career with the Toffees and was raised in an Everton-mad family. He played 119 times for the Blues, left to join Villa, then signed for Liverpool for a fee of £350,000 in 1985. He was Kenny Dalglish’s first signing and proved to be a bargain, playing 277 times for Liverpool and scoring an impressive 50 goals from what was often a defensive midfield role.

Nick Barmby

Nick Barmby
Nick Barmby (Mattythewhite |

Nick Barmby is another to have both played for England, and on both sides of Stanley Park. When he left Goodison in 2000 he became the first player to move directly from Everton to the Reds since Dave Hickson (see below) back in 1959. He played 121 times for Everton and 58 for Liverpool and was not a huge success at Anfield, although he was part of the 2001 treble-winning side under Gerard Houllier.

David Johnson

Striker David Johnson began his career with Everton in 1969, having been there as a youth since 1967. Born in Liverpool, he played just eight times for England but bagged six goals, his caps largely coming when he was a Red. He moved to Liverpool, via a spell with Ipswich, in 1976, for a club record sum of £200,00. It was money very well spent as he scored 78 goals in 213 games, winning four league titles and three European Cups at the club. He moved back to Everton in 1982 and in all played 92 games for the Toffees.

Dave Hickson

Dave Hickson
Dave Hickson (Photo thanks to

Dave Hickson was more of an Everton player, although he represented Tranmere as well as the Reds. The striker netted 38 goals in 67 games for Liverpool, signing from Everton in what was his second spell with the Blues. His physical approach and committed style of play made him popular with both sets of fans though and in total he 243 times for the Toffees, scoring 111 goals.

Other Players to Have Played for Both Clubs

Sander Westerveld
Sander Westerveld (David Sedlecký |

There are too many players who have worn both Liverpool red and Everton blue to list them all. However, the following is a further selection of some of the more recent footballers to have done so:

  • Sander Westerveld
  • Kevin Sheedy
  • Abel Xavier
  • David Burrows
  • Conor Coady
  • Don Hutchinson
  • Andy Lonergan (although he never played a single game for either, he was signed by both)
  • Alan Harper
  • Dave Watson (only ever played for Liverpool reserves)

What About Managers?

Rafa Benítez
Rafa Benítez ( |

Managing both Liverpool and Everton is far rarer and in modern times only one man has taken charge of the rivals. That, of course, is Rafa Benitez, who was in the Liverpool dugout for 350 games, winning several major honours including the 2004/05 Champions League. He was Everton boss for just 22 games and from a Liverpool perspective was almost successful in that he nearly managed to get the Blues relegated!

The only other person to manage on both sides of the park is also highly noteworthy, because he was both clubs’ first boss. William Edward Barclay managed the Toffees for 22 games in 1888 and 1889 (there was no official manager for the team’s earliest years), before helping establish Liverpool and becoming their first official manager (along with John McKenna) between 1892 and 1896.