It very rare for a player to move directly from one rival club to another, especially those in the same city.
The rivalry between Liverpool and Everton has always been marked by intense passion and unwavering loyalty from their respective fan bases. However, there nonetheless still exists a select group who have dared to traverse Stanley Park, etching their names in the annals of Merseyside football folklore.
The historical narrative of players representing both sides dates back several decades, with a handful of footballers leaving an indelible mark on both clubs. The likes of Peter Beardsley, a revered figure for both Everton and Liverpool, showcased his exceptional talent donning both jerseys during his illustrious career.
Gary Ablett, too, made an impactful transition, being a part of the rare breed to win the league championship with both Merseyside clubs.
Now, with Fabio Carvalho recalled from his loan at RB Leipzig and looking for a new club, cross-city rivals Everton have reportedly expressed an interest in his services. Could he be the next to make an unlikely switch?
A select group of players
Incredibly, during the history of the two clubs, only 29 players have moved between Liverpool and Everton. Twenty of them moved from Everton to Liverpool, while nine moved in the opposite direction.
That said, the vast majority of these took place in the late 19th century and before the two World Wars.
The early 1980s saw three players join the Toffees from the Reds in relatively quick succession.
The first player to move in what can be called the 'modern era' of football was Kevin Sheedy. Having made a minimal contribution at Anfield, he moved to Goodison Park in May 1982 for £100,000 and went on to be part of Everton's title winning teams in 1985 and 1987.
He also won the 1985 the European Cup Winners' Cup, scoring in the final itself.
He was followed through the door at Everton three months later by David Johnson, also for £100,000, who returned the club he started out as a kid.
Johnson is remembered fondly at Anfield despite often playing second fiddle first to Kevin Keegan, then Ian Rush. He didn't fare much better on his return to Everton and only lasted two years there. Despite this, he is only one of two players to score for both clubs in the Merseyside derby (the other is the aforementioned Beardsley).
The following summer, Alan Harper, who never made an appearance for Liverpool, made the same move for the same fee. He went on to become a key figure for Everton during much of the 80s.
The last player to move from the Reds to the Toffees was defender Ablett way back in January 1992, with Beardsley taking the same career path the summer before.
In the last 30 years, only two players have switched between the clubs. However, both moved in the other direction, from Goodison Park to Anfield.
It's the Merseyside derby
The last player to transfer between the two clubs was Abel Xavier way back in 2002 when he was signed from Everton by Liverpool
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Nick Barmby crossed the divide in July 2000 and played a key role in the Reds' treble-winning season in 2000/01.
Meanwhile, Abel Xavier was the last player to transfer directly between the clubs when he left Everton for Liverpool in January 2002.
The former Portugal international is, remarkably, the only to play in both Merseyside derbies for different teams in the same season.
Defender Conor Cody has also played for both rivals since – but signed for Everton in 2022, almost ten years on from his sole Premier League outing for Liverpool.