Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has branded Everton as small-minded ahead of today's derby. In his newly-published autobiography 'Carra', Carragher risks an angry backlash at today's lunchtime kick-off by blaming Everton fans for mounting hostility between the rival factions and deriding the Goodison board as "small-minded" over their spat with Rafa Benitez last season.
"(Dave) Moyes is the person I have respected most at Everton," he said. "Without doubt, he is their best manager in 20 years, and the quip about Everton being the People's Club, on the day he took over, was genius. It wound up Liverpudlians but got Evertonians on his side, so fair play. Brilliant stuff.
"That's what it is all about in this city. If you can make your own fans proud of you and get your rivals' backs up at the same time, it's a classic double whammy.
"But when Rafa went for a bit of revenge and called them a small club, after they came to Anfield for a draw, how did they react? They put a statement on their official website, having a go back. How small-time can you get? It was embarrassing. At board level, you should show some dignity and rise above the banter.
"As someone who has been a Blue and a Red, I feel qualified to say where it all went wrong and I feel the responsibility lies mainly with the way Everton fans reacted to their barren spell. That, plus their treatment of Liverpool players who are my friends as well as teammates.
"It has added a sinister element to the traditional rivalry and led to a complete transformation in my loyalties, to the extent that I now hate losing to Everton more than any other side in the world.
"Hate would be too strong to describe my feelings towards them, but I do hate what their fans sing about Steven Gerrard and his family at every derby. It is personal, vindictive and disgusting and would be unacceptable in any form of life, let alone football.
"All players face flak from opposition fans, but when people start telling lies and repeat them in despicable chants, I am appalled.
"It has become a lot worse over the years and is a big reason why my relationship with Everton has turned sour. When you see your best mates being attacked unjustly, there is no way back."
He also wrote: "A Goodison persecution complex has developed and it's not just the players. There are plenty at Everton who have done their club no favours when talking about Liverpool and you really would expect their hierarchy to be more considered and careful with their remarks."