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Eighties epics a distant memory

IT is chastening to think that 30 years ago the Merseyside derby was about deciding championships and not just bragging rights.

I watched the derby yesterday and felt a bit hollow. There was nothing at stake other than local pride and very few players on show that would inspire confidence that either Liverpool or Everton have a platform to move on to better things in the coming seasons.

Certainly, in Everton's case, it's more like the end of something where David Moyes is concerned; the best he could do after many years trying and with very little money to use.

He may choose to stay at Goodison Park for a while longer, but Moyes knows he will win nothing significant with Everton and must move if he has ambitions to be more than a manager everyone admires, but who wins nothing.

The worry for me is that Brendan Rodgers is in the same position. It is very difficult to see how Liverpool can catch up on Manchester United or Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs.

Alex Ferguson said during the week that he would only 'tweak' his team during the summer but that could mean a £40million investment in Robert Lewandowski and maybe £15m for James McCarthy if the rumours are true.


Manchester City will think nothing of dropping over £100m if they want to and likewise Chelsea. Even Arsene Wenger is talking about Arsenal being in a strong financial position.

I don't know whether Henry has the kind of money available to make a real impact at the top of the Premier League but it's very simple – if he doesn't, next season's derby games will be equally toothless.

Rodgers spoke about his group of players as the foundation for the future and if he means it, there is very little reason for optimism.

It's been some time since Liverpool created headlines for the right reasons. The two Cup finals last season brought the good times back briefly, but it didn't take long for controversy to reassert itself.

These days, Luis Suarez is supplying the bullets for Liverpool's critics and the club chipped in a with a few rounds of its own by bungling the response to his sins.

It was very obvious in yesterday's derby game why it is so important to everyone at Anfield that Suarez is kept in cotton-wool.

Suarez seems to want to stay and I'm sure Rodgers, John Henry and all concerned heaved a big sigh of relief when they read his latest comments.

Well Rodgers and the fans at least.

I'm not sure how Henry and his partners will react if Real Madrid or Bayern Munich drop £50m on the table. Put it this way, it's three months to August and a lot can happen in football in three months.