Despite losing to Arsenal, how did Everton help Liverpool into the Champions League?

Despite losing to Arsenal, how did Everton help Liverpool into the Champions League?

Believe it or not, Blues fans, but your team played a part.

Oliver Emmerson

There were many jokes shared on Merseyside this week about how Ronaldo Koeman was planning to field Everton's youth side as they prepared to travel to Arsenal on Sunday

The reason for that, of course, was that as the final day of the season approached, the Toffees knew that Arsenal were the only team that could deny their bitter rivals Liverpool a Champions League place, should the Reds drop points at home to Middlesbrough

Liverpool fans had reason to be worried, having not forgotten three years ago, as Everton were deemed to have put in a lax performance at Goodison Park, losing 3-2 to Liverpool's then title rivals Manchester City.

It didn't matter in the end though, with Jürgen Klopp's men securing a 3-0 win against Boro to finish fourth ahead of the Gunners. 

Liverpool had to win as Everton did, as was expected, lose to Arsenal. The Gunners went ahead early and extended their lead despite being reduced to 10 men, Romelu Lukaku's penalty getting Ronald Koeman's side back into it before Aaron Ramsey's late goal made it 3-1 Arsenal.

However, despite being beaten on the last day, events during a one-week period earlier in the season certainly helped Liverpool beat Arsenal to fourth thanks to some help from their rivals. 

Who helped? Well, he's captain of Wales...

The date was Tuesday December 13. Liverpool trailed Arsenal by three points in the table, and the Gunners had the chance to go top of the tree if they could manage a win at Goodison Park. 

Alexis Sanchez was determined to see his side do just that, firing in a 20th minute opener. 

However, Everton - who had started the season well under Koeman - weren't in the mood to disappoint their home fans, levelling up through Seamus Coleman

The game looked like it was drifting to an even conclusion, only for boyhood Liverpool supporter Ashley Williams to pop up with a winner in the 86th minute, sending the home crowd wild. 

Keeping Arsenal out in a hectic few minutes, Everton took the three points and Liverpool thanked them a day later, beating Middlesbrough 3-0 to move above Arsenal. 

Days later, Derby madness

Whilst that win against Arsenal was the one that Blues will remember for the right reasons, six days later they were left with a sour taste in their mouth as Liverpool rocked up for the Merseyside derby.

Billed as a game where Everton felt they could finally achieve a league win against Liverpool after years without one, the Reds came into it having seen Arsenal drop points again in the days prior. 

Another Goodison game that looked to be heading towards a draw, the two sides cancelled each other out until stoppage time, when two Liverpool players intervened. 

Daniel Sturridge thought he'd scored as a pea-roller of a strike from the edge of the box headed for the corner, only to strike the post, bouncing back out.

Sadio Mane was quickest to react though, jumping ahead of the Everton defence to poke home. 

Liverpool jumped to second, three ahead of Arsenal. The gap was one at the end of the season.

Reason to fume, Toffees fans?

Not really, no. 

Most Everton fans will tell you that, although the ribbing is what makes Merseyside, Merseyside, they won't be too bothered about what went on six months ago.

Still, when looking back on the season as a whole, Liverpool will be able to reflect on a very sweet and very important week in November.