On Saturday afternoon, Manchester United host Liverpool in what is always one of the biggest games on the English Premier League calendar. Over the years there have been some titanic tussles between the two, as we look back at five of the most memorable encounters from the past 25 years.
LIVERPOOL 2-0 MANCHESTER UNITED – 26th APRIL 1992
In the final season of the old English First Division, it seemed as if Manchester United would finally win the domestic league championship for the first time since 1967. The Red Devils looked to be odds on title contenders on all the betting exchanges by Christmas, but a dip in form in the New Year allowed Leeds United to chip away at their advantage. Going into the penultimate weekend of the season, both teams had tough away games – On the Sunday lunchtime, Leeds United won a gripping encounter against fellow Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United 3-2 which meant that United had to beat Liverpool later that same day to prevent the Elland Road club being crowned champions -Goals from Ian Rush and Mark Walters ended any hope Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had of being kings of England. A banner unveiled on the Kop at the end of the match simply read “You lost the title on Merseyside”
LIVERPOOL 3-3 MANCHESTER UNITED – 4th JANUARY 1994
Reigning champions Manchester United visited Anfield in what turned out to be a New Year cracker in 1994. Three goals up in 23 minutes thanks to Steve Bruce, Ryan Giggs and Denis Irwin, the visitors looked to be in total control but two quick goals from Nigel Clough got Liverpool back into the match before half-time. The home side laid siege to United’s goal in the second-half but big Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was in outstanding form. With 11 minutes remaining, central defender Neil Ruddock levelled for the home side to give them a share of the points in a breathless encounter.
MANCHESTER UNITED 1-0 LIVERPOOL – FA CUP FINAL, WEMBLEY 11th MAY 1996
Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering Red Devils were going for their second league and cup double in two years, only Liverpool now stood in their way as the two sides went head to head at Wembley in the FA Cup Final. In a game that will always be remembered for the outlandish cream suites the Liverpool players wore before kick-off, bad boy Eric Cantona (who had only started the season in the previous October after serving a nine-month ban for assaulting a supporter at Crystal Palace), rifled home a David Beckham corner to justify the pre-match football betting predictions and give United the “Double, Double”
MANCHESTER UNITED 2-1 LIVERPOOL – 24th JANUARY 1999
In a season that would ultimately end in treble triumph and in an eerie signpost towards what would happen in Barcelona four months later, Manchester United came back from the brink to beat their bitter rivals in an FA Cup Third-Round tie at Old Trafford. Michael Owen had given the visitors the lead as early as the third minute and seemed to have grabbed the games winning goal, before Dwight Yorke levelled things with just two minutes remaining. Then, with practically the last kick of the match, substitute Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (just like he would do in the Camp Nou in May), grabbed a winner for the home side to send the “Theatre of Dreams” delirious.
MANCHESTER UNITED 1-4 LIVERPOOL – 14th MARCH 2009
Having been beaten on their previous four visits to Old Trafford, Liverpool looked like they were going to be easily despatched once again when Cristiano Ronaldo gave the home side the lead from the penalty spot after 23 minutes. As the betting exchanges prepared themselves for the worst, Fernando Torres levelled for the visitors before a Steven Gerrard penalty put the Anfield club ahead on the stroke of half-time. After United had gone down to ten men following the dismissal of Serbian defender NemanjaVidic, goals from Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena gave Liverpool one of their most memorable wins in Manchester.
By Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)