Continuing the series where I look back at my five favourite wins the Liverpool’s next opponents. This weekend Liverpool travel to The Emirates Stadium to meet top of the table, Arsenal and here are my five favourite wins from past League encounters
10th September 1983
ARSENAL (0) 0
LIVERPOOL (1) 2 (Johnston 17, Dalglish 67)
ARSENAL: Jennings; Robson, O’Leary, Hill, Sansom; Davis, Talbot, Rix; Nicholas, Sunderland, Woodcock
LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar; Neal, Lawrenson, Hansen, Kennedy; Lee, Souness, Johnston; Rush, Robinson, Dalglish
This was Liverpool’s first season after the retirement of Bob Paisley. They were defending Champions and unbeaten at the start of the season when they visited Highbury in September, although they hadn’t score more than once in their 4 matches to date. Arsenal had splashed the cash on the goalscoring sensation from North of the Border, Charlie Nicholas but despite winning their opening two games they’d just lost to both Southampton and Manchester United. In the Liverpool side was new signing, Michael Robinson still looking for his first goal for his new club.
This game really showed which side was more settled as Liverpool confidently passed Arsenal off the pitch. One such move lead to the opening goal. Whelan intercepted the ball just inside the Arsenal half as Sunderland had overrun it, and he made progress towards the Arsenal goal. As runners came from all directions the Arsenal defence was pulled apart. Whelan chose Dalglish, who’d taken up a good position wide on the right. Dalglish turned inside and played it to Rush on the edge of the area, but his shot was deflected and it fell to Robinson. The former Brighton striker looked as if he might score as he chested it down and volleyed straight at Jennings, who could only parry the ball to Johnson, who finished off the move for a 1-0 lead to the visitors.
In the second half Liverpool extended their lead with a goal voted goal of the month. This particularly emphasised their passing dominance. The move began on the left as Hansen found Rush in the left-wing position. He turned back inside and then spread the play out to the other flank where Sammy Lee was unmarked. Lee then played the ball to Dalglish on the edge of the area, who knocked it back to Lee. This was the cue for Robinson to make his run to the right of the box, taking Robson with him. As Robinson got to the ball he back-heeled it to Dalglish. Dalglish turned back to his left foot and then curled a great shot wide of Jennings right hand into the top corner of the net.
It was a great move and Robinson could be pleased with his contribution, although it would take him 9 games before he got his first goal for Liverpool. Liverpool went onto retain their League title with Southampton finishing second. Arsenal finished in 6th. Liverpool also retained their League Cup title as well as winning their 4th European Cup. Not a bad first season in charge for Joe Fagan.
15th August 1987
ARSENAL (1) 1 (Davis 17)
LIVERPOOL (1) 2 (Aldridge 9, Nicol 88)
ARSENAL: Lukic; Thomas, O’Leary, Adams, Sansom; Rocastle (Groves), Williams, Davis; Nicholas, Smith, Hayes
LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar; Nicol, Gillespie, Hansen, Venison; Johnston, McMahon, Whelan; Beardsley (Walsh), Aldridge, Barnes
The opening game of the 1987-88 season saw Liverpool travel to Highbury to meet the team which had beaten them in the previous season’s League Cup Final. Liverpool had finished 2nd in the league that year with Arsenal 4th. After Liverpool had lead the table up to March only to lose the title to Everton, manager Kenny Dalglish decided changes were needed. He entered the transfer market and bought John Barnes and Peter Beardsley, who made their debuts in this match.
Early in the game Beardsley and Barnes combined on the left where Barnes cross was headed in by Aldridge for the opening goal of the season. Within ten minutes the home side had levelled things up. Charlie Nicholas, with some good work on the left wing, sent in a right-foot cross for Alan Smith to nod down and Paul Davis was on hand to head the ball past Grobbelaar. Both teams were fairly well matched but Liverpool weren’t prepared to settle for a point and with just two minutes remaining on the clock they had a free-kick down on the left-wing. John Barnes floated the ball in and it was only partly cleared before Steve Nicol headed the ball in past Lukic for the winning goal.
Arsenal needed have felt too disappointed by the defeat as it wouldn’t be until the end of March before Liverpool finally lost a league match. Liverpool won the league by 9pts. Arsenal finished 6th in the table, 24pts behind the Champions.
24th March 1997
ARSENAL (0) 1 (Wright 78)
LIVERPOOL (0) 2 (Collymore 51, McAteer 65)
ARSENAL: Seaman; Dixon (Parlour), Keown, Adams, Marshall (Garde), Winterburn; Platt, Vieira, Hughes (Shaw); Bergkamp, I. Wright
LIVERPOOL: James; McAteer, Kvarme, M. Wright, Harkness, Bjornebye; McManaman, Redknapp, Barnes; Fowler (Thomas), Collymore
A Monday night in March and the season was hotting up. Liverpool were in second with Arsenal in third and both sides on the same points separated by 1 goal. Manchester United were 6pts clear having won at the weekend.
This game will forever be remembered for one moment during the second half. It was the Fowler penalty incident. After a goalless first half it was the visitors who broke the deadlock soon after the break.. Bjornebye’s fierce shot was saved by Seaman, but the Arsenal keeper failed to hold onto it and Collymore arrived to slot the ball home. But the game’s seminal moment came midway through the half.
Mark Wright played a long ball from the back and Robbie Fowler was clear of the defence. As he reached the area, David Seaman had come off his line and Fowler was there just in time to push the ball past his right hand. Fowler jumped over Seaman’s outstretched arm but went to ground as the ball ran out for a goal-kick. Referee Gerald Ashby had no hesitation in pointing to the spot for a penalty. Seaman seemed incensed but it was Fowler’s actions which caught the eye. He was signalling to Ashby that the referee had got it wrong. Replays showed there hadn’t been any contact although it appeared Fowler had been expecting it but he certainly didn’t make a claim for a foul. Ashby even walked past Fowler as he went to take up his position for the kick with the Liverpool striker still protesting Seaman’s innocence, to no avail.
The next irony was that it would Fowler himself, who would take the penalty. He stepped up and put it low to Seaman’s left but the kick was weak and parried away only for Jason McAteer to be first on the scene and he put the rebound away to extend Liverpool’s the lead. It seemed a rare act of sportsmanship within an increasingly cynical sport and Fowler was to be congratulated for it. Whether he made a genuine attempt to score the penalty he felt he didn’t deserve, is a matter for debate but McAteer certainly wasn’t having any feelings of sentiment. Fowler would later deny he tried to miss the penalty but word of his honesty soon travelled round the world and he won UEFA’s Fair Play award for his actions.
Ian Wright clipped the ball over David James after a Bergkamp header to give Arsenal some hope with 12 minutes to go, but Liverpool were able to repel the onslaught to give themselves a precious win. They were only able to win 3 further matches that season to finish 4th as Newcastle, Arsenal and Liverpool all finished on 68pts, 7 behind United.
30th November 1997
ARSENAL (0) 0
LIVERPOOL (0) 1 (McManaman 55)
ARSENAL: Seaman; Dixon, Keown, Adams, Winterburn; Platt, Petit (Grimandi), Hughes (Wreh), Overmars; Wright, Bergkamp
LIVERPOOL: James; McAteer, Kvarme, Matteo, Carragher, Bjornebye; McManaman, Leonhardsen, Redknapp; Riedle, Owen (Murphy)
When these two met in November, Liverpool were in considerably worse shape than they had been in March. Back in 9th they just been humiliated by Barnsley at Anfield the previous week, and had just one win away from home all season. Arsenal were unbeaten at home, sitting in 5th place 4pts behind the leaders, Manchester United.
Arsenal dominated the early stages and even Tony Adams managed to get forward to show a decent bit of skill by bringing the ball down on his chest but then hitting his fierce shot straight at James. Bergkamp began to pull the strings and he put Overmars away on the right but his cross was blasted over by Stephen Hughes. Hughes then had another chance soon after as Adams won a header in the area but the young midfielder couldn’t convert the chance. Arsenal certainly deserved to be in front at the break but had been far too profligate. In the second period Overmars brought out a good save from James. Hughes again had a chance in the area as the ball failed to run for him and he scuffed his shot wide.
Ten minutes into the second half saw Bjornebye take a throw-in on the left wing for Liverpool and he found McManaman, who’d been given far too much room on the edge of the area. As the ball bounced McManaman hit it first time right-footed and it looped over Seaman for a terrific goal. Arsenal had, had the better of the chances but they were paying for their carelessness. Riedle and Leonhardsen both went close soon after as Liverpool were galvanised by their lead.
In the end McManaman’s goal was worthy of the win as Arsenal suffered their 2nd defeat in a week, their 3rd in 4 matches. Liverpool were now up to 7th. In the end the result did Arsenal no harm as they won the title with Liverpool finishing in 3rd place.
20th August 2011
ARSENAL (0) 0
LIVERPOOL (0) 2 (Ramsey og 78, Suarez 90)
ARSENAL: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Koscielny (Ignasi), Vermaelen, Sagna; Walcott (Bendtner), Nasri, Frimpong, Ramsey; van Persie, Arshavin (Lansbury)
LIVERPOOL: Reina; Kelly, Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Henderson, Lucas, Adam, Downing; Kuyt (Meireles), Carroll (Suarez)
Second weekend of the season after both clubs had drawn their opening fixtures. Arsene Wenger handed debuts to Jenkinson and Frimpong and within 15 minutes he was adding a third to Ignasi who came on for Koscielny who injured his back. It wasn’t an auspicious outing for Frimpong as a clumsy challenge on Agger and then some boorishness in impeding a throw saw him shown a yellow card and then his lunge on Lucas in the second half was enough to earn a straight red. Kenny Dalglish immediately brought on Suarez and Meireles and they both had a hand in the destination of the points. As the final ten minutes loomed Liverpool attacked and Suarez was making a nuisance of himself in the area, forcing Ingasi into a desperate clearance which hit Aaron Ramsey and bounced over the keeper to give the visitors the lead. Then in the 90th minute Meireles was in on the right hand side of the area and as Szczesny came out, he squared the ball for Suarez to tuck it away and Liverpool had made the win certain. It was their first win at Arsenal since February 2000 and their first ever at The Emirates.
Arsenal finished 3rd in the table behind both Manchester clubs and Liverpool finished 8th in the League but won yet another League Cup and were beaten FA Cup Finalists.
HEAD TO HEAD at Arsenal
Liverpool win: 21
Arsenal win: 41
Liverpool goals: 84
Arsenal goals: 136