Continuing the series where I look back at my five favourite wins by Liverpool against their upcoming opponents. This weekend Liverpool play against newly promoted Crystal Palace at Anfield. A big day in the Spencer household as Mrs Pete supports Palace. Here are my five favourite wins from past encounters.
15th December 1979
LIVERPOOL (1) 3 (Case 44, Dalglish 48, McDermott 67)
CRYSTAL PALACE (0) 0
LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Neal, Thompson, Hansen, A. Kennedy; Case, McDermott, Souness, R. Kennedy; Johnson, Dalglish
C.PALACE: Burridge; Hinshelwood, Cannon, Gilbert, Sansom; Francis, Nicholas, Murphy, Hilaire; Walsh, Swindlehurst
1978-79 was a record breaking League season and in the following one they were again the team to beat. By the time Palace arrived at Anfield Liverpool were unbeaten in their last 11 matches. Only Everton had been able to take any points off them at home and only two sides had ever scored against them. Crystal Palace, managed by Terry Venables, were ‘the team of the Eighties’ and were unbeaten and top of the table at the end of September, but their form had dipped slightly winning just 3 of their previous 11 games. They were to get an education at Anfield.
Liverpool were all over the visitors in the first half with Jimmy Case especially prominent. He was one of several players who forced John Burridge into some fine saves in the Palace goal. As the half came to a close Palace had a free-kick on the right wing but Hilaire gave the ball away and Liverpool swept forward with precision. Eventually Palace looked to have thwarted the attack when Souness found Johnson out wide on the right. He switched to his left foot and crossed the ball in where Jimmy Case rose highest to head the ball into the top left hand corner of Burridge’s net. It was a good firm header from Case who virtually had his back to goal. Liverpool went into the break 1-0 up.
The second half was only minutes old when Liverpool’s pressing forced Palace into mistakes and Sansom was put under pressure in his own area leading to a corner. Francis frantic clearance from the six-yard box bounced out to Hansen 30 yards out. The young Scottish defender looped a header back into the area where Cannon failed to clear. The ball eventually dropped to Dalglish who still had three Palace defenders around him. As he seemed to turn away from goal, Dalglish brilliantly chipped the ball left-footed and it looped expertly over Burridge for the second goal of the game. Commentator Gerald Sindstadt called it a ‘mixture of cheek and genius’ and The Kop was getting used to this sort of thing.
As the half went on it became a bit of an exhibition match as Liverpool were given far too much room in midfield. One pacy move saw Dalglish put Johnson away and as he centred McDermott had made a characteristic late move into the box only to be denied by the keeper. Then at the halfway stage of the second half, Souness intercepted a loose pass in his own half, looked up and found Ray Kennedy in acres of space on the left. He played the ball in front of him to run onto and Kennedy had one touch, looked up and there again was McDermott busting a gut to get into the area. McDermott just managed to get there ahead of David Johnson to score Liverpool’s third goal as Palace just stood and watched.
Liverpool were comfortable winners and went onto retain their league title with Crystal Palace finishing in 13th having had a difficult second half of the season where they really struggled in front of goal.
16th August 1980
LIVERPOOL (2) 3 (Dalglish 25, R. Kennedy 32, A. Kennedy 83)
CRYSTAL PALACE (0) 0
LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Neal, Thompson, Hansen, A. Kennedy; Case, McDermott, Souness, R. Kennedy; Johnson, Dalglish (Fairclough)
C.PALACE: Barron; Hinshelwood, Cannon, Gilbert, Fenwick (Murphy); Smillie, Francis, Nicholas; Flanagan, Allen, Hilaire
The opening game of the season and Liverpool had just won the Charity Shield when Terry McDermott’s goal beat West Ham. Crystal Palace had performed impressively in their first season under Terry Venables in the First Division, when they ended 13th. They had lead the table for the one and only occasion in their history, but this second season was going to see things horribly unravel.
Remarkable as it may seem today but Liverpool were unchanged from when Palace visited the previous December. Palace were still managed by Terry Venables, although by Christmas he would be off to QPR. Liverpool were at the visitors from the off and new keeper, Paul Barron, had plenty of saves to make as Kennedy and McDermott both went close. At the other end Francis somehow shot over the bar when it seemed easier to put the ball in the net. Barron was called upon again as he saved a Dalglish header from close range for which he received warm applause from the home crowd.
On 25 minutes Case played the ball back to Neal on the right, who swung a cross into the far post where Dalglish bravely headed the ball in under the challenge of Jim Cannon. Seven minutes later came a typically classy goal from Ray Kennedy. Again the move started on the right with Case who played it inside past Johnson for Kennedy to anticipate first and his first touch took out the whole defence and he finished with great panache to give Liverpool a 2-goal advantage.
Palace had their chances as new-boy Clive Allen and Mike Flanagan both had chances and Vince Hilaire showed glimpses of his talent. In the second half, as with the previous season, it was all too easy for the home side as Barron was continually called upon to keep the visitors only 2 goals down. As the game went into the final 10 minutes Liverpool attacked down the left. Alan Kennedy joined the attack as he pounced on a loose ball and beating two tackles in a run reminiscent of his goal in Paris 9 months later, he eventually got into the area and thumped the ball into the roof of the net.
This wasn’t a good season in the league for Liverpool as they finished 5th but they won their 3rd European Cup when they beat Real Madrid 1-0 in Paris, and their first ever League Cup beating West Ham in a replay. It was a disastrous season for Palace as their dream completely fell apart with Venables going to QPR and taking half the team with him, they eventually finished rock-bottom with just 19pts to their name. It would be 9 years before they returned.
12th September 1989
LIVERPOOL (3) 9 (Nicol 7, 90, McMahon 15, Rush 45, Gillespie 56, Beardsley 61, Aldridge pen 67, Barnes 79, Hysen 82)
CRYSTAL PALACE (0) 0
LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar; Hysen, Gillespie, Hansen, Burrows; Nicol, McMahon (Molby), Whelan; Beardsley (Aldridge), Rush, Barnes
C.PALACE: Suckling; Pemberton, O’Reilly, Hopkins, Burke; Thomas, McGoldrick, Pardew, Gray; Bright, Wright
What can you say about this match? The margin of victory equalled Liverpool’s greatest ever, alongside a 10-1 victory over Rotherham in the Second Division in 1896. Liverpool had begun with 2 wins and 2 draws to open the season, conceding just twice. Palace, once again, newly promoted, had won just 1 of their first 4 matches. On a Tuesday evening in September this match would also represent the last appearance in a Liverpool shirt of John Aldridge, although he started on the bench.
In the 7th minute John Barnes attacked down the left and his right-foot shot was blocked, as the ball fell to Ronnie Whelan on the edge of the area, he feigned to shoot then knocked it to his right where Steve Nicol had been ignored by the defence and he precise left foot shot went into the top corner of Suckling’s goal. 15 minutes in and Nicol turned provider this time as his through-ball from his own half found McMahon in plenty of room and as he reached the edge of the area he cheekily chipped Suckling for the second goal. Palace were shell-shocked but managed to hold on to a 2-goal deficit until just before half-time when Barnes picked the ball up in the inside-right position. He twisted and turned and then played a right-foot pass to try and play in Rush. McMahon reached it first and knocked it square where Beardsley was able to join the attack and as he took the ball into the area he drew the defender, dummied to his left and as he came under another challenge the ball ran free where Rush was still waiting and he coolly passed the ball into the net for a 3-0 lead at the break.
Liverpool had been at their most fluent and dominant yet few in the ground really dreamed of what was to come during the second half. 10 minutes into the half and Beardsley took a corner on the right and chipped it to the near post where Barnes headed it on and Gary Gillespie got his head first to the ball and headed it in for goal number 4. Within 5 minutes Liverpool had a free-kick just inside the visitors half and Whelan took it quickly where Beardsley came to meet it and cleverly played a one-two with Rush to get ahead of the defence and as he was 10 yards from goal he rifled a shot into the roof of the net for a stunning finish fitting of the man. 6 minutes later and Barnes played Whelan in and as he reached the area Gary O’Reilly chopped him down for a penalty kick. With Liverpool 5 goals to the good, manager Kenny Dalglish decided it was time to give Aldridge his curtain-call as he replaced Beardsley. So on sprinted the Spain-bound Aldridge and his first touch was to take the penalty. He sent Suckling the wrong way for his 50th league goal in just 83 appearances.
Crystal Palace then at last had something to cheer about as a rash challenge from Hysen brought down Alan Pardew. Geoff Thomas stepped up and left-footed ballooned the ball over the bar into the delighted home crowd. Liverpool weren’t finished there and as the game reached the final 10 minutes they had a free-kick on the edge of the area. With customary nonchalance Barnes took one step and curled the ball expertly over the wall and past Suckling’s left hand for goal number 7. Three minutes later and Barnes was again involved as his corner was met by Hysen’s bullet header and it was 8-0. Then as the clock ticked round to 90 minutes Liverpool came forward yet again and Rush played Burrows in down the left and his square pass was missed by both Hopkins and Aldridge and there was Stevie Nicol at the back post to complete the rout. Nicol opened and closed the scoring for the night and Liverpool had capped a memorable performance. All was left was for John Aldridge to run to the Kop and throw his shirt and his boots into the crowd and then make his was to Real Sociedad.
As well as Liverpool biggest win in the top flight, it was also Palace’s heaviest defeat and the only time in English club history in which 8 different players scored in the same game for the same club.
Liverpool won the League by 9pts and Palace finished down in 15th.
28th November 1992
LIVERPOOL (3) 5 (McManaman 6, 19 Marsh 9, Rosenthal 61, Hutchison 76)
CRYSTAL PALACE (0) 0
LIVERPOOL: Hooper; Jones, Nicol, Piechnik, Burrows; McManaman, Marsh, Hutchison, Redknapp; Rosenthal (Stewart), Barnes
CRYSTAL PALACE: Martyn; Humphrey, Young, Southgate, Shaw; Thorn, Osborn, Williams (Coleman), McGoldrick; Armstrong, Sinnott (Ndah)
Liverpool in the first Premiership season were a frustrating proposition. They won just once in their first 6 matches andhad already been beating twice at home by the time Palace arrived at the end of November. But their current run at that stage of the season was 4 wins from their last 6 including 4-1 wins over Norwich and Middlesbrough. Palace’s form was far worse as they’d only won 1 game all season, away to Everton, yet had drawn 9 and were sitting 2nd from bottom.
Liverpool welcomed back John Barnes for his first start after 6 months out through injury and his influence was crucial. He’d come on as a substitute in the week and turned the game against QPR and at Anfield he seemed to be making up for lost time. Such had been Barnes injuries over this period in his career he had missed 71 of the past 88 games his club had played. But Liverpool were hopeful of turning a corner now he was fit again. It took just 6 minutes for his presence to be felt as he teased and turned three Palace defenders on the right-hand edge of the area, creating space for a cross which Steve McManaman headed in unchallenged.
Barely three minutes later and Barnes was charging at the Palace midfield from his own half and eventually found Mike Marsh who hit a right-foot chip shot from 25 yards to beat Nigel Martyn in the Palace goal. 10 minutes later and Liverpool were rampant as Barnes again combined with Redknapp and McManaman to force Richard Shaw into an error when he tried to head back to Martyn and McManaman stole in and slotted the ball home for a 3-0 lead. Barnes could’ve gone off at that point and he still would’ve been the difference between the two sides. Martyn had to make several more saves before the half ended.
In the second half, Palace started brightly and McGoldrick went close but then another error saw McManaman make progress down the right and as he got to the bye-line he crossed for Ronnie Rosenthal to volley home. Don Hutchison had spurned several chances but with 15 minutes to go, was played in by Marsh and this time he made no mistake. Liverpool were thoroughly dominant and although Palace had certainly contributed to their own downfall, it was Barnes who received all the plaudits. Palace returned to Anfield three days later for a League Cup tie which they drew and then had the last laugh by winning the replay.
Liverpool ended the season in 6th as Manchester United ended their 25 year search for the title. Crystal Palace ended the season relegated again, although only by 2 goals as Oldham managed to escape the drop on a dramatic final day.
13th November 2004
LIVERPOOL (2) 3 (Baros pen 23, 45, pen 90)
CRYSTAL PALACE (1) 2 (Kolkka 44, Hughes 52)
LIVERPOOL: Kirkland; Josemi (Mellor), Hyypia, Carragher, Traore; Garcia, Hamann, Alonso, Riise (Finnan); Baros (Sinama-Pongolle), Kewell
C.PALACE: Kiraly; Leigertwood, Popovic, Boyce, Granville; Routledge (Lakis), Watson, Rihilahti (Soares), Hughes; Kolkka, Freedman
In Rafa Benitez first season in charge newly promoted Palace arrived having lost 5 of their first 6 fixtures. Iain Dowie’s men had turned things around slightly as they had been beaten once in their previous 6 coming into this game. One of their wins was over Birmingham who’d recently come to Anfield and won just a week before, leaving Liverpool in 8th after 11 matches.
The Liverpool side included three new Spanish players as Benitez attempted to bring a more Mediterranean feel to the side and Luis Garcia and Xabi Alonso were heavily involved in the early action. At one point in the early stages even Jamie Carragher got forward to have a go but was denied by Leigertwood. The young Palace defender, 22 the day before this game, was making his first visit to Anfield and on 23 minutes was involved again as his clumsy challenge on Milan Baros gave Liverpool a penalty. Baros, returning from injury, picked himself up, dusted himself down and sent Kiraly the wrong way.
Within minutes Baros was through again and this time took on Emerson Boyce who appeared to push him over in the area but this time Phil Dowd was having none of it. On reflection Baros seemed to go down a little too easy and may have stood a better chance if he’d stayed on his feet. Liverpool were having their best spell of the game but unable to convert possession and pressure into clear-cut chances. Then as the half-time pies were just coming out of the microwave, Kewell’s pass was intercepted by Popovic who scooped the ball forward over the head of Josemi for Kolkka to run onto. As the ball bounced into the area, from a tight angle Kolkka thumped the ball past Kirkland. Within 60 seconds Kolkka was again in the action as he was booked for a lunge on Baros near the halfway line. Alonso took the free-kick and floated it over the left back for Kewell to square the ball where Baros was first to the ball to bundle it over the line and Liverpool went into the break 2-1 up.
Baros had a couple of chances soon after the break as he was a constant threat all day, running, hassling, and generally making a nuisance of himself. The top scorer at Euro 2004 seemed to have found his feet at Liverpool at last. But despite the pressure they couldn’t add to their tally and it was quite a surprise when Kolkka’s cross from the left wing was headed in by Michael Hughes to level things up. Riise then had a couple of good efforts from outside the area but both went just over. As Liverpool pressed for a winner Hamann stole possession in midfield, sent Kewell away and the Australian waited for Baros to make his run before placing the ball perfectly ahead of him. As Baros went into the area he invited the challenge from Popovic and down went Baros for the second penalty of the afternoon. Again Baros got up to take it and again scored to complete his hat-trick. Baros became the first Liverpool player to score a hat-trick against Palace and those were the only penalties he ever scored for the club. He was on fire at the start of the season with 11 goals in the first four months. Liverpool won 3-2 to move up to 6th. They ended the season in 5th but of course qualified for the Champions League after their astonishing win in Istanbul over Milan in the Final at the end of this season. Palace’s season again ended in relegation.
HEAD TO HEAD at Anfield
Liverpool win: 12
C.Palace win: 2
Liverpool goals: 45
C.Palace goals: 10