Continuing the series where I look back at my five favourite wins the Liverpool’s next opponents. This Boxing Day Liverpool travel to the Etihad to meet Manchester City and here are my five favourite wins from past encounters.
26th August 1978
MAN CITY (1) 1 (Kidd 23)
LIVERPOOL (2) 4 (Souness 15, 48, R.Kennedy 34, Dalglish 56)
MAN CITY: Corrigan; Clements, Booth, Futcher, Donachie; Keegan, Owen, Hartford, Power; Channon, Kidd
LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Neal, Thompson, Hughes, A.Kennedy; Case, McDermott, Souness, R.Kennedy; Dalglish, Heighway
Having retained the European Cup the season before, Liverpool were desperate to regain their League title this time round and had started with wins over QPR and Ipswich. City’s season had begun with two 1-1 draws against Derby and Arsenal.
This was to prove a magical season as this Liverpool moved up a gear and the purchase of Graeme Souness was proving to be a masterstroke. The Scot opened the scoring with a move very familiar to Reds fans. McDermott would get the ball just inside his own half on the right, he’d look up and both strikers either came deep or pushed wide, allowing one of the other midfielders to move into the space created. This time it was Souness who was able to run onto the ball and fire past Corrigan. It was a simple move, yet so effective. Trawl through youtube and you’ll find plenty of examples of this type of move, yet oppositions were just unable to cut it out. City weren’t undaunted and hit back 8 minutes later as Channon put Power through to beat the offside trap and as Clemence came out, he squared it for Kidd to equalise.
10 minutes later Liverpool restored their lead with another example of the pass-and-move play which tore sides apart. McDermott was again involved, just inside the City half on the right. He played a quick pass to Heighway, just outside him and then charged forward unnoticed by the home side. Heighway held the ball up, waited for McDermott to get into position and then found him with a simple ball forward. McDermott, on the edge of the area then played it square where Ray Kennedy was now the runner and he finished as calmly as Souness had. These days it would be said Liverpool were playing without a recognised striker as Dalglish played so deep, and in an age where sides were so rigid in their formation, City just didn’t know how to deal with it.
Much of Liverpool’s success was their ability to manoeuvre opponents around the pitch and soon after the break, Liverpool were at it again. Neal found Heighway wide on the right and as he knocked it back to Case, McDermott simply ran into the space created ahead of Heighway and he was able to cross into the area where Dalglish helped it on for Souness who fired in his second goal of the game. Clemence then pulled off a brilliant save after a Paul Futcher shot from 35 yards took a deflection and the England goalkeeper was at full stretch to push it onto the bar.
Soon after Liverpool had a 4th, as Alan Kennedy’s mishit pass found Dalglish in far too much space on the right of the area. He rounded Corrigan to slide the ball home for a 4-1 lead. At the time you could be forgiven that Liverpool could go on and rattle up a cricket score, but they actually took their foot off the gas and City came back into it. Channon went close on a couple of occasions but in the end Liverpool were easy winners.
Liverpool won the League, 8pts clear of Nottingham Forest. Manchester City ended down in 15th
27th October 1979
MAN CITY (0) 0
LIVERPOOL (2) 4 (Johnson 12, Dalglish 31, 67, R.Kennedy 86)
MAN CITY: Corrigan; Ranson, Futcher, Caton, Power; MacKenzie, Reid, Viljoen, Deyna; Bennett, Robinson
LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Neal, Thompson, Hansen, A.Kennedy; Case, Souness, R.Kennedy; Johnson, Dalglish, Heighway
Liverpool, defending champions, had only won once in 5 matches away from home by the time they had their trip to Maine Road. Man City had recovered from a really poor start of 3pts from their first 6 matches. They were now unbeaten in 6.
David Johnson opened the scoring after 12 minutes. This was his best season for goals as he hit 27 in all competitions. Just after the half hour, Kenny Dalglish put the visitors 2-goals up. Liverpool were dominant all over the park against a young Manchester City side managed by Malcolm Allison.
Allison had splashed the cash on several players yet they were given a real lesson here. It was barely a month after he broke the British transfer record on Steve Daley from Wolves, someone few had heard of. Daley wasn’t in the starting line-up for this game although he’d yet to influence them in a game. Two goals up at the break, Dalglish then scored his 2nd of the game midway through the second half. The scoring was rounded off by Ray Kennedy to give Liverpool a comprehensive 4-0 victory.
Liverpool moved up to 3rd in the table as City fell to 13th. Liverpool ended up winning the title for a second successive year.
10th April 1982
MAN CITY (0) 0
LIVERPOOL (2) 5 (Lee 8, Neal pen 42, Johnston 58, Kennedy 59, Rush 73)
MAN CITY: Corrigan; Ranson, Caton, Bond, McDonald; Ryan, Reid, Hartford, Wilson; Reeves, Kinsey
LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar; Neal, Thompson, Hansen, Kennedy; Johnston, Lee, Lawrenson, Whelan; Rush, Dalglish
When Liverpool turned up at Maine Road in the 1981-82 season they were in a rich vein of form and City were certainly not alone in being taken apart, as they were in the middle of an 11-game winning streak. This was a great week for Liverpool fans as they’d just been to Old Trafford and won by a Craig Johnston goal. At Maine Road three days later, they were soon into their stride as Sammy Lee gave them the lead inside the opening ten minutes with a brilliant free-kick. Liverpool could’ve been 3 or 4 up by half-time but it took a penalty from Phil Neal just before the break, to add to Lee’s opener.
Midway through the second half and Craig Johnston made it 3-0. At the start of the day, Liverpool were 2pts clear of Ipswich Town but the Suffolk club were losing 0-1 at Tottenham and with Liverpool now rampant at City, things were going as well as they could be. Within 60 seconds of Johnston’s goal, Alan Kennedy had made it 4-0. Kennedy had won the European Cup the previous season with his late goal against Real Madrid and he was very pleased to join in on the action. As the game moved into the final quarter of an hour, Ian Rush then completed the scoring with his 27th of the season.
This win gave Liverpool a 5pt lead at the top of the table and they maintained this lead all the way to May, winning the title by 4pts from Ipswich. They retained their League Cup title too. Manchester City finished 10th in the table.
2nd December 1989
MAN CITY (0) 1 (Allen pen, 59)
LIVERPOOL (1) 4 (Rush 9, 88, Beardsley 48, McMahon 58)
MAN CITY: Dibble; Seagraves, Hendry, Redmond, Taggart (Oldfield); Bishop, Brightwell, Lake; White, Allen, Morley
LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar; Hysen, Gillespie (Tanner), Staunton (Marsh), Ablett; Houghton, McMahon, Molby, Whelan; Rush, Beardsley
Liverpool were top of the table when they travelled to Maine Road in December 1989. Determined to avenge their narrow failure to win the title in the previous season, they’d begun with an 8-game unbeaten run. Since then they’d stuttered slightly, losing 4 out of their next 7 games, but this one would see a return to form. In contrast, Manchester City had won just 4 matches all season, losing 8 including an opening day defeat at Anfield. Mel Machin had recently been relieved of his managerial post and the team was under the joint care of Tony Book (yet again) and John Deehan.
Despite the absence of Barnes, Nicol and Hansen, Liverpool were first out of the blocks and soon in front. Beardsley started the move, then Rush put Molby through but Dibble blocked his shot just outside the area. The ball fell to Rush and he calmly put it in to open the scoring. City should’ve been level after 25 minutes when Lake dragged his shot wide when he really should’ve hit the target. The game was alive by now as both sides went at each other, but it was City who looked the more vulnerable. Staunton and Beardsley went close for the visitors and then just before half-time, Beardsley hit the post.
Early in the second half, Beardsley was to be denied no more as he ran at City from the inside-left position, beating Redmond and then finishing with a shot which flew past Dibble. Then as the hour arrived, Whelan pierced the home defence as he played a pinpoint pass to put McMahon through and he finished well to put the visitors 3-0 up. Virtually immediately, City went up the other end and forced the issue when Grobbelaar pulled down Morley and Clive Allen stepped up to beat him from the spot. Mike Marsh came on as Liverpool re-organised at the back and he almost scored as Lake managed to clear off the line. Rush then had a shot saved by Dibble, but was soon on the scoresheet again as McMahon, clean through, unselfishly gave him the ball and Rush wasn’t going to miss.
It was a long season for City who finally ended up in 14th just 5pts above the drop. Liverpool won the title by 9pts from Aston Villa.
5th October 2008
MAN CITY (2) 2 (Ireland 18, Garrido 41)
LIVERPOOL (0) 3 (Torres 55, 72, Kuyt 90)
MAN CITY: Hart; Richards, Dunne, Kompany, Zabaleta; Elano (Petrov), Ireland, Garrido, Wright-Phillips; Jo (Gelson), Robinho (Evans)
LIVERPOOL: Reina; Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio (Dossena); Gerrard, Mascherano (Keane), Alonso, Riera (Benayoun); Kuyt, Torres
Liverpool began 2008-09 season in great form and by the time they turned up at The Etihad, they were unbeaten in their 6 matches thus far. They’d only conceded in just 2 games, including a home win against the champions, Man Utd. Manchester City, managed by Mark Hughes, had just come off their 3rd defeat of the season already when they were beaten at Wigan. However, their three wins had yielded 12 goals. This was the best attack against the best defence.
City, the newest members of the Millionaires club, raced to a 2-0 lead in the first half. Stephen Ireland volleyed them into the lead after 18 minutes. With Elano running the game, they doubled their lead just before the break when Javier Garrido curled a free-kick past Reina. At the break City fans could be forgiven they had sent a message to the top four that they’d arrived. Within 10 minutes of the second half it all changed.
Steven Gerrard played in Arbeloa and his cross was turned in by Torres. At 2-1 City started to implode. Zabaleta was sent-off for a poor challenge on Xabi Alonso, for which even his manager agreed with. The effect it would have on the home side was clear almost immediately as Gerrard’s 72nd minute corner was headed in at the near post by Torres and the game was level.
With the home fans becoming increasingly edgy, substitute Benayoun, put Torres through and his shot hit Dunne, where Kuyt pounced to score the winner. It was a classic comeback during a season where Liverpool were able to turn draws into defeats with a mixture of persistence and luck. For City it was further evidence of the heights they still had to reach to be considered real contenders for Champions League football.
This was the 2nd in a run of 5 straight wins for Liverpool as their unbeaten run stretched to 11 matches from the start of the season. They would lose just once more as they pushed Manchester United all the way to the title, only to miss out by 4pts. City were consistent in their inconsistency and finished 10th.
HEAD TO HEAD at Maine Road/ Etihad
Liverpool win: 29
Man City win: 26
Liverpool goals: 114
Man City goals: 109