Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 5 March 2015

The ten best Manchester United v Liverpool encounters

Liverpool 3 Manchester United 3
Liverpool 3 Manchester United 3
Premier League, January, 1994
If the entertainment value of Sunday's game comes even close to this six goal thriller, neutrals will be delighted. Anfield was in shock when after just 25 minutes United were in what seemed to be an unassailable lead at 3-0. Steve Bruce, Ryan Giggs and then a beautiful free-kick from left-back Dennis Irwin did the damage. But Liverpool responded in remarkable fashion. Nigel Clough, who did little during his time at Liverpool, scored two long range screamers before Neil Ruddock (pictured) completed a ludicrous comeback that made Anfield erupt. As amazing as the Liverpool's revival was, it wasn't enough to save manager Graeme Souness, who was sacked a month later.
Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1
FA Cup, January, 1999
Manchester United's treble winning season is usually associated with the Nou Camp and the remarkable late comeback against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. Yet United could never have made history that year if it wasn't for this late turnaround on a cold Sunday afternoon in January. Liverpool had led the fourth round FA Cup tie for almost the entire match after a Michael Owen strike after just 155 seconds. But with just two minutes remaining, Dwight Yorke levelled and then who else but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer grabbed the winner. Liverpool's near 80 year wait for victory over United in the FA Cup would have to wait as the players left the pitch devastated.
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 1
Premier League, December, 2000
This was by no means the greatest encounter between the two sides but the significance of the win to Liverpool was huge. The Anfield side had gone ten games without a win over their bitter rivals, so when they left Old Trafford with three-points it allowed them to start believing once more that they could topple Fergie's men. Danny Murphy got the only goal of the game with a delicately curled free-kick two minutes before half-time. The victory was to set off a record run of five successive wins over United.
Liverpool 2 Manchester United 2
FA Cup, April, 1985
Goodison Park was the venue for this epic FA Cup semi-final. It was a match of late drama as Liverpool hit back twice to force the match into a replay. Mark Hughes had put United in front but with just four minutes remaining Ronnie Whelan brought the tie level. His equaliser appeared to be of little significance when Frank Stapleton (pictured) put the Red Devils in charge once more but in the final seconds Paul Walsh grabbed a lifeline for Joe Fagan's Liverpool. United were to go on and win the replay 2-1.
Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1
Premier League, September, 2004
This fixture was Rafael Benitez's first taste of the bitter rivalry between the two sides and it was to be first blood to Alex Ferguson in what has become an acidic relationship between the two managers. Mikael Silvestere was the unlikely hero, notching two headed goals against a dodgy looking Liverpool defence. Liverpool equalised after the first strike thanks to a John O'Shea own goal, but it wasn't enough to keep a United side, buoyed by the return of Rio Ferdinand after a drugs-test suspension, from taking the spoils.
Manchester United 1 Liverpool 4
Premier League, March 2009
After a blistering start to last season, Liverpool looked like they might finally end their wait for league success. Yet by the time they came to Old Trafford, they had slipped from the pace and the game was considered make-or-break for any lingering hopes they might have. And although ultimately they didn't win the title, they certainly issued a warning to United. Cristiano Ronaldo put United ahead from the penalty spot but Liverpool responded first through Fernando Torres, who hounded Nemanja Vidic into an uncharacteristic mistake and then Steven Gerrard, who scored a penalty. Vidic's day got worse when he was sent off and then United's day got worse when Fabio Aurellio scored from the resulting free-kick. Andrea Dossena completed a memorable win for Liverpool when he lobbed Edwin van der Sar in injury time.
Liverpool 3 Manchester United 3
First Division, April, 1988
The tables were turned in 1988 with United trailing Liverpool and the title race entering its final phase. 11 points adrift, victory was vital for a United side still harbouring hopes of league success. Bryan Robson put the visitors ahead to give them hope but a devastating 10-minute spell either side of half-time had Liverpool in a 3-1 lead. Peter Beardsley (pictured), Gary Gillespie and Steve McMahon were the scorers for Kenny Dalglish's side. Although United refused to lay down, with Robson scoring his second and then Gordon Strachan setting up a tense finale with an equaliser 12 minutes from time which he celebrated by pretending to enjoy a cigar in front of irrate Liverpool fans.
Manchester United 1 Liverpool 0
Premier League, January, 2006
Not the most pulsating of matches but highly memorable for the antics of Gary Neville. Djibril Cisse had the best chance of the match that only sparked to life in dying seconds. Rio Ferdinand cropped up in the 90th minute to score a headed winner, but it was what followed that is remembered. Mr Manchester United, Gary Neville, opted to celebrate the goal, not with his team-mates, but by running the length of the pitch so he could wave his fists about and kiss the United badge in front of the travelling Liverpool supporters. His wild gestures got him in trouble with the FA but it was worth it, if only for finding a way to up the temperature in what is already the most heated fixture of the season.
Liverpool 2 Manchester United 1
League Cup final, March 1983
This was the first final meeting between the two giants of English football in the League Cup and it was one that needed extra-time to determine the victors. Norman Whiteside put United ahead with a first half strike but Ron Atkinson's side resembled the walking wounded after they were hit by a number of injuries. Despite this they looked on course for victory before Alan Kennedy sent the game beyond 90 minutes. The Cup was won thanks to a sublime curler from Ronnie Whelan.
Manchester United 2 Liverpool 2
Premier League, October, 1995
The final classic encounter in our ten best is all about two legends from the north-west sides: Eric Cantona and Robbie Fowler. This fixture marked the return of Cantona after his suspension for jumping Bruce Lee-style into the crowd at Selhurst Park. He didn't take long to remind people of what they had been missing when he set up Nicky Butt to score the opener. But Robbie 'God' Fowler looked like ruining the party when he scored two excellent goals past Peter Schmeichel and had Liverpool on course for victory. Yet Cantona wasn't to be upstaged. He drilled home a 71st minute equaliser from the penalty spot before celebrating in front of the Old Trafford crowd with a twirl around the goal stanchion.

Manchester United make the short trip to Anfield this Sunday to face Liverpool in a mouth watering fixture.

>>Click More Pictures to launch gallery

Sub-plots of Manchester United striker Michael Owen returning to his former club and Rafael Benitez fighting for his survival after a string of poor results only add to what is always one of the most highly anticipated matches of the season.

Source: Independent

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