Six Great Liverpool and Manchester United derbies

1. Liverpool 4-4 Manchester United (August 1953)

We begin with the highest-scoring post-war match between the two clubs. United arrived at Anfield with a prototype of the famous Busby Babes side - Roger Byrne, Tommy Taylor and David Pegg all starred - and took an early lead through Jack Rowley. But Don Welsh's side fought back, Louis Bimpson equalising and Bill Jones adding another on the stroke of half time. Byrne levelled the match soon after the restart, but Bimpson crashed home two Billy Liddell corners in quick succession to give the home team a 4-2 lead by 58 minutes. United would pull one back almost immediately through Eddie Lewis, before Taylor controversially made it 4-4 by bundling the ball and keeper Charlie Ashcroft into the net, Nat Lofthouse style, with seven minutes to play; Anfield was so incensed police formed a line in front of the Kop. United would win the return game 5-1, at which point the teams would go their separate ways for the remainder of the 1950s: Liverpool were eventually relegated that season, while within two years United had been bolstered by Duncan Edwards and Bobby Charlton and were busy defining the decade.

2. Manchester United 3-3 Liverpool (November 1962)

United had just beaten champions Ipswich Town 5-3 thanks to four goals from Denis Law, and things seemed to be going to form in their next game when David Herd gave them a half-time lead against newly promoted Liverpool, who had only won four of their first 16 games and were struggling near the bottom of the First Division table. The second half would, however, be a different story. Ian St John quickly equalised after a mistake from United keeper Harry Gregg, only for Albert Quixall to restore United's advantage with a hotly disputed penalty midway through the half. With five minutes to go the jig looked up for Bill Shankly's side, but Jimmy Melia scrambled in an equaliser and then, with a minute left, Ronnie Moran rifled in a 25-yard free kick for what would surely be the winner. It wasn't: Johnny Giles scored with the last kick of the match to force a draw. Liverpool were nonetheless buoyed by the result, winning their next nine games, while United's form dipped alarmingly - they ended the season only two places and three points from the relegation zone. United would however win the FA Cup that year - while the following season saw Liverpool crowned champions.

3. Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United (March 1983)

If Liverpool rode their luck a tad in the 1982 Milk Cup final, requiring a last-minute scramble to save themselves from defeat against Tottenham before running out easy winners in extra time, the Gods were really smiling on them a year later. Norman Whiteside's amazing Hansen-bothering early goal allowed United to soak up waves of Liverpool pressure, and with Ian Rush suffering an off day, squandering two glorious chances, it looked like United would win their first trophy under Ron Atkinson - until central defender Kevin Moran was injured with 20 minutes to go. Within two minutes Alan Kennedy had shaved the bar with a fierce shot; within another three he had scored. Extra time saw what little was left of United's luck totally run out, as their other centre half Gordon McQueen was crocked and had to spend the remainder of the match up front, striker Frank Stapleton moving back to cover. Though whether that affected the outcome is moot, for Franz Beckenbauer couldn't have done anything about the winner, a glorious Ronnie Whelan curler into the top right corner. United could also legitimately moan about Bruce Grobbelaar's bodycheck on McQueen late in the day, which denied the hobbling "striker" a goalscoring chance yet went unpunished, but United's Wembley luck would turn a few weeks later: Ray Wilkins would repeat Whelan's trick with a curler of his own, before Brighton striker Gordon Smith's largesse gifted them a replay and the trophy.

4. Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool (January 1989)

The Murphy years apart, Liverpool have never quite managed to irritate United on a regular basis when underdogs. That wasn't such a problem for United during Liverpool's golden era: United denied them the treble in 1977, knocked them out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage in 1979 and 1985, and during the 1980s enjoyed a record in all competitions of W11 D11 L4. Their final victory of a decade of local (if not national or European) dominance came on New Year's Day 1989, when Fergie's Fledglings ripped the champions to pieces for 70 minutes only to fall behind to a John Barnes goal. No matter: within seven minutes 20-year-old midfielder Russell Beardsmore had stepped up to the plate, setting up goals for Brian McClair and Mark Hughes, then wrapping up the result himself with a calm finish. "The best team lost," claimed Ronnie Moran after the match, which was true in a wider context, but not of this game.

5. Liverpool 3-3 Manchester United (January 1994)

There's an argument that United's two-goal comeback in the famous 3-3 draw at Anfield in 1988 was a better game than this - Peter Beardsley and John Barnes rampant for an hour, Norman Whiteside's reducer on Steve McMahon, cigar-smoking Gordon Strachan capping the comeback for ten-man United - but while Liverpool were streets ahead in terms of quality at the time, they were still playing a side who would finish second in the league. In 1994, the gap between the two sides was as embarrassing as it's ever been, a point hammered home within 24 minutes as United romped into a three-goal lead. This utter humiliation represented Liverpool's Anfield nadir - against bitter enemies, it surely cut the Kop deeper than Michael Thomas's 1989 title strike - but lasted less than a minute. Nigel Clough cost the Reds £2.3m, did nothing else in his time at the club, but by snapping home from 25 yards then repeating the trick a tad closer in 13 minutes later, he repaid most of that fee there and then. Neil Ruddock completed a ludicrous comeback with 11 minutes to play and Anfield erupted; they had little else to shout about during the 1990s.

6. Manchester United 2-2 Liverpool (October 1995)

This game explained 1990s football in a nutshell. It was Eric Cantona's much-anticipated return after being banned for whacking an ignorant goon upside his head, and sure enough he made his mark, scoring the 71st minute penalty which salvaged a draw for United. That the result needed saving spoke volumes about how well Roy Evans's Liverpool played against a United side which would go on to claim the double, Robbie Fowler taking centre stage by cancelling out Nicky Butt's early effort then making toast of Gary Neville then beating Peter Schmeichel with an exquisite lob. But it was also typical of Liverpool's mental fragility at the time: there was a three-season spell around that time when, without exaggeration, Liverpool outplayed United in every single league game, yet only managed to win a couple of games at Anfield. Gerard Houllier and Danny Murphy would deal with this situation comprehensively around the turn of the century, but Liverpool would never again outplay a superior United team without winning quite like this.

Copyright - The Guardian

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