11 greatest Arsenal vs Liverpool games: Andrey, King Kenny & Anfield '89
Liverpool 3-2 Arsenal (Aug 1964)
It was a classic mid-'60s Anfield experience: Bill Shankly’s championship-winning team entered the fray with She Loves You blaring in the background on the opening day of the 1964/65 campaign.
The whole occasion was given extra spice by the fact that BBC cameras were present and correct to record the first-ever Match of the Day in front of 47,620 at “Beatleville” – as commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme described it. Viewers saw Roger Hunt and Gordon Wallace put the home side 2-0 up, before Joe Baker and Geoff Strong levelled up the scores for Billy Wright’s much-fancied team.
In the dying seconds, an own goal by future Gunners manager Don Howe gave the home side a deserved 3-2 victory, and Shankly’s army made a winning start to defending their title (though they would only finish seventh, some 17 points off Manchester United in the days of two for a win).
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool (May 1971)
It was hardly a vintage FA Cup final, but the fulsome climax was memorable as Bill Shankly’s Liverpool and Bertie Mee’s Arsenal laboured for 90 minutes in the scorching sun at Wembley.
With extra-time reached, players from both sides writhed around with cramp. But the game then sparked into life as Steve Heighway fired Liverpool ahead, before Eddie Kelly poked home Arsenal’s equaliser.
With the match seemingly heading for a replay, an exhausted Charlie George collected John Radford’s pass, and his coruscating 20-yard drive flew past Ray Clemence to secure the league and cup Double for Arsenal, prompting one of Wembley’s most famous celebrations as the long-haired George lay prostrate on his back in a Jesus Christ-like pose. “Charlie George, superstar, walks like a woman and he wears a bra,” Liverpool fans sang at him next time the sides met. Doubt Charlie minded, though.
Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal (Aug 1979)
Liverpool frequently put Arsenal to the sword as they dominated the 1970s, but perhaps the best visual record of Bob Paisley's men's dominance over their north London rivals came in the 1979 Charity Shield at Wembley.
Gunners manager Terry Neill promised Liverpool a “run for their money” after his side had won the FA Cup at Wembley back in May. But a quite masterful display by the league champions included Terry McDermott hammering his side into the lead, before a driving Alan Hansen run set up fellow Scot Kenny Dalglish for a second.
McDermott provided the final coup de grace, and Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners in the blazing Wembley sunshine. Liverpool went on to retain their title, the Gunners trailing in their wake back in fourth.
Liverpool 0-1 Arsenal (eventually, May 1980)
It was a classic FA Cup marathon, in the days when replays were de rigeur in the world’s greatest cup competition. Terry Neill’s reigning FA Cup winners and (that season’s) league champions locked horns four times to determine who would play West Ham in the 1980 FA Cup Final at Wembley.
“There was barely a whisker in it,” Neill recalled. The stars of the show were Arsenal’s Alan Sunderland – whose silky runs induced panic into Liverpool’s usually calm backline and earned him a goal in the first two replays – and Dalglish, who appeared to escape his marker at will.
But finally, in the third replay at Coventry’s Highfield Road, Gunners midfielder Brian Talbot’s firm header from Frank Stapleton’s cross nudged Arsenal into the final, and destroyed Liverpool’s Double dreams. Arsenal went on to lose the final 1-0 to second-tier West Ham.