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Ranked! The best Liverpool vs Manchester City matches ever

Liverpool vs Manchester City
(Image credit: PA Images)

Liverpool vs Manchester City may lack the venom of Liverpool vs Manchester United, but these clashes are streets ahead in terms of entertainment.

The rivalry between the clubs is relatively new, and based more on the race for silverware than any deep-rooted ill-will, but that has somehow made for tastier results. There have been some absolute belters down the years. Don't believe us? Walk this way...

10. Liverpool 2-2 Man City (Premier League, 2012)

Brendan Rodgers’ second League game in charge of the Reds was a glimpse into the future for both sides. After being thumped 3-0 on the first weekend of the season by West Brom, Liverpool raised their game for the visit of the champions. The Northern Irishman gave one Raheem Sterling a debut and the 17-year-old terrorised  City’s defence.

Martin Skrtel’s bullet header gave Liverpool the lead but Pepe Reina’s increasing eccentricity gave Yaya Toure a simple finish at the back post. Luis Suarez swept in a  delicious free kick to restore the lead only for Skrtel to gift-wrap a back pass straight to the feet of Carlos Tevez 10 minutes from time. The look on the Slovakian’s face in “Being Liverpool” was something else. Was he in Brendan’s envelope of players that would let him down? We will never know. 

9. Liverpool 2-2 Man City (Carling Cup Semi-Final, 2012)

After beating City on their own patch with a Steven Gerrard penalty in the first leg, the return match was thunderously fought on the pitch. Twice City went ahead, twice Liverpool fought back with the effervescent Craig Bellamy at the forefront. The Welshman scored the all-important tie-winner a quarter of an hour before the end to book Liverpool’s first appearance at Wembley since 1996. King Kenny claimed the cup against Cardiff on pens but lost the FA Cup final against Chelsea a few months later and was sacked.

8. Liverpool 4-2 Man City (FA Cup, 2001)

Liverpool

(Image credit: PA Images)

Fresh from their midweek crusade in Rome on the way to UEFA Cup glory that season, Liverpool powered past City in a thrilling six-goal encounter as they stormed into last eight of FA Cup. Michael Owen, the two goal hero at the Olympic stadium, and Robbie Fowler were replaced by  the silky Jari Litmanen and Emile Heskey, who both scored. Marus Babbel and Vlad Smicer added the others as Premiership strugglers City started the game without 10 first-team players. That season,  Liverpool ended up winning all three cups they entered, claiming a historic treble after beating Arsenal in the FA Cup, at Wembley, with another Owen brace. 

7. Man City 1-4 Liverpool (Premier League, 2015)

This was the first real evidence of things to come under Jurgen Klopp as his team’s gegenpressing suffocated City into submission at the Etihad. Liverpool stormed into a 3-0 lead early in the first half with brilliant goals by Phil Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. The Reds would have been 5 up before the break without Joe Hart’s interventions. Manuel Pellegrini was so shocked at the end of it all, he turned to Trumpisms, calling it “a fake night, a fake game.”

6. Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool (Premier League, 2003)

Liverpool

(Image credit: PA Images)

Sometimes, ghosts of the past come back to haunt you. Liverpool were beginning to suffer in the latter stages of Gerard Houllier’s rein. The Guardian dismissed them as “one-paced” and “one-dimensional” and, to make matters worse, they were outclassed on the day by Kevin Keegan’s relegation-threatened City, who hadn’t won in 10 matches. Nicolas Anelka, who had recently been snubbed by Houllier in favour of a permanent deal for El-Hadji Diouf, gave the hosts the lead before Liverpool struck back through Smicer and a Didi Hamann rocket. Three minutes into injury time, “God” turned up in the form of Robbie Fowler to steal a draw against his old side.

5. Liverpool 1-3 Manchester City (Division One, 1981)

The first season of the three-point win wasn’t doing Liverpool any favours as they sat mid-table before the visit of City just after Christmas. Ray Clemence had left for Tottenham in the summer, following the goalkeeper's third European Cup triumph, leaving new man Bruce Grobbelaar with big boots to fill. The Zimbabwean’s struggles unnerved his defence so much that Phil Thompson lost the captaincy after the match. Losing 1-0 after an early Asa Hartford strike, Grobbelaar then went walk about in the second half. He totally missed a dropping ball before Thompson handled on the line to give away a penalty that Kevin Bond converted. A late Ronnie Whelan strike gave the Reds hope, but there was still time for Brucie to fumble-in a near post shot from City forward Kevin Reeves. Tellingly, City boss John Bond said he saw a lot of ‘the old Liverpool’ despite his side’s victory. He wasn’t wrong. The Reds picked up 63 out of the next 75 points to snatch the league title.

4. Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool (Premier League, 1996)

On the final day of the campaign, when not even a win would guarantee survival, City boss Alan Ball boldly declared: “I am confident we will stay up, because we have prepared well and we are ready.” 

Yet Roy Evans’ Liverpool were two up at half-time through a Steve Lomas own-goal and Ian Rush’s last ever strike for the Reds. City, however, stormed back in the last quarter of the game. Neil Ruddock's assault on City's Georgi Kinkladze allowed Uwe Rosler to hit back from the spot. Soon after, Kit Symons equalised.

The problem was, though, that City were soon fed false information that Wimbledon had scored a late goal at the Dell, and thus relegated Southampton

“Lomas and I both headed towards the corner of the pitch over the next few moments trying to run the clock down,” said Rosler. “That’s when Quinny (Niall) raced from the physio room and up the touchline and yelled at us that we needed another goal." Oh, for a smartphone…

3. Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool (Premier League, 2019)

Liverpool went to the Etihad seven points clear in the title race, having only dropped six points in 20 games.  Early in the match, a sublime Liverpool move ended with Sadio Mane’s effort striking the post. John Stones wellied the rebound into Ederson, before somehow clearing the ball off the line by a margin of just 12 millimetres. 

Sergio Aguero soon turned a static Dejan Lovren and smashed the ball in at the near post to give City the lead. In a fantastic second-half, Firmino equalised as Liverpool pushed on a little too much, giving Leroy Sane the chance to break away and bury a precise low strike across Alisson to clinch the game with 18 minutes left. City went on a charge of 18 wins from their remaining 19 fixtures, eventually pipping the Reds by a point.

2. Liverpool 4-3 Manchester City (Premier League, 2018)

It was the new dawn for Liverpool, having just signed Virgil Van Dijk. The Dutchman was bought to help shore-up a defence that was still vulnerable to cricket scorelines. Meanwhile City were 18 points ahead and walking the league. Liverpool decided to go for broke, without their injured record-singing in the line-up. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's goal got the ding-dong underway, before Leroy Sane blasted through the cursed hands of Loris Karius just before the break. In the second half, Liverpool went on a goal surge with each of the front three, Roberto Firmino, Mane and Mo Salah scoring gems. City pulled two back to set-up a frantic finish, but it wasn't;'t enough. Pep had good reason to be worried about Klopp’s forward line, as a Champions League nightmare awaited three months later.

1. Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City (Premier League, 2014)

On a nine-match winning steak, Liverpool were four points ahead of Manchester City, one behind Chelsea and five fences from home in the title race. The 25th Hillsborough anniversary supercharged the Reds, who got off to a ferocious start. Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel gave Brendan Rodgers' side a two-goal cushion at half-time.

Nerves kicked in after the break as City worked their way back into the match via the magic feet of David Silva and a Glenn Johnson own goal.  Against the run of play, Vincent Kompany took a swipe at a clearance, missed, and Phillipe Coutinho curled in Liverpool’s third to ecstatic relief. Somehow, the Reds held out in the remaining 12 minutes despite a Jordan Henderson red card.

An emotional Steven Gerrard got the players together in front of the cameras and delivered his famous “this does not f**king slip now" speech. But the captain’s slip against Chelsea two games later handed the advantage to City, who saw out a routine 2-0 win against West Ham on the final day to seal the title.

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