Top 10: Best ever Manchester United-Liverpool games
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With the league title secured and European Cup final to follow, Liverpool were odds-on favourites to lift the FA Cup at Wembley – even among United players.
“We weren’t confident,” forward Stuart Pearson admitted. “We knew we’d give them a game but they were so good.”
But who needs confidence anyway? On the day it was United who prevailed in a thrilling final won by Lou Macari’s deflected effort after Jimmy Case had cancelled out Pearson’s opener.
Almost 100,000 fans crammed into Wembley when these two met in the 1983 Milk Cup final as United manager Ron Atkinson hunted his first trophy as Red Devils’ boss.
But, after Norman Whiteside’s early opener, centre-backs Gordon McQueen and Kevin Moran suffered injuries while battling to preserve United’s slim advantage.
Alan Kennedy’s late equaliser took the match to extra time, before Ronnie Whelan curled home a delightful winner to seal the Reds’ third consecutive League Cup in Bob Paisley’s last season in charge. They’d make it a fourth in 1984.
United found themselves in desperate need of three points when they arrived at Anfield in April ‘88, trailing Kenny Dalglish’s league leaders by 11 points.
Skipper Bryan Robson gave the visitors a perfect start but devastating spells either side of the break saw Liverpool 3-1 up with goals from Peter Beardsley, Gary Gillespie and Steve McMahon.
Colin Gibson’s dismissal looked like it was to compound United’s misery, but a late rally produced strikes from Captain Marvel and Gordon Strachan to level the scores.
United’s fiery-haired Scot celebrated his last-gasp equaliser by puffing on an imaginary cigar in front of an outraged home support.
United, champions of England for the first time in 26 years and beginning their period of domination, raced into a 3-0 lead after just 25 minutes of this all-time classic.
Going into the game United were enjoying a 17-game unbeaten run in the league, 21 points ahead of Graeme Souness' ninth-placed Liverpool side.
So it was no surprise when goals from Steve Bruce, Ryan Giggs and a sumptuous Denis Irwin free-kick launched the hosts into a commanding lead.
But in a remarkable comeback, Liverpool’s Nigel Clough grabbed a brace before Neil Ruddock completed the turnaround with just 11 minutes remaining.
A clash of two icons… and some Razor Ruddock. Eric Cantona, returning from his suspension for kung-fu kicking Palace fan Matthew Simmonds at Selhurst Park, found his feet immediately and sent a pinpoint cross for Nicky Butt to score after two minutes.
But, as luck would have it, Liverpool had a legend of their own on form that day with Robbie Fowler bagging two terrific goals to nudge the visitors on course for victory.
Unwilling to relinquish the limelight on his big day, however, Cantona became embroiled in a bitty spat with Ruddock after Liverpool’s fun-loving defender fiddled with the Frenchman’s famous collar once too often - but not before Cantona’s jibes about his opponent’s weight. The offer of a fight in the tunnel never materialised, mind.
In the end Cantona had the last laugh, salvaging a point from the spot in front of a delighted Stretford End.
Another FA Cup final, this one infamous for Liverpool’s ‘Spice Boys’.
Jamie Redknapp, Steve McManaman and Co. arrived at Wembley in ludicrous matching white suits and were duly sent packing after 90 less-than-memorable minutes in which Cantona drove the only goal of the game beyond the Reds’ scrambling masses with just five minutes remaining.
Victory meant Sir Alex Ferguson’s side became the first team to win the league and cup Double twice.
United’s treble-winning season was exemplified by this dramatic smash-n’-grab fourth round FA Cup victory over their close rivals at Old Trafford.
Michael Owen nodded Liverpool in front early on, and with just two minutes left it looked like the Reds would have their first taste of victory over United in the FA Cup since 1922.
But Dwight Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had other ideas in an uncanny rehearsal of what was to come in Barcelona, knocking in 88th and 90th-minute goals to break Anfield hearts once again.
Above everything else this was a significant victory for Liverpool simply because it ended their dreadful 10-game losing streak in North West derbies.
Danny Murphy’s curled free-kick did the damage, giving the Reds belief to kick-start their own five-match winning streak over their great rivals.
It didn’t stop Fergie’s men winning a seventh Premier League title, though. Never mind.
This was surely Liverpool’s finest performance at Old Trafford in recent history.
Having slipped up in the race for the title, Rafa Benitez’s side needed a win to breathe new life into hopes of a first league title in the Premier League era.
Cristiano Ronaldo put United in front from the spot early in the game, but Fernando Torres capitalised on an uncharacteristic mistake from Nemanja Vidic – who was later sent off – before Steven Gerrard’s penalty, an audacious Fabio Aurelio free-kick and Andrea Dossena’s lob over Edwin van der Sar completed the rout.
Guess who won the title that year? We’ll give you a clue: it wasn’t Liverpool.
United fans may argue Dimitar Berbatov was worth his £30m price tag for this performance alone at Old Trafford.
The Bulgarian notched an incredible hat-trick, including an unbelievable overhead kick from the edge of the area that crashed off Pepe Renia’s crossbar and in.
Skipper Gerrard had hauled the Reds back into the match with a brace but that man Berba capped his virtuoso display with six minutes remaining, heading home John O’Shea’s floated cross to send Old Trafford into raptures once more.