In Part II of our feature, we look back on more famous United victories at Anfield...
Norman Whiteside Liverpool 0 Manchester United 1, 26 December 1986
With Paul McGrath out injured, and Bryan Robson playing in an unfamiliar role at centre-back, defending a seven-year unbeaten record on Sir Alex’s Anfield debut was never going to be an easy task. But from the moment United stepped off the coach, accompanied by ex-Liverpool boss Bob Paisley to promote unity between the clubs, the home side were on the back foot. Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish surprised the home support by playing Jan Molby as a fifth defender, but his decision backfired as the United midfield, led by Jesper Olsen, ran riot. The Merseysiders held out until Norman Whiteside smashed home a winner after a pass from Olsen on 78 minutes. “In the first half we were disorganised, which really is my fault,” Dalglish said in the post-match interview. “It was a disappointing display.” For Ferguson, however, it was a dream start.
Brian McClair Liverpool 1 Manchester United 2, 6 March 1993
United hadn’t won at Anfield in six seasons but, more importantly, hadn’t won the league in 26. With only 11 matches of the season remaining, and having Aston Villa hot on their heels, this match represented United’s biggest obstacle. As half time approached with the score locked at 0-0, United fans were getting jumpy until a Ryan Giggs cross was met by a thumping Mark Hughes header, which thundered past David James. Their joy was short-lived, however, as an Ian Rush volley brought Liverpool level. Had United’s title yips struck again? No chance. On 56 minutes, a Lee Sharpe corner was flicked on by Gary Pallister and Brian McClair gleefully nodded home. “There’s a mood about usnow,” Ferguson said at the final whistle. “I can’t hide my pleasure at the result.” And as The Kop watched, United’s players and supporters finally began to believe that the title would soon be coming back to Old Trafford for the first time since 1967.
Andy Cole Liverpool 1 Manchester United 3, 19 April 1997
It was billed as a title decider and, unfortunately for Liverpool fans, this match effectively was. United’s win, sealed by more kamikaze Liverpool defending, left them needing only five points from their last four games to claim the Premiership crown. An early Gary Pallister goal was cancelled out by John Barnes, but after Pallister had punished more sloppy defending before half-time Gary Neville went past Stig Bjornebye and crossed into the six-yard box. David James missed the ball to leave Cole a free header. Steve Bates of The People, wrote: “Not even a mug would bet against United now — and there were plenty of those playing in Liverpool colours yesterday. When you quieten the Kop you know you’ve done a number on Liverpool.” As Pallister and Cole danced a title jig at the final whistle, Liverpool’s spice boys hung their heads in shame.
Sandy Turnbull Liverpool 0 Manchester United 1, 1 April 1907
As the reigning league champions, Liverpool’s directors had decided to build a huge cinder and brick bank at the Walton Breck end of Anfield to reward the fans for their support. But given United’s astonishing record of success at the ground it seems fitting that their first appearance in front of the new Kop ended in a 1-0 victory. Scotsman Sandy Turnbull (below) scored for United. Little more than pride was at stake in this match, with both United and Liverpool struggling in mid-table, but the win, and Turnbull’s goal laid a marker for the years to come.
Bobby Charlton Liverpool 1 Manchester United 4, 14 December 1969
As reigning European Cup holders, United’s quest for another championship had begun unconvincingly. A 4-1 home defeat to Southampton, and another four-goal thrashing at City’s Maine Road had left them off the pace in the title race, but this display at Anfield did much to raise the spirits. United went one up when Ron Yeats scored an own goal, before Emlyn Hughes equalised for Liverpool when Alex Stepney dropped a 30-yard shot from Ian Callaghan. Goals from Ian Ure and Willie Morgan then put United in control before Bobby Charlton intervened to put matters beyond doubt. Describing Charlton’s performance, Tom German of The Times wrote: “He curled in the corners which brought the first two goals, aimed the shot which allowed the third and crowned it all seven minutes from the end with a Charlton thunderbolt.”