And so ensues the hectic Christmas calendar that often throws up some classic matches. We’ve had our thinking caps on and without delving too far back into the archives, we’ve cherry-picked a handful that will live long in our festive memories. Who knows; a thumping win in Wigan tonight might be on the list next year…
5 – Liverpool 2-0 Man Utd – 26/12/1979
A Boxing Day delight in front of over 50,000 at Anfield leaving United feeling cold turkey. Jocky put us in front after quarter of an hour with what he has since described as the greatest goal he’s ever scored – just a shame there’s no footage of it with there being no cameras present! Hansen had broken forward to exchange a one-two with Ray Kennedy before finishing with aplomb. Gary Bailey, who had earlier struck a long goal kick that hit Clemence’s crossbar, fumbled a David Johnson effort late on which clinched the points for the reds.
4 – Newcastle 1-5 Liverpool – 28/12/2008
One of the earliest games in Lucas’ fairly fledgling Liverpool career that I remember him dictating from start to finish and, of course, a result that fuelled confidence and real belief in our fanbase not seen since the run up to Istanbul in 2005. Liverpool were devastating from start to finish, playing with pace, precision, movement and… some shoddy finishing! It really could have been a cricket score. Each crisp passing phase saw “We shall not be moved” sung with more conviction. Stevie helped himself to a brace before being rested 20 minutes from the end with even the home fans standing to applaud.
3 – Liverpool 2-0 Man Utd – 17/12/1995
Having stolen the show in the ‘Cantona comeback’ game at Old Trafford two months earlier, God was at it again notching his second successive brace against United. It was a raucous atmosphere; one of the best in the early post-old-Kop period, and we battered them from start to finish with the tireless running of McManaman and movement of Collymore/Fowler simply too much for a ragged United. Fowler clipped in an audacious free-kick at the Kop end before slaloming into the Anny Road penalty area with minutes to go, past Beckham if memory serves, and dinking over Schmeichel who had done wonders to keep it down to two. We’d put United to the sword in both league games, taking four points, and it was in an unfortunate way this style and swagger that led to United’s deep defensive setup in the Cup Final five months later that led to such a sterile, set-piece clinching showpiece.
2 – Liverpool 5-2 Man City – 27/12/1982
For the second year in a row, Liverpool hosted City immediately after Christmas after a surprise Boxing Day result 12 months earlier on a quagmire of a pitch where City left with the points following two late presents from Bruce in goal at a time where the odd erratic performance was leading to criticism. A year later and Liverpool were in no mood for gift-wrapping with a sumptuous display led by the King who notched a superb hat-trick. Neal and Rushie were also on target as the Kop sang The 12 Days of Christmas replacing the words with players’ names.
1 – Liverpool 3-1 Olympiakos – 8/12/2004
Christmas came early to all at Anfield with one of the most historic nights in the club’shistory; I don’t know how we did it but we did it. Looking back now it’s actually a bit of a blur due to the sheer wave of tension and emotion. It seemed all over at half-time after Rivaldo’s free-kick had slipped through the wall – who in Fowler’s green earth would have dreamt at that stage Liverpool would be European champions just months later? We needed three goals in 45 minutes and we got them; Stevie’s of course being the coup de grace leading to absolute pandemonium around Anfield and even Rafa getting a hug from a steward. We all know that technically there’s been far better Liverpool sides before and after, but that side had endless determination and will to win that ended in glory – and that night really was the start of it. Seven years ago – blimey.
LFC Greatests – Christmas Games, a LoveFollowConquer.com blog post