THIS week in Liverpool FC history Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool side — in his first spell, obviously — recorded one of their finest victories, with a 9-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Arguably one of the Reds’ best ever sides, certainly up there with the most entertaining, put on a show for the 35,000-plus in attendance as they eased to a staggering victory. Steve Nicol opened the scoring with a left footed finish, after a layoff from Ronnie Whelan. The scorer then turned creator playing a weighted through ball to Steve McMahon — who signed for the Reds on the same day four years earlier — as he chipped the ball over the helpless Perry Suckling (which is a mad name, by the way).
On the stroke of half time, John Barnes found Peter Beardsley inside the area but the ball ran away from the Reds’ number seven and into the path of Ian Rush, who finished with ease. The Beardsley and Barnes link up worked its magic again after the break, the former’s corner finding the latter’s head as he flicked it on to Gary Gillespie who headed in at the near post.
Just five minutes later, Whelan’s quick free-kick caught Palace on their heels. Beardsley received the ball, played a one-two with Rush and then smashed home, putting the Reds five up. Whelan was again involved, after the hour mark, being brought down just inside the area by Andy Gray — the one who’s not an Evertonian — and substitute John Aldridge sent the keeper the wrong way with his penalty. Barnes nonchalantly stuck his free-kick straight into the top corner to make it seven, before his corner set up Glenn Hysen to score his first goal for the club.
Finally, the man who opened the scoring finished it all off. Nicol arrived at the back post as the ball made its way through the box, and slotted home. An unbelievable performance from Kenny’s side, and to this day the Reds’ biggest top flight win.
IT’s 17 years this week that Liverpool smashed Hull City 5-1 in the first leg of the League Cup second round.
Danny Murphy opened the scoring, with his debut goal for the Reds, and doubled the lead on the half hour mark. Then Erik Meijer followed suit with his first goal for the club, and notched again after 75 minutes making it 4-1 to the away side, before Steve Staunton converted one minute from time.
The game is, of course, most notable for Murphy and Meijer’s debut goals, and for the debut of 2005 Champions League winner Djimi Traore. After a 4-2 second leg win, the tie finished 9-3 on aggregate but Gerard Houllier’s side were knocked out in the next round by Southampton.
REWIND 30 years, to September 16 1969, as Bill Shankly’s Reds beat Dundalk 10-0 in the first leg of the European Fairs Cup — me neither — first round.
Alun Evans, Chris Lawler, Tommy Smith, Bobby Graham all scored within the first half, with Evans notching twice, to put the home side in a more than comfortable position before half time. After the restart, Alec Lindsay scored on his first appearance for the club before Smith got his second, as Peter Thompson, Ian Callaghan — who, incidentally, left the club this week in 1978 — and another from Graham made it 10.
Meanwhile, one Gerard Houllier was on The Kop that night with a friend of his over from France. Mad, that.
NEXT, we go forward in time, though still 26 years from present day, as Liverpool beat Manchester United 4-0 courtesy of a Peter Beardsley hat-trick.
In what was probably his finest hour for the Reds, Beardsley stood head and shoulders above Liverpool’s fiercest rivals, scoring within the first quarter of an hour after a series from errors from the United defence left him with a tap-in.
Just after the half hour mark, Barnes and McMahon were linking up again to put Beardsley in for his second, finishing low to the keeper’s right to double the lead. Ray Houghton was heavily involved in the third, riding a challenge before swinging in a cross which was helped on by Nicol and finished off by the head of Barnes. Finally, Houghton’s quick free-kick released Beardsley, who lobbed the United keeper to complete his hat-trick, and make it 4-0 to the home side.
It was a true display of Beardsley’s quality as the Reds eased past their rivals from up the East Lancs road, who’s side featured current Premier League managers Mike Phelan and Mark Hughes among other notable names — and were still managed, at the time, by Alex Ferguson.
THIS week in history, the Reds also recorded 6-1 wins over obscure European opposition, in the form of Apollon Limassol and Kuusysi Lahti.
The wins were just a year apart, in the European Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Cup respectively, with Ian Rush scoring four in the former — which was played on September 16 1992 — and Dean Saunders doing the same a year prior — on September 18 1991. Doubles from Paul Stewart and Ray Houghton, supplemented the remainder of the scoring in both games, which helped see both of Graeme Souness’s sides through the first round of their respective European competitions.
FINALLY, Bob Paisley’s side recorded, what remains to this day, Liverpool’s biggest ever win, with an 11-0 battering of Norwegian side Strømsgodset.
The scorers that day included: Alec Lindsay, a double from Phil Boersma, two from Phil Thompson, Steve Heighway, Peter Cormack, Emlyn Hughes, Tommy Smith, Ian Callaghan and Ray Kennedy. The only players that started the game and didn’t score were goalkeeper Ray Clemence and midfielder Brian Hall — who must have felt left out as the only outfielder not to get on the scoresheet.
The Reds have come close to matching that result since, and I wouldn’t bet against the current Liverpool side, as the league’s top scorers in 2016, to beat that at some point. United at home in October, maybe?
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