So our final fixture of the season takes us to Anfield, where in all likelihood both sets of fans will be experiencing feelings of resignation; although for vastly different reasons. Despite being one of the oldest fixtures in English football, it isn’t easy searching for instances where United have come back from Merseyside with anything to shout about.
Our first game of note however in 1950 was not one of these occasions; with Wallsend born striker Albert Stubbins coming up against his former club and man who he was sold to accommodate at centre forward Jackie Milburn. Neither men were on the scoresheet on this occasion however as Chilean striker George Robledo stole the show in a 4-2 victory, United’s other goal that day came from little Ernie Taylor.
After extended periods in the second division for both sides, Shankly’s Reds and Harvey’s Magpies met early in 1967 in front of 51,000 at Anfield, we were given a hiding well and truly however as Liverpool’s Tony Hateley, scored a hat trick with World Cup winner Roger Hunt also managing to get in on the act. 5 years later not much had changed in the dugout although both sides were boasting young and impressive strikers who would make it on the international stage; unfortunately for us it was Keegan rather than Macdonald who made the impact this day as KK scored the opening goal in a 5-0 victory for The Reds.
By 1984 Keegan was wearing Black & White for an FA Cup third round tie whilst United were still languishing (although on the way up!) in the second division, roared on by around 12,000 away supporters (not sure on this, correct me if necessary!) we failed to land a punch on the country’s leading team and Keegan decided post match that he would not follow Newcastle into the first division, citing his inability to get near Hansen and Lawrenson during the 90 minutes. In 1988 we finally managed to get a win at Anfield remarkably in a season we finished bottom of the first division, John Hendrie and Mirindinha from the spot managed to score past future Toon ‘keeper Mike Hooper on a day Liverpool would undoubtedly look back on with serious regrets given the way they lost the title that year.
Our last win at Anfield came in 1994 on what proved to be a special day on the 5th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, Keegan, Venison and Beardsley were all given great receptions from The Kop and Rob Lee and Andy Cole managed to score both of our goals without reply.
In 1996 we had our most memorable encounter with The Reds as United took a 3-2 lead through ‘Tino Asprilla’s deft finish from a Rob Lee through ball (my favourite NUFC goal) only to throw it away as Stan Collymore bagged a late winner in an enthralling 90 minutes which Sky has managed to hijack and label us over ever since. Around 12 months later similar late drama was to cost us again, although our performance was nowhere near the same level; Liverpool somehow managing to let us back into the game. Fowler that time was on hand to heap misery on the long suffering Geordie faithful.