Famous Five: Manchester United’s greatest wins over Liverpool at Old Trafford

For Manchester United fans beating Liverpool is always huge, but every now and then those victories are made even sweeter, so here is a look back at some of the Reds' more memorable wins over their arch enemy and what made them so special.

Matthew Crist

They don’t even play in the same town, yet there are few rivalries in football that can match the intensity and passion of Manchester United and Liverpool.

Barely 30 miles separates two of the fiercest foes in English football, but the cities of Manchester and Liverpool have plenty in common.

Both were key players in the industrial revolution; Liverpool a major shipping hub, Manchester as a manufacturing metropolis, while the first railway line in the world was built between the two cities in 1830.

However, when it comes to football they are worlds apart, and for Manchester United fans there is still nothing better than beating the team from the other end of the East Lancs Road.

So here are some of those occasions when the men form Old Trafford have sent the other half of English football’s most successful duopoly packing.

Manchester United 3 Liverpool 1: January 1989

United were floundering in mid-table when they welcomed Liverpool to Old Trafford for this New Year’s Day clash which was to be broadcast to an audience of millions via ITV’s new live football show ‘The Match.’

Liverpool were involved in a title battle with Arsenal and Norwich at the time while United, having finished second to the Merseysiders the previous season, had endured something of a frustrating campaign; so, when John Barnes put the visitors ahead after 70 minutes it appeared that Alex Ferguson’s men would be on the receiving end of another defeat.

But three goals in eight minutes from Brian McClair, Mark Hughes and young starlet Russell Bearsdsmore would turn the game on its head and provide those who were there, not to mention those watching at home on television, with an afternoon they will never forget.


Manchester United 3 Liverpool 1: October 1990

Having won their first trophy under Alex Ferguson the previous campaign in the form of the FA Cup, United were now hungry for success and set their eyes on a cup competition they had yet to win at the time, The League Cup; or as it was known back then, the Rumbelows Cup.

After beating Halifax over two-legs in the first round, United were drawn against Liverpool at Old Trafford; the reigning champions at the time who were mounting another assault on the title as they battled-it-out with Arsenal once again at the top of the table.

But league positions meant little in this battle of the giants and having taken the lead through an early Steve Bruce penalty, United put their old foes to the sword through further goals from Mark Hughes and Lee Sharpe which ensured they would progress, eventually losing on the final at Wembley to Sheffield Wednesday who were managed by ex-United boss Ron Atkinson.


Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1: January 1999

Manchester United 1999

The 1998/99 season will always be remembered as the campaign where Manchester United became the first English side to complete the treble of League, FA Cup and Champions League, but that achievement so nearly didn’t happen as Alex Ferguson’s men faced Liverpool in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford in January.

The visitors stunned the home crowd when they took the lead through Michael Owen as early as the third minute and although United had plenty of chances to find the net themselves it appeared that their involvement in that season’s competition would be coming to an end.

However, when Dwight Yorke forced the ball home from a David Beckham free-kick it looked like they would at least gain a replay, but there would be no need as, In the second minute of stoppage time, Ole Gunnar Solskjær hit a shot that sent Liverpool goalkeeper David James the wrong way to give United a famous win.


Manchester United 1 Liverpool 0: January 2006

In his 455 appearances for Manchester United Rio Ferdinand found the back of the net just eight times, but few will be as memorable as his last gasp winner against Liverpool at Old Trafford in January 2006.

With the game locked at 0-0 in the dying seconds the defender proved to be the unlikely match-winner against United’s biggest rivals in a closely-fought battle at Old Trafford as he rose to power a header past Jose Reina in front of the Stretford End, sealing three points for the Red Devils.

Ferdinand hadn’t found the net for United since his move from Leeds United in the summer of 2002, sparking wild celebrations as Gary Neville famously ran the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the stunned Liverpool fans.


Manchester United 3 Liverpool 2: September 2010

A spectacular hat-trick by Dimitar Berbatov gave Manchester United a 3-2 win over Liverpool in the Premier League after his side had thrown away a two-goal lead and seemingly all-three points against their bitter rivals.

After Berbatov’s first two goals in the 42nd and 59th minutes, Liverpool clawed their way back into the game with captain Steven Gerrard scoring twice in a six-minute span – including one from the penalty spot.

But the Bulgarian headed in the winner in the 84th minute at Old Trafford, becoming the first United player since Stan Pearson in 1946 to score three goals in a game against Liverpool.

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