ENOUGH of our latest disappointment, we still have plenty to be proud of. As has been proven, set-backs have been there to overcome, and more often than not, this great club bounces back even stronger!
In our history, Liverpool Football Club have made a grand total of 13 FA Cup final appearances, joint third highest with Newcastle United. Despite the Chelsea defeat on Saturday, out of our 13 previous finals the Reds have won 7 FA Cup trophies, a joint fourth highest total with Aston Villa.
Liverpool have been involved in some fascinating and exhilarating finals and despite Saturday’s defeat and poor opening 60 minutes, it still provided some nail-biting moments and drama – if only that linesman wasn’t so eagle-eyed! Anyway, here, we look back at some great memories and choose what I believe to be the top five Liverpool FC FA Cup finals of all time:
1965 FA Cup Final – Liverpool 2 – 1 Leeds United (AET)
The 1965 FA Cup Final brought us Liverpool FC’s first FA Cup Final victory with this coming at their third attempt. The game set out as attack vs defence as Liverpool’s impressive front line took on Leeds’ stalwart defence. The match went to extra time and after 90 minutes of profligacy; Liverpool took just three minutes to score – Roger Hunt stooping to nod home a Gerry Byrne cross. Billy Bremner lashed home a half volley to equalise seven minutes later to give Leeds the chance to go on and win the trophy, however, Ian St John headed home Ian Callaghan’s centre seven minutes from time to give Liverpool their first ever FA Cup trophy.
1986 FA Cup Final – Liverpool 3 – 1 Everton
The first of two Merseyside Derby FA Cup finals in three years, Liverpool took on Everton in front of a packed Wembley crowd of 98,000 scousers.
Gary Lineker put Everton ahead in the first half hour and the Blues dominated for the first sixty minutes of the game, looking comfortable and likely to lift the trophy. Suddenly the game changed, Ian Rush capitalising on a Gary Stevens mistake to equalise. Craig Johnston then turned the game on its head to put Liverpool ahead, slotting from a Jan Molby cross. Ronnie Whelan played in Ian Rush and the striker added his second late on to give Liverpool not only the bragging rights but another FA Cup victory, their third FA Cup win of their history.
2001 FA Cup Final – Liverpool 2 – 1 Arsenal
This FA Cup final was the first one to be played outside of England, with Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium hosting the cup final for the first time since the Old Wembley was closed down for renovation work in 2000.
Arsenal were much the better team throughout and Liverpool seemed content to catch Arsenal on the break; a tactic that paid off eventually. Thierry Henry, the Premier League’s top marksman at the time, was incensed when Liverpool defender Stephane Henchoz appeared to block Henry’s shot off the line with his hand. Referee Steve Dunn failed to spot the incident and did not give the penalty.
The match was filled with half-chances and it took until 72nd minute for the first goal to arrive. Robert Pires played in Fredrik Ljungberg and the Swede rounded Sander Westerveld in the Liverpool goal and put the ball into the empty net to give Arsenal the all-important lead. Liverpool, who had been quiet on the attacking front throughout, knew they had to react. And react they did.
After Arsenal failed to clear Gary McAllister’s free-kick, Michael Owen scored past David Seaman to equalise for the Reds. Then, only five minutes later, and after a superbly weighted long ball from Patrik Berger, Michael Owen outpaced Tony Adams and Lee Dixon to slot past David Seaman and give Liverpool an unlikely FA Cup victory.
1989 FA Cup Final – Liverpool 3 – 2 Everton (AET)
This FA Cup final was not only a Merseyside Derby, not just a match between two great English teams, but this game had a lot more meaning to it. The 1989 FA Cup final took place just five weeks after the Hillsborough disaster where 96 Liverpool fans tragically lost their lives. Both teams wore black armbands and an impeccably observed minute’s silence was held before kick-off to pay respect to those who sadly passed away at Hillsborough.
Liverpool fans were jubilant early on as John Aldridge atoned for his penalty miss in the FA Cup final the year previously by putting the Reds ahead after just four minutes. Kenny Dalglish’s men held on with an assured performance until the 89th minute when substitute Stuart McCall poked home an equaliser which was the catalyst for a pitch invasion of Everton fans. The game went to extra-time.
Ian Rush half-volleyed Liverpool back in front after just five minutes of the second half before that man Stuart McCall equalised again with a spectacular volley past Bruce Grobbelaar.
The game was in the balance, either side could have won. However, Ian Rush, similar to when he dispatched of Everton in 1986, headed in a John Barnes cross to give Liverpool their fourth FA Cup trophy.
2006 FA Cup Final – Liverpool 3-3 West Ham (AET – Liverpool won 3-1 on pens)
One of if not THE greatest FA Cup Final of all time; underdogs versus massive favourites but you wouldn’t have thought so. Before the Carling Cup success earlier this year, this FA Cup victory in 2006 was Liverpool’s last trophy. What a way to get it as well.
After 21 minutes, and without even a shot on goal, West Ham took an unexpected lead. Alonso gave away possession, Lionel Scaloni burst down the right and then his cross was bundled into his own net by an unfortunate Jamie Carragher. Liverpool needed to fight back, however just seven minutes later, and to the shock of everybody in the stadium, West Ham doubled their lead. Matthew Etherington hit a weak shot at Pepe Reina, who inexplicably spilled it and Dean Ashton counted his lucky stars as he put the ball into the empty net.
Liverpool responded well and just three minutes later they had pulled one back. A perfectly weighted ball into the box from Steven Gerrard was met on the volley by Djibril Cisse who made it 2-1. Just ten minutes into the second half, Liverpool were level. Peter Crouch knocked the ball down and Steven Gerrard volleyed home the equaliser. The momentum was with Liverpool, however, 64 minutes in, West Ham re-took the lead. Paul Konchesky’s cross went straight over the head of Pepe Reina and into the net to send the Hammers fans into raptures.
Extra-time couldn’t separate either team as fatigue kicked in and penalties were needed to settle this epic encounter. Didi Hamann, a picture of calm, slotted the first penalty before Reina saved Bobby Zamora’s spot kick. Sami Hyypia then missed to give West Ham a lifeline. The veteran Teddy Sheringham made it 1-1 when he scored his penalty. Steven Gerrard, after the game he had, could do nothing but score. That is exactly what he did. Reina, who turned out to be the hero of the penalty shootout, saved again from Konchesky. John Arne Riise scored to make it 3-1 to Liverpool and with Anton Ferdinand needing to score; Reina pulled off another save to hand Liverpool the FA Cup trophy.
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