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Match From The Past – The Day Manchester City Almost Won At Anfield

Blues Came Close To Ending Anfield Curse

Soccer - Barclays League Division One - Manchester City v Chelsea - Maine Road Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images

21st December 1991

Anfield is not a place that City have enjoyed visiting over the years, but in 1991, the blues came extremely close to ending their 10-year winless run on the red half of Merseyside. 12 months earlier, the two teams had played out a 2-2 draw. Mark Ward had put City in front, Liverpool came back to lead but a Niall Quinn header in the last minute secured a point for the blues.

The 1991 clash at Anfield came when both teams were both in the top half of the table, with the hosts in 4th place on goal difference only from 5th placed City. The blues had beaten Liverpool at Maine Road earlier in the season when David White scored in each half, however the match wasn’t without controversy.

With City 1-0 up, White’s second half shot hit the underside of the crossbar and appeared to cross the line before bouncing out. White and the City fans celebrated the goal, but Liverpool disputed it and the linesman appeared to rule it out. Moments later, the referee pointed to the centre circle and the goal was given. Steve McManaman pulled a goal back and Dean Saunders would miss a penalty as the blues claimed all three points.

Relive that match here (note the amount of times you hear ‘penalty given’)

There was no such controversy in the return game at Anfield, although White would again haunt the Liverpool defence once more. It was a very windy day on Merseyside and that may have had some bearing on Liverpool’s opening goal. In the 9th minute, Saunders collected the ball and, despite being well outside the penalty area, hit a shot that deceived Tony Coton in the City goal and the ball went past the keeper into the goal.

The blues had chances in the first half through White, but he just couldn’t get a shot on target. Liverpool continued to press forward but the City defence held firm for the remainder of the half to keep the score at 1-0 to the home side.

The second half was a different story and within 3 minutes, City were level. Coton played a long ball forward towards the head of Quinn. The big striker wasn’t challenged and he had the time to cushion a header into the path of White, who only needed one touch to loft the ball over the head of Bruce Grobbelaar and into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

Seven minutes later, City silenced the Anfield crowd and took the lead through White again. There looked to be no danger when Quinn and defender Nick Tanner went for and both missed a ball forward on the right wing. White ran into the space and lobbed the ball over the keeper and, from an impossible angle, the ball hit the post and bounced into the back of the goal.

The travelling faithful were in dreamland; could they finally win at Anfield? The answer sadly was no. The blues kept their lead until the 82nd minute when Steve Nicol drove home an equaliser. City failed to clear their lines effectively from a Liverpool attack and when Mike Marsh crossed from the left, he found an unmarked Nicol who swept it home for 2-2.

That’s how it stayed and for the second successive season, City claimed a point on the red half of Merseyside.

Final Score: Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City