Stephen Browett gives his memories on matches against Liverpool down the years that includes good and not so good memories of trips up the M6.
Last season Palace achieved a remarkable league double over Liverpool winning both the home and away games 3-1. In my view our performance at Anfield was one of the very best since we took over the club five years ago. However, nobody expects this game to be anything but a very serious challenge with the Reds looking good under their new manager and after a convincing win at Chelsea last weekend. However, they are only just back from a long away trip that makes our 200 mile journey to Merseyside look like a stroll in the park.
Away games at Anfield have always been special and rare (we only played there once between 1905 and 1970). Liverpool is a wonderful city with unique character and personality and I imagine that many Palace fans have been making a weekend of it, enjoying the sights and some of the city’s classic pubs. “The Philharmonic” has one of the UK’s most outstanding pub interiors, “Ye Cracke” was apparently John Lennon’s local and “The Ship and Mitre” is a real ale benchmark and very popular with Palace fans.
Amazingly, we have scored nine goals in our last three league meetings against Liverpool but nobody is getting over-confident. As an old-school Palace fan I know that Anfield has not always been a happy hunting ground for us. Until May of this year we had only won there once ever in the league – 2nd November 1991. I was there and I remember it as being the highlight of Marco Gabbiadini’s brief Palace career. One nil down at half time, we attacked the Kop in the second half. A lad called Pardew came off the bench and after Gabbiadini's equaliser, Geoff Thomas sealed a famous victory, heading in a corner that had been flicked on by Eric the Ninja.
But, of course, the game at Anfield that every Palace fan of my generation will always remember took place on Tuesday 12th September 1989. It was only our second away game since promotion to the First Division and I remember feeling excited, and quite confident, as we drove up the M6 that afternoon. Unfortunately Liverpool had a truly great team at that time and they destroyed us 9-0. Our heaviest ever defeat and their biggest ever win. It wasn’t even a bad performance from Palace or from our goalkeeper Perry Suckling. We had our best team out including the likes of Gray, Thomas, Wright, Bright and Pardew. It was simply that Liverpool were brilliant that night, eight different players scored including Aldridge, Rush, Beardsley and Barnes. The Palace fans remained in good spirits despite this and there were chants of “We’re gonna win 10-9” after they scored their 9th with 10 minutes still to play. Of course that game made headlines and could have had us spinning to relegation but we bounced back with a useful draw at Southampton the following Saturday and of course had our revenge in the best game of football ever played in the history of the world seven months later.
Sunday's game should see the return from injury of a couple of our players and let’s hope that our recent run of good form against the Reds continues. We were very disappointed to only draw with Manchester United last Saturday after playing so well and a point or three would be the perfect way to head into the international break. COYP !