15.04.1989 is a date which Liverpool fans will never forget. 96 fans lost their lives at Hillsborough in the worst disaster in English football. With Hillsborough verdict casting a large shadow over the game on Sunday, THT takes a look at the Liverpoolai??i??s clashes against Manchester United in the 1988-89 season.

The Liverpool team back then was regarded as one of the finest teams in history. They had won the League and FA Cup the previous year and were the favourites to retain the title. Due to the Hillsborough tragedy, the League games were suspended in April and games were extended a couple of weeks after the FA Cup final which Liverpool managed to win the FA Cup against Everton 3-2 in dramatic fashion. The Reds were on course to be the first team to win back to back doubles but fate cruelly intervened and Liverpool eventually lost out to Arsenal on goal difference in the last kick of the game.

Liverpool hosted Manchester United on 3rd September, 1989. The Reds had won 0-3 against Charlton in the previous week and looked to be on good form. United, on the other hand, had been stifled to a goalless draw at Old Trafford against Queens Park Rangers. Liverpool were on top of their perch whilst United were still very much a mid-table team. However as the old adage goes ai???form goes out of the windowai??? in Liverpool vs Manchester United clashes and this time it proved to be no different. The game proved to be a difficult one for The Reds. Sir Alex Fergusonai??i??s men were well organised and did not allow Liverpool freedom on the ball. Liverpool, famed for their pass and move, could not find a way past the Red Devils. The visiting side however conceded a penalty a few minutes before half time and specialist Jan MA?lby stepped up to slot it home to give a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute. The score remained the same until the final whistle as neither team could penetrate each otherai??i??s defence.

The return fixture at Old Trafford prove to be a fantastic match. The match was held on New Yearai??i??s Day. Liverpool had suffered a slump in form and were now only 4 points ahead of their great rivals. After a largely quiet game for the first 70 minutes, the match burst into life when John Barnes opened the score for Liverpool with a deflected shot past keeper Jim Leighton.

United forward Brian Mclair equalised for Manchester United within a minute with a superbly executed volley from a Russel Beardsmore cross. It was end to end stuff now as both teams went for the kill. Mark Hughes gave the hosts the lead with a powerful shot past keeper Bruce Grobbelaar on the 75 minute mark. Russel Beardsmore, who had been excellent throughout the game, put the game beyond Liverpool’s reach with another goal two minutes later. The English champions were shocked with 3 goals in the space of 7 minutes and they were left trailing Arsenal by 9 points with their confidence severely dented.

Matches between the two most successful clubs in English football have always been high on entertainment and drama but the 1988-89 season will remain etched in fansai??i?? memory. If Sundayai??i??s game is anything like 1988-89, then fans will certainly be in for a treat.

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