In the 1987/88 season, the fortunes of Liverpool and Manchester United were very much reverse of what they are today. The Reds were on top of their perch having just won their 16th league title. Manchester United on the other hand, hadn’t won the first division title for 21 years and had a young manager named Alex Ferguson in charge of his first full season at Old Trafford.
Liverpool was in stunning form, the team unbeaten for 12 games and were tipped to win the game against their neighbours. Form, however goes out of the window during the ‘north-west derby’ and it proved to be no different this time round at Old Trafford. Liverpool opened the scoring thanks to a headed goal from John Aldridge. Steve McMahon made a wonderful run down the right channel and latched on to a delightful chipped ball from Liverpool captain Alan Hansen. McMahon hooked the ball into the penalty area and Aldridge was waiting at the back post. The talismanic forward made no mistake as he buried the ball into the net past a hapless Gary Walsh.
The balance of play was firmly in Liverpool’s favour as they settled into their passing rhythm. Peter Beardsley nearly added a second for The Reds but Manchester United’s goalkeeper ensured that the home team remained in the game going into the second half. The save would prove to be a crucial one as United looked reinvigorated after half time. Norman Whiteside pulled the home team level four minutes into the second half. Manchester United’s leading scorer took advantage of the confusion in the Liverpool penalty area and slotted it between the legs of keeper Bruce Grobbelaar. There seemed to be a hint of a handball from Kevin Moran but the referee ruled in favour of The Red Devils on this occasion. With the game now in the balance, the English champions pushed for a winner and they nearly found a breakthrough thanks to a defensive error from United. However, goalkeeper Gary Walsh was once again there to save the day and Manchester United were able to snatch a point from a formidable Liverpool team.
Liverpool went on the win the season while Manchester United managed to finish in second place. It was after this game that Sir Alex took a vow to knock Liverpool off their perch and hence embarked upon carving his own era wherein Manchester United would eventually go on to win a record 19 Premier League titles. We can only wait and watch whether the two teams’ fortunes will once again be reversed by the sands of time.