Arsenal hosts Liverpool on Saturday at Emirates Stadium in a rivalry that has produced plenty of memorable matches over the years. Here are six that captured the imagination of fans at the time.
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6) Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool. 1971 FA Cup Final.
Back in the day winning the double was a huge deal. With the super clubs we have today, it’s far more regular but by 1971 only three teams in history—starting with Preston North End in 1889—had won the FA Cup and the first division title in the same year.
So when Bertie Mee’s Arsenal headed to Wembley to meet Liverpool with a chance to do just that, everything was on the line. In a fashion that would foreshadow the future dramatics of this rivalry, it went down to the wire. Scoreless through 90 minutes, Liverpool went ahead in the second minute of extra time. It took Arsenal 101 minutes to equalize before Charlie George, socks pulled down on a roasting day in London, smashed home the winner in the 110th. His celebration, exhausted and collapsed on the Wembley grass, is an iconic image in Arsenal’s history.
5) Liverpool 3-6 Arsenal. 2007 League Cup Quarterfinals.
With Arsene Wenger’s penchant for blooding the pups in the League Cup and saving the stars for more prestigious competitions, it looked like Arsenal brought a knife to a gun fight at Anfield. Seems Liverpool was out of ammunition as the Gunners’ kids ran riot. So too did Julio Baptista. On loan from Real Madrid, the big Brazilian only scored three goals with Arsenal in the league, but he got three in one game here.
4) Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal. Feb. 8, 2014. Premier League
By the 20th minute, Liverpool was 4-0 up. Martin Skrtel, of all people, had already scored twice. Arsenal—in first place in the Premier League at that point—were completely and utterly shell shocked. The pummelling laid bare Arsenal’s inability to compete with the highest-calibre opposition in the league, even as it showed that Liverpool were suddenly on course for their first real title challenge in years.
3) Liverpool 4-4 Andrei Arshavin. April 21, 2009. Premier League
Arsenal’s most expensive signing at the time, the 15 million Russian only rarely proved himself to be the player Gunners fans wanted him to be. One of the biggest nights of his four-year career in north London was his first trip to Anfield. With Liverpool still in the title hunt, they needed a win. Maybe if Arsenal had one fewer diminutive Russian attackers, Liverpool would have gotten that win.
Instead, what they got was a four-goal walloping by Arshavin that totally overshadowed very good performances by Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun. Liverpool’s title challenge was dealt a blow it never recovered from, and Arsenal fans still revel in the schadenfreude glory that is the image of Arshavin holding up four fingers and shushing the silenced stands at Anfield. If he never scored another goal, he’d be still be an Arsenal fan favourite.
2) Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. April 2008. Champions League Quarterfinals.
After drawing 1-1 in the first leg at the Emirates, the rivals headed back to Liverpool with the sense that Arsenal had lost their opportunity. What ensued was a classic see-saw battle that thrilled to the very end. Arsenal edged ahead through About Diaby after 13 minutes; Liverpool drew level before the break, then went ahead with 20 minutes remaining. Theo Walcott’s searing run to set up Emmanuel Adebayor in the 84th minute seemed to have sealed it for Arsenal on away goals, but Liverpool hit back on a Steven Gerrard penalty and a Ryan Babel insurance strike. Absolutely breathless stuff from both sides.
1) Liverpool 0, Arsenal 2. May 26, 1989. English First Division.
Arsenal needed not just a win at Anfield, but a win by two goals to pry the league title away from Liverpool on the last day of the season. Thanks to Michael Thomas and one of the most dramatic late goals in English football history, they did it.