LIVERPOOL 3 CITY 1
League Division 1
19th August 1989
ref Mr D T Phillips
City Dibble, Lake, Hinchcliffe, Bishop, Gayle, Redmond, Oldfield, Allen, Morley, McNab, Gleghorn – Subs White(80) Fleming(unused)
Liverpool Grobbelaar, Hysen, Burrows, Nicol, Whelan, Hansen, Beardsley, Venison, Rush, Barnes, McMahon – Unused Subs Aldridge, Molby
STOPPING John Barnes is probably the toughest task in the English top flight right now.
On Saturday Paul Lake was the youngster charged with `mission impossible’ and he acquitted himself well, before eventually submitting to the winger’s greater powers.
Lake’s fortunes were similar to those of newly promoted City who, after weathering an early storm, briefly threatened an upset before succumbing to their more experienced opponents.
The season had barely begun when Barnes and Peter Beardsley combined brilliantly to tee up Ian Rush.
A close-range tap-in for the Welshman looked certain until Andy Dibble somehow made a miraculous save.
Minutes later there was nothing the City keeper could do to prevent Barnes opening the scoring from the penalty spot after Brian Gayle had handled Beardsley’s shot in the area.
Finding yourself 1-0 down at Anfield with less than 10 minutes gone is a daunting experience for most opponents, never mind a side new to the division.
But Mel Machin’s kids refused to collapse in the face of the Barnes-inspired storm.
Former Everton midfielder Ian Bishop began to get a grip on the centre of the park and it was his run that won a free-kick just outside the box.
Up stepped Andy Hinchcliffe to fire towards goal and – via a deflection off the wall – he found an equaliser.
The look on Kenny Dalglish’s face meant no words were needed to illustrate his displeasure. Although plenty must have been uttered during the interval judging by the way his men upped the tempo in the second half.
City had no response and were left hanging on, with new.£lm striker Clive Allen completely isolated.
On the hour the decisive second goal for the Reds finally arrived.
Dibble again produced heroics to somehow prevent Steve Redmond putting the ball in his own net. But there was nothing he could do when Beardsley pounced to stick away the rebound.
The visitors appeared visibly drained by that moment and in the final minute Barnes again weaved his magic to tee up Nicol for the third.
“We can improve and get better, but even then we might not get three points from every game,” Dalglish said afterwards.
“The players themselves wanted to do better. It doesn’t matter what anybody says, if they don’t want to do something they won’t. “It is difficult to start badly and finish well, but we did it. City deserve credit because they were positive and it is nice to see a team who wants to play like that.”
FROM THE LIVERPOOL PROGRAMME 4TH MAY 2008