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Bunch of 5s: Memorable opening days

    They say Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. They're wrong, it isn't. This is the most wonderful time of the year, the opening weekend of the football season. Hope abounds, everyone starts the season level and it's a time to dream of what lies ahead. Here's five memorable opening days for the Reds. . .

Crystal Palace 1 Liverpool 6 (20 Aug, 1994)

 

openingday_palace.jpg

 

This was so good because it was so unexpected. With no new signings yet on board (John Scales and Phil Babb would join soon after) and coming off the back of some poor pre-season form, no-one saw this coming. Roy Evans went with a midfield diamond formation to allow Steve McManaman the freedom to roam, and it worked a treat as the shaggy haired scouser ran Palace ragged.

 

A Jan Molby penalty, a typically predatory strike from Robbie Fowler and a brace apiece from McManaman and Ian Rush set the tone for a surprisingly good season in which Liverpool lifted the League Cup and improved their league position to 4th following an 8th placed finish the previous year.

 

 


 

Arsenal 1 Liverpool 2 (15 Aug, 1987)

 

 

openingday_arsenal.jpg

 

Life without Rush got off to the perfect start as Kenny’s new look Reds won at Highbury in their first game of the 87-88 season. The win was the start of a 29 game unbeaten run that brought the title back to Anfield.

 

Aldridge scored first after just 9 minutes but Paul Davis levelled for Arsenal not long after. It appeared that was how it was going to finish until Steve Nicol scored a remarkable winner with two minutes remaining. For many Reds it remains the finest headed goal they’ve seen.

 

Nicol obviously gets the credit for the win, but for me the game clearly turned on it’s head with the introduction of Paul Walsh for Beardsley with five minutes to go. Within three minutes of Walsh’s arrival Nicol had scored the winner, so I’m crediting Walsh even if no-one else is! Admittedly I may be biased (what with him being my all time favourite player and all) and I’m not even sure he touched the ball after coming on, but his mere presence and fantastic hair will have definitely unsettled Arsenal.

 


 

Liverpool 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0 (19 Aug, 1995)

 

 

 

Stan Collymore had arrived at Anfield in the summer of 1995 and was believed to be the ‘final piece of the jigsaw’. He’d been in great demand following a brilliant season at Nottingham Forest and Liverpool beat off interest from Everton to secure his signature. 

 

He had been brought in to partner Fowler, but on opening day Evans opted to leave his precocious young goalscorer on the bench and opted the experienced Rush to partner his club record signing.

 

Things weren’t going Stan’s way against Wednesday and he’d been fairly poor until all of a sudden he sprung into life by wriggling away from two defenders and curling one into the corner from 25 yards with his left foot. The crowd went wild, and Collymore broke down in tears. He showed it was no fluke by scoring an almost identical goal at home to Blackburn a few weeks later.

 


Aston Villa 1 Liverpool 2 (11 Aug, 2007)

 

 

openingday_gerrard.jpg

 

 

Fernando Torres made his Liverpool debut as Rafa Benitez’s men made the trip to Villa Park to kick off the 2007/08 season. The Reds went in front through a Martin Laursen own goal on the half hour mark, but with just three minutes left Jamie Carragher was adjudged to have handled in the box and Gareth Barry buried the penalty to level things up.

 

With the home fans still celebrating Steven Gerrard bought himself a soft free-kick 30 yards from goal, and promptly smashed it into the top corner to spark manic scenes in the away end and secure three points for his team.

 


Liverpool 2 Sheffield Wednesday 0 (14 Aug, 1993)

 

 

 

 

The new boys made an instant impression to give Graeme Souness a dream start to the 1993/94 season. Nigel Clough opened the scoring with a terrific strike that went in off the underside of the bar, and then added a second with a poachers finish in front of the Kop after a towering header by fellow debutant Neil Ruddock was only parried by visiting keeper Kevin Prestman.

 

“He’s red, he’s white, he f***ing dynamite, Nigel Clough, Nigel Clough” sang the Kop. The 20 year old me came out of Anfield that day convinced we were going to win the title and that Clough would live up to his billing as the “new Dalglish”. We actually finished 8th, and sadly Clough was more “Paul Dalglish” than “Kenny”. I’d like to say I’ve learned my lesson since then but I haven’t. If we tonk Southampton on Sunday, just watch my hopes and expectations soar, especially if any of the new signings have a significant part to play in it.

 

Dave Usher


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Routine west ham win, can't remember the year but Michael Owen scored first and I had a 4 timer accumulater up 20 minutes into the new season. Still my biggest ever win odds wise.

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I don't remember that Nicol header at all. Fuck I'm going senile.

I remember the first goal because it was all about the new signings being involved but not the header. Better header than Luis' goal last season.

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The Gerrard free-kick

 

 

fucking hell was that 7 years ago?

 

 

Collymore got in trouble with diadora after that debut. He had signed to them in the summer but instead of wearing their boots, he wore his usual new balance boots but stuck diadora signs on the sides of them. He was caught by the NB on the sole when he scored 

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The Nicol header was unbelievable.

 

My first ever Liverpool game was the first game of the '86/87 season, we beat Arsenal 2-1, Rush and Molby scored and my Dad caught a signed ball Rushie kicked into the Annie Road end.

 

Edit - just checked and I'm talking shite, the Arsenal game was the 3rd game that season, in my defence I was 6 at the time.

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I was at Villa Park that day when Gerrard hit that free kick. The whole end went mental.

 

We took the train that day and had a few pints in Birmingham afterwards while we were waiting for the train. Needless to say, we ended up missing the last direct train to Lime Street, so instead, we decided to head to Crewe and go to Liverpool from there.

 

We arrive at Crewe and we have just over an hour to wait for the last train back to Lime Street. As is the done thing, we head to pub over the road for a pint to pass the time. We're half cut at this point and once again, miss the last train back to Liverpool. Ended up heading to Chester and had to get a costly taxi back to the Wirral from there.

 

One lad, though, had attached himself to our group when we were in Crewe. I assumed he was a mate of one of the lad's I our group because the two were having a good old natter every time I looked over at them. Anyway, I was first out the taxi and the lad I just mentioned from our group was last out because he lived in Greasby. Next home game, I ask him if his mate- the lad we met at Crewe- got home alright. He looks at me, a little confused, and goes: "He wasn't my mate. I'd never met him before in my life before we got to Crewe. He got out the taxi with me when we got to Greasby and asked us 'How do I get to Huyton from here, lad?'"

 

God knows how that lad got home that night.

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I was at Villa Park that day when Gerrard hit that free kick. The whole end went mental.

 

We took the train that day and had a few pints in Birmingham afterwards while we were waiting for the train. Needless to say, we ended up missing the last direct train to Lime Street, so instead, we decided to head to Crewe and go to Liverpool from there.

 

We arrive at Crewe and we have just over an hour to wait for the last train back to Lime Street. As is the done thing, we head to pub over the road for a pint to pass the time. We're half cut at this point and once again, miss the last train back to Liverpool. Ended up heading to Chester and had to get a costly taxi back to the Wirral from there.

 

One lad, though, had attached himself to our group when we were in Crewe. I assumed he was a mate of one of the lad's I our group because the two were having a good old natter every time I looked over at them. Anyway, I was first out the taxi and the lad I just mentioned from our group was last out because he lived in Greasby. Next home game, I ask him if his mate- the lad we met at Crewe- got home alright. He looks at me, a little confused, and goes: "He wasn't my mate. I'd never met him before in my life before we got to Crewe. He got out the taxi with me when we got to Greasby and asked us 'How do I get to Huyton from here, lad?'"

 

God knows how that lad got home that night.

 

That was Fuge 

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