Liverpool, Manchester And The Best Derbies Of Years Gone By

by | Apr 14, 2018 | Football

This weekend marks Derby Day for both Liverpool and Manchester. In a game weekend that falls between the Champions League quarter final ties between Liverpool and Manchester City, the two teams have their own league intentions too. City could seal the title at home over United and Liverpool could edge closer to guaranteeing Champions League football for another year.

iNostalgia remembers some of the best local derbies before the Premier League era, looking at some of the key games for all sets of fans. Our choice is sure to spark debate, starting with the lunchtime kick off and the Merseyside derby.


A game where Ian Rush was the star of the show and put 4 past Southall, scoring the first hat trick in a Merseyside derby in a league game since Fred Howe for Liverpool in 1935. Mark Lawrenson scored the other goal. There was not much separating the two teams at half time with the score 1-0. But, even at this stage, the score could have been 3 or 4 nil to Liverpool who hit the frame of the goal twice early on. Kenny Dalglish had a goal debatably ruled out for offside.

This would be Bob Paisley’s last season in charge of Liverpool, who went on to win the title and the league cup. Ian Rush was the PFA young player of the year.


This game marked the first time in 20 years that Everton had completed the league double over Liverpool and beat the Reds in the Charity Shield too! Both games also finished 1 – 0. The winning goal was scored by Paul Wilkinson. The season was particularly positive for Everton who, as well as winning the league by 13 points over second place Liverpool, won the Cup Winners Cup, beating Rapid Vienna 3-1.

However, they narrowly missed out on completing the treble, losing 1-0 to Manchester United at Wembley. This period was also marred by hooliganism within the game, where English clubs were banned from competing in European competitions following the tragic events of Heysel that season, which meant Everton could not complete in the European Cup.

European Cup Winners Cup Final. Rotterdam, Holland. Everton 3 v Rapid Vienna 1.
Everton players Graeme Sharp, Kevin Sheedy, Trevor Steven and Andy Gray celebrate with the trophy after the match
15th May 1985.


The people of Liverpool flocked to London in what was the second Merseyside derby in an F.A. Cup Final. The two sets of supporters came together in unity following Hillsborough. John Aldridge gave the Reds an early lead after four minutes and looked like winning the game before Stuart McCall bagged an equaliser with the last kick of the game. Evertonians stormed the Wembley pitch. Extra time was played. Ian Rush, who started the game on the bench, gave Liverpool the lead before McCall brought the teams level again in the 102nd minute, chesting the ball and volleying past Grobbelaar.

The decisive goal came two minutes later as Ian Rush scored again, getting his head on the end of a John Barnes cross. Liverpool would then play Arsenal a few days later, in a first versus second clash to decide the fate of the title. Unfortunately for the Reds, Arsenal got the result they needed.

The Manchester derby will then be awaited by most football fans around the world with games from more recent years being significant too. Many moments stand out, such as Vincent Kompany’s header in 2012, City winning 6-1 at Old Trafford or Robin Van Persie’s injury time winner at the Etihad.

1989 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium
Liverpool 3 v Everton 2 after extra time
Liverpool’s John Aldridge celebrates after scoring the opening goal
May 1989


Denis Law, part of the ‘United Trinity’, alongside Charlton and Best, scored the winning goal in the local derby for the blue half of the city with a backheel in the 80th minute. Crowd trouble followed, with a pitch invasion from United fans, leading to the game being abandoned shortly after.

The Football League decided that the result would stand and the game was not replayed. The result saw Manchester United relegated from the First Division. However a win for United would not have been enough as results elsewhere went against them. Manchester City would finish the season in 14th place while United would win the 2nd Division title a year later and bounce back to top flight football.

Manchester United 0 v. Manchester City 1.
The derby between local rivals ends in a pitch invasion after Denis Law back-heeled in a goal for City.
27th April 1974


Best gave United the lead, scoring in the first minute but the teams went in level thanks to a Colin Bell goal. It was a star performance from the City man, who won a penalty which was converted by Francis Lee after a George Heslop header put the Blues ahead.

Manchester City look to be winning third title in seven seasons, but before 2012 and that famous Aguero goal, they were last crowned champions in 1968. That year saw another title chase between the two clubs which was decided on the last day of the season, with the sides level on points before the final round of games.

City went on to win the league by two points. Although it was not all doom and gloom for the Red Devils, who went on to win the European Cup, becoming the first English club to do so, beating Benfica 4-1 after extra time. The season marked the 10th anniversary of the Munich air disaster and signified how the club had recovered. Best finished joint top scorer of the league and won European player of the year.


The era of the ‘Busby Babes’… United got the season off to a good start, having won the first two games of the season 3-0, against Leicester and Everton. Another three goal winning margin followed. Johnny Berry, Duncan Edwards, Dennis Viollet and Tommy Taylor all scored for United, maintaining an unbeaten run of six games.

Sadly, this was the last local derby before the Munich air disaster. Taylor and Edwards died and Berry never played again. Viollet finished as United’s top goalscorer in all competitions that season. United reached the European Cup semi finals, going out to A.C. Milan and finished as runners up in the F.A. Cup final, losing to Bolton Wanderers 2 – 0.

Bournemouth here we come! Manchester Utd. players after leaving Euston, London.
March 1957.

Many games could have featured in this list but we narrowed it down to three games from both local derbies. What are your memories? Tell us your stories as we would love to hear them, regardless of allegiances!