In the fifth our festive series, City record a rare Anfield win on Boxing Day 1981...
Where and when?
Liverpool 1-3 Manchester City
Anfield, 26 December 1981
City XI: Corrigan, Ranson, McDonald, Reid, Bond, Caton, Reeves, Francis, Hartford, Hutchison, Kinsey
Playing Liverpool at home or away was a singularly miserable experience for any City fan during the mid-to-late 1970s.
The Merseysiders dished out thrashings to the Blues as a matter of course and, if anything, Maine Road was the happier hunting ground for Liverpool than Anfield was – though the end result was almost always a Liverpool victory.
City travelled to Liverpool on Boxing Day 1981 expecting little but hoping nonetheless. The previous seven meetings had all ended in defeat with one goal scored and 24 conceded – but Liverpool were having an uncharacteristically sticky patch and went into this game in 12th – five places lower than John Bond’s City.
If ever there was a chance for revenge, this was surely it.
City, on this occasion, would not disappoint.
After Asa Hartford’s header was harshly ruled out in front of the Kop, the excellent Scot drove City forward again and soon after he was celebrating a goal that did stand as he robbed Phil Thompson in the six yard box and span away to plant a low drive past Bruce Grobbelaar.
After the break, the Blues doubled their lead after Thompson pushed a fierce drive from Kevin Reeves over the bar and a penalty was awarded. There was no red card brandished for such offences back then but Kevin Bond punished the Reds by drilling home from the spot – his first for City.
Liverpool reduced the arrears on 82 minutes when Ronnie Whelan drilled a low drive past Joe Corrigan to set up a nervy ending.
But the Blues stood firm and in the dying moments Kevin Reeves’ clever back flick beat Grobbelaar who managed to palm it on to the post but the rebound went in off the South African to complete a famous 3-1 win.
What it meant
City moved up to fourth in Division One, two points behind leaders Swansea while Liverpool were just seven points clear of the relegation places.
A 2-1 win over Wolves two days later put the Blues top of the table so Bond’s side ended the year as the leaders – but just five wins in the remaining 22 games, City ended the campaign in tenth while Liverpool took 63 out of a possible 75 points to claim the title! And the return at Maine Road? City 0, Liverpool 5 – normal service had been resumed…