With Momo Sissoko scoring Liverpool’s 7000th league goal in the 2 – 0 win at Sunderland in 2007, I started thinking about some of my all time favourite Reds goals. I started writing them down and before long I had quite a nice list. I then started to think about each goal and came up with my ten favourites. Of course there are many classics to choose from so it was very difficult to come up with just ten for this list. However after a long thought and eliminating some crackers I was able to come up with a list I am happy with and all ten goals bring back great personal memories.
I was born in December 1977 so I’m not including any of the classics from the 1970’s. The earliest goal in my list is from 1987. The first season I fully remember vividly is 1985/86 but I declined to include any strikes from that season. Although Kenny Dalglish’s 20 second wonder goal at Goodison Park almost made it in. I own many video tapes and DVD’s featuring so many classic goals from earlier than 1987 but I have declined to include any goals that don’t have personal memories attached to them. There are many truly superb strikes (many from Terry McDermott and Graeme Souness) that didn’t make my top ten purely because I just don’t remember them at the time.
I didn’t include any goals from Ian Rush in my list. There was a few that I considered such as his goals in the F.A. Cup Finals versus Everton. While there are tons of memorable and important goals from Rushie I wasn’t able to include any in my top ten. I make no apologies for including two goals from Robbie Fowler and to be honest I could have written a separate article with my top ten Fowler goals! I’ve also included two from Steven Gerrard. I’m sure you’ll be able to guess which two I’ve chosen and why. There was another goal from Gerrard that I tried to include but I couldn’t dislodge any of the others from my list. This was his long range effort against Middlesbrough in April 2005, which I think is probably his greatest ever goal. It meant so much to me because it was the last goal I saw in person at Anfield before I moved to Canada just five days later.
I’m sure you will all have your own personal favourite all time Liverpool goals and this is a subject that is open to great debate. Some of your own favourites may be included in my list and some of them won’t. You may even think that some of the players listed scored better goals than the ones that I have chosen. A person’s age can also determine their own personal favourites too. I’m sure if my dad made a list of his favourites most of them would be from the 60’s and 70’s when he stood on The Kop week in and week out. Whatever you think of my list, I’m sure that you’ll agree that these are all superb goals, each with their own special memories.
The list is in date order starting with the earliest to the most recent. I decided not to rank them because it was just too difficult. Each goal was important for its own reason and all deserve an equal billing. So here we go it’s time to start my personal top ten favourites beginning with a classic from when I was nine years old.
1: John Barnes – VS Queens Park Rangers, September 1987
Barnes had joined in the summer of 1987 for £900,000 along with Peter Beardsley who was a club record of £1.9 million. As we all know they turned out to be two of the best summer signings in the history of the club. I shudder to think how much it would cost to buy two players of this quality today.
Due to a collapsed sewer under The Kop, John Barnes Anfield debut was postponed until September. His efforts on the road led to great anticipation amongst the fans as word of his displays on the wing began to be circulated. When he finally made his debut against Oxford Utd we weren’t disappointed as Barnes played well and scored. It was in his next home game against QPR that he scored my favourite of his many superb goals for Liverpool.
We won 4 – 0 that day and Barnes scored two superb goals. His first was a beautiful run into the box and a one two pass before firing past David Seaman. It was his second goal that day that I’ve chosen. I still remember the first time I saw this goal on Match of the Day that night. Every time I see this goal I’m transported back to being a kid again and it continues to impress me again and again. Barnes won the ball inside his own half and then went on a fantastic run towards the goal. As he got to the edge of the box he jinked past a couple of defenders before slotting the ball home with perfection in front of The Kop. I believe that it was this performance that made him a true Kop Idol, which he remains to this day.
2: John Aldridge – VS Arsenal, January 1988
For my next choice I’ve gone with another superb goal from the 1987/88 season. However unlike my previous choice this goal was the result of superb teamwork. There were so many highlights from this season and so many phenomenal goals, many of which came from the trio of Aldridge, Beardsley and Barnes. Even if one of those three didn’t actually score the goal themselves it’s a very high chance they were heavily involved in its creation. This goal is a great example of the teamwork, heart and desire that we showed in that season.
During a goal scoring chance in front of The Kop the ball was cleared away towards the crowd by an Arsenal defender. Steve McMahon and Tony Adams both gave chase with McMahon arriving first and trapping the ball on the touchline. His running took him into the advertising boards and within a split second he managed to turn around and get the ball past the oncoming Adams. He carried the ball another few yards before passing to Peter Beardsley on the edge of the area. Beardsley then crossed the ball low for John Aldridge to slide in and tap it into the back of the net.
3: Robbie Fowler – VS Aston Villa, March 1996
The Growler scored two goals within the first few minutes of this game. His second goal from this match is pretty famous and is the goal I’ve chosen next in my top ten. This is possibly my favourite ever Fowler goal. He scored loads of spectacular goals for Liverpool but this goal has always stood out for me.
It was away at Villa Park and Robbie came out flying straight from the kick-off. He scored really on and then minutes later he added a second with an absolute beauty. I’m sure you’ve seen this goal many times. He got the ball way outside the area with his back to goal. He then cheekily nutmegged, Steve Staunton with a back heel, leaving him standing like a ghost, before smashing the ball into the top corner. That game was televised live on Sky on a Sunday afternoon and I had stupidly booked a driving lesson at the same time as the game. Fortunately my instructor was fifteen minutes late so I didn’t miss the Fowler blitz! When I told my driving instructor, who was an Evertonian, what had just happened, he had to come into the house and see the score with his own eyes!
4: Stan Collymore – VS Newcastle United, April 1996
This goal wasn’t as visually spectacular as my previous choice but it almost lifted the roof off Anfield when it went in. It was the winning goal in the classic 4 – 3 win later dubbed ‘The Game of the Decade.’
At the time Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle where involved in a battle with Man Utd for the Premiership title. Newcastle had somehow managed to blow a huge lead in the league and arrived at Anfield on a Monday night at a crucial stage in the season. My dad used to play darts on a Monday night so I remember being stuck watching in the spare room at my parent’s house, sat on a hard wooden chair watching on a dodgy portable T.V.
Fowler and Collymore both scored two goals each in this back and forth epic. It was Collymore’s second in injury time that I’ve chosen for my top ten purely because of how much it meant at the time. I remember falling out of the chair and running into the street with excitement. I’ll never forget Keegan’s shell shocked face as his head went down with the realisation of what had just happened.
5: Gary McAllister – VS Everton, April, 2001
When we signed the ageing Gary McAllister on a free transfer nobody would have believed just how important he would be to the side as we raced to the treble. During the latter stages of the season he seemed to score in every game and some of those goals were immensely important. He scored the winning penalty (past a young Pepe Reina) at Anfield in the UEFA Cup semi final against Barcelona. He repeated this with another penalty in the final against Alaves, a game in which he was also the Man of the Match. He also took the crucial free kick in extra time that led to the golden goal that won us the trophy.
The goal I have chosen from McAllister is his long range free kick in the dying seconds of a cracking derby at Goodison Park. I remember watching this game with my dad at a neighbour’s home where we had gone for drinks because it was on a long weekend. Incidentally these particular neighbour’s were all rabid Evertonian’s so the atmosphere was great and the banter flowing in a hilarious style that only Scousers do so well.
It was an entertaining game and it looked to be heading for a 2 – 2 draw when we got a free kick in the dying seconds. Surely this was to be our last chance to snatch the victory. Everyone in the room was expecting McAllister to float the ball in to the box because it was so far away from the goal. However I saw the look in his eye as he put the ball down and said; “he’s gonna hit this”. My prediction was correct as it sailed straight into the bottom corner of the Everton goal. The Liverpool fans, the bench and the players went absolutely beserk and me and my dad matched them well as we trampled over the Bluenose’s furniture wagging our fingers in their faces! This was an extremely crucial win as we needed every point we could get on our chase for that crucial third Champions League place. This victory, and that goal, gave us that extra bit of confidence we needed for the exciting climax to the treble season.
6: Michael Owen – VS Arsenal, F.A. Cup Final, May 2001
The 2001 F.A. Cup Final is often called ‘The Owen Final’ thanks to his two late goals to win the trophy for Liverpool.
Arsenal had battered us for the majority of the game and were deservedly 1 – 0 in the lead with just minutes remaining. Unfortunately for Arsenal these were the days before Michael Owen became injury prone and was an incredible match winner, especially in big games. He scored from a corner to level the game and then came the winner with one of my favourite goals ever.
My mates and I barely had time to discuss the first goal when Berger hit a long ball over Arsenal’s midfield. We saw Owen sprinting onto it but thought that clearly Adams and Dixon easily had him covered. How wrong we were as the entire season flashed before our eyes when the ball crept past Seaman and into the corner of the net. Oh my god, the house went insane as my mate Pat and I burst out the patio doors and into the garden, shirts flying in the air, dancing in jubilation. Incredible scenes that never seemed to end as the music was blasted the cans of ale were cracked open and the party just went on and on.
7: Robbie Fowler – VS Deportivo Alaves, UEFA Cup Final, May 2001
My next choice was another goal from another dramatic cup final played just four days after the F.A. Cup Final. This was in the incredible 5 – 4 win over Alaves in the UEFA Cup Final, which I watched in a crowded pub in West Derby Village, Merseyside with my dad and his mates.
Twenty minutes to go with the score locked at 3 – 3 and onto the pitch to replace the hapless Emile Heskey comes Fowler. Loud cheers and God chants mixed with adults only insults directed at Heskey go up round the pub. The arrival of The Growler combined with Alaves taking off their most dangerous player Javi Moreno, seemed to give us a second wind as we began to create more opportunities. Then the ball fell to McAllister who played a tremendous ball through the Alaves defense. Fowler picked up the ball on the edge of the box and we all shouted for him to pass to Owen who was free in the area, instead Fowler decided to shoot and absolutely buried it in the corner. The pub descended into absolute mayhem. My dad was in the bathroom at that moment and came running out the bathroom in time for the replay describing scenes of men peeing on themselves in a rush to see what all the screaming was about. My own reaction was to stand still on the spot, arms in the air screaming “Fowler, Fowler, Fowler” over and over again for about a minute as fellow fans shook me out of it and a lady standing in front of me stared like I’d just farted in front of The Queen!
8: Steven Gerrard – VS Olympiakos, December 2004
I was tempted to include the header in Istanbul because it was the catalyst for the greatest comeback in history. However I had to go with his cracker against Olympiakos in the final group game. I chose this goal because without it there would have been no Istanbul and possibly no more Gerrard at the end of that season. I was waiting for my flight back to Liverpool, having spent the previous two years globe trotting around Australasia and Thailand. I was sitting in the airport bar nursing the one drink I could afford and a plate of fries a generous fellow passenger had bought me. I was in my Liverpool shirt surrounded by American businessmen just watching ESPN with no sound. I couldn’t believe my luck when the Liverpool VS Olympiakos game came on the T.V, as I had arrived at the airport several hours early for my flight due to lack of funds. I asked for the volume to be turned up and sat back to watch an incredible match.
I remember my loud, boisterous enthusiasm throughout the game began to attract the attention of the American businessmen who began to watch it with me. Just like all Reds fans around the world my chest was full of butterflies when the clock was ticking down and the score stood at 2 – 1 which wasn’t enough to qualify for the knockout stages.
When Gerrard’s winner flew in, it was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I jumped out of my seat and ran around the bar like a lunatic before exchanging high fives with the American’s. They ended up buying me drinks afterwards because they’d been so entertained by my antics during the game.
I’m not the biggest fan of Andy Gray’s commentary but his scream of; “You beauty, what a hit son”, will go down as one of the best ever for any Liverpool goal. Unfortunately Gray kind of ruined the moment a few days later when he apologised for his comment in his Everton column in the Liverpool Echo.
9: Luis Garcia – VS Juventus, April 2005
Lil’ Luis was a frustrating player at times but nobody can deny that he was a man who truly shone on the big occasions, especially in European games. His goals on the run to Istanbul in 2005 are truly the stuff of legend. Without doubt his finest goal for Liverpool was the stunning volley against Juventus. In fact this goal was recently voted his best ever goal in a recent poll on the official Liverpool website.
I remember being at work and getting a text off my friend when the draw was made. My first thought was that we probably didn’t have much chance but it would be no shame to lose to Juventus. At that point I was already overjoyed to have beaten Bayer Leverkusen in the previous round, thanks in part to three Garcia goals.
Garcia’s goal capped off an incredible first half that night against the giants of Turin. Sami Hyppia gave us the lead with a lovely volley from a corner. In the process winning my dad £200 after he placed a £10 bet at odds of 20 – 1 on Hyppia to score the first goal. Then came Luis’s moment of history with an unstoppable volley that flew past Buffon and straight into the top corner. It was a goal that deserved to win any game and it was at that precise moment that I started to believe that we might actually be capable of winning the trophy that year.
10: Steven Gerrard – VS West Ham United, F.A. Cup Final, May 2006
The first F.A. Cup Final at the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff, is known as the ‘Owen Final’ and the last one is known as the ‘Gerrard Final.’
Stevie G scored two fantastic goals in what is probably the best ever F.A. Cup Final. His first was to level the game at 2 – 2. He latched onto a knock down from Crouch to volley an unstoppable thunderbolt into the top corner. But the best was still to come.
With the ninetieth minute rapidly approaching, West Ham kicked the ball out of play when Cisse went down injured. We immediately passed the ball back to the West Ham keeper, Hislop, who proceeded to give us the ball straight back. The ball suddenly fell to Gerrard about thirty yards from goal. Just minutes earlier Stevie had been lying on his back with cramp getting stretched by Riise. It was now do or die as Gerrard went for goal with a first time shot which would surely be the last chance of the game. At the time it was almost like watching in slow motion as the ball flew into the bottom corner of the goal. It was like one of those cliché’d sporting moments with the winning goal/basket/touchdown/home run in the last minute filmed in slow motion. I still can’t believe that it went in. It was an amazing goal and I truly believe that Steven Gerrard is the only player that could have done it.
Despite suffering cramp Gerrard was able to score in the penalty shoot out and help us win the trophy. His second goal in open play that day surely must be ranked as the greatest goal ever in an F.A. Cup Final.