Liverpool v Newcastle: the classic '90s 4-3s revisited

Anfield Night

Liverpool and Newcastle United produced two vintage teams in the mid-1990s, and for two seasons running they produced an Anfield thriller.

With Liverpool unlikely to improve on fifth-place in the Premier League and Newcastle on a run of four consecutive defeats that still sees them five points shy of the traditional 40-point safety mark, the two famous clubs are a long way from the heavyweights that slugged it out in the mid-1990s.

Roy Evans' Spice Boys matched the Kevin Keegan approach of all-out attack as the two became the most entertaining teams in the top-flight, and their Anfield duels in the 1995/96 and 1996/97 seasons have gone down in Premier League folklore.

3rd April 1996 - Liverpool 4 Newcastle United 3

Keegan's Newcastle had squandered a 12-point lead at the top of the table, and with games running out now sat three points behind Manchester United in second place. Liverpool were third before kick-off and maintained title aspirations themselves. It was a thrilling midweek encounter under the Anfield lights and Liverpool started the ball rolling as early as the second minute when Robbie Fowler converted a Stan Collymore cross for his 27th goal of the season.

Newcastle soon turned it around, however, and in typical cavalier fashion were ahead 12 minutes later through Les Ferdinand and David Ginola strikes. A breathless opening gave way to a period of relative calm, until the 55th minute when Fowler levelled for the home side only for Colombian Faustino Asprilla to restore Newcastle's lead and make it 3-2 just two minutes later, with an exquisite curling finish on the run.

It was now that Collymore made his most stunning impact on the Premier League, equalising for Liverpool again on 68 minutes, before exchanging passes with Ian Rush and John Barnes in the penalty area to drill home a back post shot in stoppage time, to break Newcastle hearts and send Anfield wild. The image of Collymore wheeling away in delight while Keegan slumps like a slain dragon in the dugout is one of the most memorable in Premier League history.

10th March 1997 - Liverpool 4 Newcastle United 3

Some of the personnel had changed - Kenny Dalglish had replaced Keegan in the Newcastle dugout - but the result was the same in a remarkable repeat of the same fixture 12 months earlier. This time, however, Newcastle had failed to build on their title near-miss and a rampant Liverpool raced to a 3-0 half-time lead through goals from Steve McManaman, Patrick Berger and Robbie Fowler.

Newcastle looked dead and buried, but they hadn't counted on the assistance of 'Calamity' David James in the Liverpool goal. The Geordies replied with what most thought was a mere consolation goal through a Keith Gillespie shot on 71 minutes which the keeper could only parry. But a hesitant James was at fault twice more as Asprilla (87th minute) and Warren Barton (88th) pulled Newcastle level from nowhere and sent the away end into raptures.

Anfield was stunned, but the rollercoaster of emotions wasn't over yet as history repeated itself to leave the Geordies crestfallen again. At the height of his powers Robbie Fowler was an awesome finisher and he popped up in injury time to head home a Stig Inge Bjornebye cross from close range at the Kop end. It was 4-3 once more and football fans across the nation applauded another stunning game.

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