An unforgettable night in English football
13th April 1988 was the day, when Liverpool displayed one of the finest exhibition of football. It was on a Wednesday night at Anfield where table topper Liverpool took on Nottingham Forest. Forest were 4th but with only 7 games to be played they were already 14 pts behind high flying Liverpool.
Forest boasted the likes of England internationals such as Stuart Pearce, Des Walker, Neil Webb and Nigel Clough. Moreover they finished 3rd that season and reached FA cup semifinal. And Liverpool were sensational the whole season. It wasn’t until 20th March that they tasted their first defeat in league, in Merseyside derby, before which they had an unbeaten streak of an incredible 29 games equalling Leeds United’s record.
Two weeks later they were beaten again, this time it was against Forest. Also a draw at home to 2nd placed Manchester United left Liverpool with a run of just 1 win in their last 5 games, which left many people to doubt if they were capable of lifting the trophy.
But 13th April 1988 cleared their doubts as one of the finest performances in English football’s history was put on exhibition. It was a game where every player gave their best, each player seemed a world beater that evening.
It seemed as if it was a scripted match and all the players were given their specific roles, where they all performed their roles with an unimaginable precision.
In the end Liverpool humiliated Forest with a margin of 5-0. All the goals seemed so effortless that one can ignore the talent and artistry which goes into manoeuvring opponents round the pitch to allow such precision in passing. Liverpool always seemed to have far more players than their opponent. There were also so many options.
After the match Liverpool were 11pts clear of 2nd placed Manchester United with 2 games in hand. They were on 80 pts and United could only gain a maximum 81 pts. They were crowned champions that season, which was their 17th league title 10 days later.
It was a game claimed by many to be ‘the greatest game of the century’ or even by some as the ‘greatest game of football’. And Tom Finney, one of the greatest players to have played in England quoted “I think that was one of the finest exhibition of football I’ve seen the whole time I’ve played and watched the game. I mean it was tremendous; well deserved…the skills and the speed at which the game was played at was absolutely tremendous. I came away thinking I’ve been really entertained, and I’m sure that the spectators here saw an exhibition tonight that will never be bettered, I don’t think. You couldn’t see it be bettered anywhere, not even in Brazil. The moves they put together were fantastic.”
It was the best display from an exceptional season of Liverpool. They were simply brilliant fantastic, fabulous and flawless. The BBC were so much inspired that they showed a special highlights show the following night.