YNWA takes a look at past memorable League meetings at Anfield as Aston Villa pay their 87th League visit on Saturday. Our record against the Villains is very good, with 54 wins, seventeen draws and only fifteen defeats to date. However, we have only won seven of the last eleven Anfield meetings, although immediately prior to that we experienced just one defeat in 28 home League meetings.
Pepe Reina kept his hundredth clean sheet in the League, in a new club record 198 games as we won 3-0. David N'Gog and Ryan Babel both netted their final reds strikes while Martin Škrtel played his hundredth game for the club. Maxi Rodríguez added the third as ex-reds boss Gérard Houllier was given a warm welcome on his first return to L4. Fernando Torres missed the game as he that day became a father for the second time, to Leo.
We lost 3-1 in August 2009 to bring our run of 31 home League games unbeaten to an end. The visitors opened the scoring when Lucas Leiva inadvertently nodded a free-kick he had conceded past Pepe Reina. Curtis Davies headed in when unmarked at a corner to double the lead. Dirk Kuyt hit the post before Fernando Torres finally reduced the deficit. However, Steven Gerrard then conceded a needless penalty that was converted by Ashley Young.
We won 5-0 in March 2009 with Steven Gerrard bagging his first League treble that included two penalties, meaning that he had successfully converted spot-kicks in three consecutive fixtures. Dirk Kuyt opened the scoring before Albert Riera grabbed his fifth and final reds goal, while Pepe Reina kept his hundredth clean sheet in a club record 197 games. Brad Friedel was sent off for the visitors when conceding the second penalty, although this was later rescinded. Michael Owen netted our 400th Anfield goal in the Premiership as we drew 1-1 in January 2003.
Centre-back Martin Škrtel made his reds debut as a substitute for the injured Álvaro Arbeloa in our 2-2 draw in January 2008, our fourth successive tie in the League. Yossi Benayoun gave us the lead before Villa hit back through Marlon Harewood and a Fábio Aurélio own goal in the space of three minutes. Peter Crouch came off the bench to bag a late leveller. A Mark Delaney own goal was enough to separate the sides in January 2004 as on-loan keeper Paul Jones made his reds debut, becoming our oldest post-war debutant aged 36 years and 267 days.
Fernando Morientes scored his twelfth and final reds goal in our 3-1 win in April 2006, with Steven Gerrard grabbing a brace. Nando's goal was our 300th against Villa in all competitions. This brought us to 48 points from home League games that season, our highest ever tally in a 38-game season. Djimi Traoré made his 141st and last reds appearance in this game. Mauricio Pellegrino played his thirteenth and final reds game as we won 2-1 in May 2005, with Djibril Cissé marking his first start on his return from a broken leg with a brace, including one from the spot, as Igor Bišcan also made his final reds outing, playing his 118th game, with Dietmar Hamann turning out for the reds on the 250th occasion.
Clinching the title in May
In 1979, Alan Kennedy, Kenny Dalglish and Terry McDermott scored as we won 3-0 to secure our eleventh League title. We clinched our next with a 4-1 win in the same fixture the following year. Avi Cohen put through his own net, and then scored his only reds goal at the right end. David Johnson netted twice, to add to a Noel Blake own goal.
September hat-trick heroes & dismissals
In 2000, Michael Owen scored a hat-trick inside the first 33 minutes to hand us a 3-1 win, becoming the first red to notch two first-half hat-tricks in the League. 36 years earlier, Bobby Graham bagged a treble on his League debut, as we thumped Villa 5-1, with Ian Callaghan and Roger Hunt also netting. Steven Gerrard was dismissed in 2001 after scoring in our 3-1 defeat. Jerzy Dudek made his reds bow in this game. Eighteen years before, future red Steve McMahon was sent off for Villa, as Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush scored in our 2-1 win.
Three straight 3-0 wins
We went 3-0 up inside eight minutes in March 1996, through Steve McManaman and two from Robbie Fowler. Bjørn Tore Kvarme made his reds bow in a comfortable 3-0 win in January 1997, as Jamie Carragher opened the scoring with his first ever senior goal in his first start. Stan Collymore and Robbie Fowler were also on target. We also triumphed 3-0 in September of the same year, with Karlheinz Riedle grabbing the third in the final minute to add to strikes from Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler.
All sitting comfortably
Neil Ruddock scored the first goal in front of the newly re-opened seated Kop as we won 3-2 in October 1994, with Robbie Fowler adding a brace.
Dirk Kuyt, Peter Crouch and Luis García all scored in the final third of the first half as we won 3-1 in October 2006, with Dirk's father watching him in a red shirt for the first time. Xabi Alonso reached a century of reds appearances in this game. Michael Owen saw his penalty crash back off the bar but not over the line as we were held to a goalless draw in March 2000. Jamie Carragher was playing his hundredth reds game.
Dave Hickson scored both goals in a 2-1 win against one of his former clubs in November 1959, on his reds debut following his controversial move across Stanley Park. His arrival put an extra 15,000 on the gate as he was treated to a hero's welcome as Villa ended a run of fourteen games unbeaten.
Left-half Jack Bamber and full-back Tommy Lucas both debuted in our 2-1 victory in September 1919, with Fred Pagnam and Donald Mackinlay on target. Romany right-half Raby Howell made his reds bow in our 4-0 win back in April 1898, with inside-forward Frank Becton scoring his 42nd reds goal in his 86th and final reds game and Thomas Robertson, John Walker and Hugh Morgan also netting in our final game of the season.
Ex-Villain Steve McMahon grabbed a late equaliser as we were held 3-3 in September 1986, with John Wark netting twice, including a penalty. We drew 1-1 in May 1983, with Craig Johnston on target after Nigel Spink had saved a penalty from Phil Neal. The referee ordered it to be re-taken, but he then saved his second kick as well!
More momentous wins
We set a new record of sixty consecutive home League games without defeat in November 1980 as Kenny Dalglish struck twice in a 2-1 victory. Our biggest Villa win, 6-1, came in October 1953, despite the scores being level with twenty minutes remaining. Sammy Smyth grabbed a brace to add to goals from Billy Liddell, Bob Paisley and Jimmy Payne, and a Danny Blanchflower own goal.
Jack Balmer bagged a brace with Albert Stubbins and Berry Nieuwenhuys also on the scoresheet as we won 4-1 in December 1946. Balmer was actually netting in his seventh consecutive game, in which time he had struck fifteen times in total. Former hero of both sides of Stanley Park, Fred Geary, presented the visiting side with the match ball from the 1897 FA Cup Final before the game as this had been taken home by the defeated Everton side on the day.
In November 1977, Villa inflicted on us one of just eleven home League defeats throughout the whole of the 1970's, winning 2-1, with the reds benefiting from a Frank Carrodus own goal as Jimmy Case played his hundredth reds game. We were beaten 6-3 in November 1914, with Jimmy Nicholl netting a brace and Tom Miller also on target for the reds. Full-back Bob Crawford played his 114th and final reds game. Villa's 2-1 win in September 1894 was our first ever League defeat, with Harry Bradshaw netting our goal.
Other memorable meetings
Left-back Eddie Spicer netted the first of his two reds goals, with Albert Stubbins and Jack Balmer also on the scoresheet was we were held to a 3-3 draw in December 1947. Sam Gilligan grabbed our consolation in a 2-1 defeat in April 1912 in what was keeper Sam Hardy's 240th and final reds game prior to joining Villa, while Robbie Robinson also turned out for the 271st and last time.