#FlashbackFriday - Man City v Liverpool: Part Two - 1920 to 1962
(Part One covering 1893 to 1915 can be found here)
The first meeting between the two sides since the end of the First World War came in March 1920. With nine games left to go of the 1919/20 season, Liverpool stood in third place but eight points behind league leaders West Brom. Man City were three points behind in seventh. A goal for Harry Chambers one minute before half time gave Liverpool a 1-0 victory. The sides met again one week later at Hyde Road. A crowd of 40,000 turned out for the game. Harry Chambers gave Liverpool the lead, however two second half goals for Horace Barnes meant a 2-1 victory for Man City. Liverpool finished 1919/20 in fifth place, while Man City were three points behind in seventh.
In 1920/21, the two sides met for the opening game of the season at Anfield. A crowd of 45,000 turned out at Anfield, where two goals for Tom Miller earned Liverpool a 4-2 victory. The two sides met exactly a week later at City’s Hyde Road home, in front of another 40,000 crowd. A hat-trick for Tommy Browell gave City a 3-2 victory. Man City finished the season in second place, five points behind Champions Burnley, while Liverpool were three points behind City in fourth place. In 1921/22, City came to Anfield two games in the 1921/22 season. The match took place at 6PM on a Wednesday evening in front of a crowd of 27,000. Two goals for Billy Matthews on his debut gave Liverpool a 3-2 victory.
The return fixture at Hyde Road took place exactly a week later. Harry Chambers put Liverpool ahead on the half hour. With twenty minutes to go, Billy Murphy equalised for Liverpool, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw. Liverpool finished the season as League Champions with a six point gap over second place Spurs. Man City however finished tenth. Throughout the 1922/23, Liverpool’s home and away fixtures against other First Division sides were played over consecutive weeks. Both games against Man City came in late March. The first game took place at Hyde Road in front of a crowd of 40,000. At the time, Liverpool had a four point lead at the top of the table over second place Sunderland.
A goal for Horace Barnes after nine minutes gave City a 1-0 win. The return fixture came a week later at Anfield, where Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners. By the close of the season, Liverpool retained their league title with another six point gap, this time over second place Sunderland. Man City meanwhile finished the season in eighth place. In 1923/24, again Liverpool played Man City over consecutive weeks, this time in January. Man City stood in twelfth place, while Liverpool had slumped to sixteenth place. The first game took place at the new home of Man City, where they would remain for the remainder of the twentieth century – Maine Road. A goal for Harry Chambers gave Liverpool a 1-0 victory. The following week the two sides played out a 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Man City finished the 1923/24 season in eleventh place, while Liverpool finished with one point less in twelfth place. In 1924/25, the two sides met three games into the season at Anfield. After trailing 1-2 at half time, Liverpool ran out 5-4 winners – a game in which the Liverpool Echo’s report referred to as: ‘the most startling game of the season’. Liverpool’s journey to Maine Road came in January in front of a crowd of 30,000. Liverpool stood sixth, while Man City were three points behind in ninth. Four goals for Frank Roberts gave Man City a 5-0 victory. Liverpool finished the season fourth, while Man City were in tenth place.
In 1926/27, Man City came to Anfield in mid-October ten games in with just two wins to their name and languishing in seventeenth position. Liverpool meanwhile were ninth. A crowd of 31,073 turned out for a 2-1 victory for Liverpool. By the time of the return fixture at Maine Road in late February, Man City languished second from bottom of the table with twelve games left to play while Liverpool stood tenth. A crowd of 45,699 saw Liverpool take the lead after five minutes with a goal from Dick Forshaw. A Man City equaliser however saw the match end in a 1-1 draw. Liverpool finished 1926/27 in sixth place. Man City however ended the term second from bottom of the table and relegated to the second tier.
City spent two seasons outside of the top tier before returning at the end of 1927/28 as Second tier Champions. In 1928/29, the first meeting between the two sides for over two and a half years came three days before Christmas 1928. After nineteen games, Liverpool stood eleventh. One point behind were Man City with two games in hand. A crowd of 19,738 turned out at Maine Road to watch the clash, to witness a 3-2 away win for Liverpool. The return fixture at Anfield came on the final day of the season. One point separated the two teams with Liverpool in fifth, while Man City stood seventh. A crowd of 21,093 witnessed a 1-1 draw.
In 1929/30, the two sides met in late October at Anfield. After ten games Man City stood fourth, while Liverpool were eleventh. A crowd of 39,009 saw Man City run out 6-1 winners, with two goals apiece for Eric Brook, Tommy Johnson and Tommy Tait. The return fixture at Maine Road came at the start of March. With thirteen games of the season left to play, Man City stood third and six points behind league leaders Sheffield Wednesday. Liverpool meanwhile stood in eighth place. In front of a crowd of 29,973, Man City kept themselves within contention for the title with a 4-3 win. City finished the season third, but thirteen points off of Sheffield Wednesday who secured the title. Liverpool meanwhile finished twelfth.
In 1930/31, Man City came to Anfield languishing in nineteenth place with just three wins from twelve. Liverpool on the other hand stood eighth. A crowd of 17,893 saw Man City run out 2-0 winners. The return fixture at Maine Road came at the start of March. With ten games left to go Man City were fourth, but nine points behind League leaders Arsenal. Two points behind them were Liverpool in sixth place. In front of a crowd of 20,706, City took a first half lead, however twenty minutes from time Liverpool’s South African striker Gordon Hodgkinson equalised with the game ending in a 1-1 draw. By the end of the season however, both Man City and Liverpool dropped to eighth and ninth in the table respectively.
The following November, Man City came to Anfield for the first meeting between the two sides in the 1931/32 season. After fifteen games, Liverpool stood sixth while Man City languished in fourteenth place. A crowd of 24,704 witnessed a 4-3 victory for Liverpool. The return fixture at Maine Road came at the start of April with seven games left to play. The two sides were separated by goal average with Man City tenth and Liverpool in eleventh. A crowd of 23,281 witnessed a 1-0 victory courtesy of a goal from Gordon Gunson. Liverpool finished the season tenth, while Man City finished fourteenth.
In 1932/33, after eleven games Liverpool stood thirteenth with four wins to their name. Man City meanwhile were anchored to the foot of the table. A crowd of just 11,957 turned out at Maine Road for the game. Liverpool took a first half lead, however a second half equaliser from City meant that the points would be shared. The following March, by the time Man City came to Anfield they were two points above the relegation zone in eighteenth place, while Liverpool were thirteenth. The two sides played out another 1-1 draw. By the end of the season, two points separated the two sides with Liverpool finishing fourteenth, while Man City came sixteenth.
The first meeting between the two sides in 1933/34 came nine days before Christmas at Maine Road. Man City stood in fifth place and three points behind League leaders Arsenal. Liverpool meanwhile were twelfth. Liverpool took the lead with a goal from Berry Nieuwenhuys (one of four South Africans in the Liverpool side). In front of a crowd of 13,815, goals from Alex Herd and Fred Tilson secured a 2-1 victory for Man City. The return fixture at Anfield took place on the final day of the season. Man City were sixth however some thirteen points off of Arsenal who were already crowned League Champions. Liverpool meanwhile were eighteenth and three points above Chelsea in the relegation zone, who had two games in hand.
Liverpool secured the points with a 3-2 victory in front of a crowd of 19,924, with the winning goal provided by Adolphe Hansen (the son of a Norwegian seaman who changed his name to ‘Alf’ to avoid association with the growing notoriety of the leader of the German Third Reich!). Second string goalkeeper Elisha Scott had announced his retirement before the game. Though he didn’t play in the game itself, he did get the chance to address the crowd before the game, stating: ‘We have always been the best of friends and shall always remain so. I have finished with English association football. Last, but not least, my friends of the Kop. I cannot thank them sufficiently. They have inspired me. God bless you all’. The victory secured Liverpool’s top flight survival, but led to the relegation of Newcastle United instead.
Man City’s next visit to Anfield came the following September, two games into the 1934/35 season. Liverpool took the lead with a goal from Gordon Hodgson after two minutes. However goals from Eric Brook, Bobby Marshall and an own goal from Tiny Bradshaw meant a 3-1 victory for City. The two sides met again exactly a week later. In between those two games, Liverpool suffered a 1-8 thrashing away at Arsenal. Liverpool however ended a poor week with a 2-1 victory, despite a penalty miss from Gordon Hodgson, who made amends by bagging a goal. Man City finished the season fourth, however were ten points behind
Champions Arsenal, while Liverpool finished seventh (beneath Grimsby Town in fifth place on goal average!).
In 1935/36, the two sides again met twice inside a week at the beginning of the season. The first meeting came two games in at Anfield. Goals for Eric Brook and Fred Tilson gave City a 2-0 victory in front of a crowd of 32,449. The following Saturday, Liverpool battered neighbours Everton 6-0 at Anfield. Despite this, at Maine Road it would be Liverpool who would be hit for six. Among the goals for City would be future Liverpool player and Man United boss Matt Busby, as City ran out 6-0 winners. The following week however, Liverpool made amends with a 7-2 victory over Grimsby Town. That season Liverpool would avoid relegation by three points and finishing nineteenth. Man City meanwhile finished ninth.
It would be over eighteen months before Man City and Liverpool would meet again, this time over Easter weekend in late March 1937. Man City stood seventh and five points behind league leaders Arsenal, but with two games in hand. Liverpool meanwhile languished in seventeenth place and five points off of the relegation zone having played one game more. A hat-trick for Eric Brook gave City a thumping 5-0 away win. After a 2-0 win for Liverpool over Man United and a 2-2 draw for City away at Bolton Wanderers, the return fixture at Maine Road came on Easter Monday. Fred Howe gave Liverpool the lead, however City again thumped Liverpool with a 5-1 win. That result kicked off a run of seven straight victories which swept Man City to their first ever top flight league title. Liverpool meanwhile avoided relegation by finishing eighteenth and three points clear of the relegation zone.
The two sides met again in mid-November. Man City stood in tenth place, while Liverpool with just four wins out of fourteen were twentieth. Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners in front of a crowd of 28,111. The return fixture took place at Anfield at the end of March 1938. City had now sunk to second bottom of the table with six games left to play. Liverpool were just six points above them in sixteenth place. Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners. Reigning Champs Man City incredibly finished the 1937/38 season relegated after finishing second from bottom of the table (only kept off of the bottom by goal average). This is all the more incredible as City were the top scorers for the division and only sixteen points off of league champions Arsenal. Liverpool meanwhile finished five points above City in eleventh.
With the twin effects of relegation and the Second World War, the two sides never met again until the 1947/48 season, after City came back up as champions of the old Second Division. Liverpool on the other hand were reigning Champions after securing the title after a back log of fixtures during the month of June. Defending Champions Liverpool went to Maine Road in late November one place beneath tenth place Man City by goal average. A crowd of 40,093 saw Man City take both points with a 2-0 victory. The return fixture came in mid-April. Man City stood in ninth place, with a three point margin over Liverpool in twelfth. In front of a crowd of 39,348, the two sides played out a 1-1 draw.
Man City finished the 1947/48 season tenth, one place ahead of Liverpool in eleventh place by goal average. In 1948/49, Liverpool journeyed to Maine Road to face Man City in Mid-November. The Reds eleventh in the old First Division table, just one point behind Man City in tenth. Two goals for Cyril Done helped Liverpool to a 4-2 victory in front of 22,775 fans, with all four Liverpool goals coming in the first half. The return fixture at Anfield came in early April. Man City stood sixth and five points ahead of Liverpool in tenth. A goal for George Smith gave Man City a 1-0 away win in front of 31,389 spectators.
The last meeting between the two sides during the 1940s came in early November 1949. After fourteen games, Liverpool stood in second place, one point behind league leaders Wolves. Man City meanwhile were two points above the relegation zone in eighteenth place. A crowd of 50,536 turned out at Anfield saw Liverpool romp home to a 4-0 win with two goals for Billy Liddell. The return fixture came the following March at Maine Road. A week earlier, Liverpool had secured their first ever Wembley final on the very same ground with a 2-0 win over Everton in the FA Cup Semi Final.
Liverpool by now had slipped to fourth, four points behind League leaders Man United, while Man City were only kept off of the bottom of the table by goal average. Liverpool again ran out 2-1 winners in front of a crowd of 22,661. Liverpool finished 1949/50 in eighth place and lost the FA Cup Final at Wembley to Arsenal. Man City meanwhile dropped into the second tier after finishing second from bottom of the table. In 1950/51, the Blues came back up to the top flight as a result of finishing runners up in the old Second Division. Both meetings between the two sides for the 1951/52 season came over Easter Weekend in mid-April 1952. Liverpool stood in sixth place, while Man City were thirteenth.
The first meeting came on Good Friday at Maine Road, where Liverpool ran out 2-1 winners. The following day, Liverpool headed across town to Old Trafford, where they suffered a 0-4 defeat to top of the table Man United in the running for their first title in over four decades. On Easter Monday, Man City headed to Anfield to face Liverpool. City ran out 2-1 winners in front of a crowd of 34,404 fans. While Man United secured the title, Liverpool finished eleventh, while Man City came fifteenth. In 1952/53, Liverpool headed to Maine Road five games into the season in early September.
In front of a crowd of 42,965, Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners. The return fixture at Anfield came in mid-January. By this point, Liverpool were fourteenth while Man City sat rock bottom of the table. A goal for Johnny Hart gave Man City a 1-0 win in front of a crowd of 41,191. By the close of the season, Man City avoided relegation by a single point to finish twentieth, while Liverpool finished with one point more in seventeenth. In 1953/54, Man City came to Anfield in early November. Liverpool had won just four games from sixteen and were languishing in sixteenth place. Man City however were just one point behind but languishing second from bottom. The two sides played out a 2-2 draw.
The return fixture at Maine Road came exactly five months later in early April. Liverpool were now rock bottom of the league table, while Man City hovered just one point above the relegation zone in eighteenth place. A crowd of just 13,593 turned out for a rearranged Wednesday 3PM kick off. Two goals for Brian Jackson gave Liverpool’s hopes of survival a much needed boost with a 2-0 victory. Man City were sucked further into the mire, but Liverpool were still five points adrift of safety with five games left to play. The Reds were dealt a further blow the following Saturday after suffering a 0-3 loss away to Arsenal. Over the Easter weekend, a 0-1 home defeat to Cardiff City confirmed their relegation.
Ironically, Man City’s position in the top flight had been saved by a 4-1 win over second from bottom Middlesbrough which confirmed the latter side would be joining Liverpool in the second tier for the 1954/55 season. Liverpool finished the season rock bottom, however Man City had a seven point cushion from safety in seventeenth. There would be no quick return to the top flight for Liverpool, who ended up in the second tier for the next eight seasons. In the interim there would be one meeting between the two sides in February 1956 in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Maine Road. At the time, Liverpool stood eighth in the old Second Division, having suffered a 0-4 defeat away to Plymouth Argyle the week before.
70,640 people turned out for the tie, which ended in a 0-0 draw at a snowbound Maine Road. The replay took place the following Wednesday. Despite the game kicking off at 2.45PM, a crowd of 57,528 turned out for the game. A last minute goal for Joe Hayes secured Man City’s passage to the Quarter Finals with a 2-1 victory. That year City made it all the way to the FA Cup Final, where Bert Trautmann’s heroics after playing on with a broken Neck earned City a 3-1 win.
Liverpool earned their way back to the top flight in 1961/62 after finishing the season as Second tier Champions. The first meeting between the two sides for six years came two games into the 1962/63 season in August. Liverpool had lost their opening game at Anfield 1-2 to Blackpool. On a Wednesday evening at Maine Road, a crowd of 33,165 the two sides played out a 2-2 draw with two goals for Man City’s Neil Young, while Ronnie Moran and Roger Hunt were on target for Liverpool. The return fixture came a week later at Anfield. In between, Liverpool had suffered a 0-1 away defeat to Blackburn Rovers.
A crowd of 46,073 turned out for a 7.15PM kick off. Ian St. John gave Liverpool the lead after just three minutes before a Peter Dobing equaliser pulled City level. Into the second half, goals for Alan A’Court and two for Roger Hunt gave Liverpool a thumping 4-1 win – their first top flight victory for eight years. Bill Shankly’s Liverpooll were a team on the rise and finished 1962/63 in the safety of eighth place. Man City however for the time being were heading in the opposite direction, ending the season second from bottom. City would spend the next three seasons in the second tier, falling as low as eleventh in 1964/65, while Man United won the League title.
After the appointment of Joe Mercer and his assistant Malcolm Allison at Maine Road, City won the Second Division title in 1965/66 and returned to the top flight as Liverpool would win the First Division title that same season, while England also won the World Cup. As will be seen in Part Three, when the two sides meet again in January, for the remainder of the 1960s and into the 1970s, both Man City and Liverpool were prominent sides as Football entered the Television era and the birth of regular football highlights shows such as the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’ and Granada TV’s ‘Kick Off Match’.
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*Published 8th September 2017