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Classic Thursdays – Liverpool vs. Newcastle: “The Greatest Game Ever Played”

Every Thursday (or in this first edition, Friday), we at 32 Flags will walk down memory lane to remember a classic game from the past. Typically the game being recapped will consist of a matchup that takes place during the upcoming week but sometimes we will go off the script and talk about another great game. Today, we will recap Liverpool vs. Newcastle from April 3, 1996, also known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”

“Have you ever known 90 minutes go so quickly.” -Martin Tyler

Before the Match

Liverpool and Newcastle United along with Manchester United were competing for the 1995-96 EPL title. Going down the homestretch, Manchester United was leading with 67 points and 32 games played, Newcastle was 2nd at 64 points and 30 games played and Liverpool was 3rd with 59 points and 31 games played. It was a must win for both teams and it showed as both teams left it on the field.

Lineups

LIVERPOOL-Roy Evans, Manager
1-David James
5-Mark Wright
12-John Scales
25-Neil Ruddock
4-Jason McAteer
15-Jamie Redknapp
10-John Barnes
2-Rob Jones
17-Steve McManaman
8-Stan Collymore
23-Robbie Fowler

22-Steve Harkness subbed for Wright
9-Ian Rush subbed for Jones

NEWCASTLE-Kevin Keegan, Manager
1-Pavel Simicek
19-Steve Watson
6-Steve Howey
27-Philippe Albert
3-John Beresford
8-Peter Beardsley
22-David Batty
7-Robert Lee
14-David Ginola
11-Faustino Asprilla
9-Les Ferdinand

4-Darren Peacock subbed for Howey

Gametime

SCORING SUMMARY
2-Fowler (LIV), Liverpool 1-0 Newcastle
10-Ferdinand (NEW), Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle
14-Ginola (NEW), Liverpool 1-2 Newcastle
55-Fowler (LIV), Liverpool 2-2 Newcastle
57-Asprilla (NEW), Liverpool 2-3 Newcastle
68-Collymore (LIV), Liverpool 3-3 Newcastle
92-Collymore (LIV), Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle

After the Match

While Liverpool won the game and kept themselves in the title hunt, it helped their rivals Manchester United win the league. Newcastle could never catch up on the points and Man U won by four points, 82 to 78. Liverpool finished 3rd with 71.

How the Game is Historically Significant

Legendary broadcaster Martin Tyler called this as his favorite game and the best game he’s ever done in multiple interviews. A man whose broadcasting career include World Cups, championship finals, great escapes and last minute comebacks to win league titles, he puts this as his favorite and who can blame him. This game had it all. The Kop was rocking to unheard of levels but give more credit to the traveling Toon Army who represented themselves extremely well and you could see and hear the emotional changes from both sides throughout the game. You had scoring in the beginning, in the middle and the end. All seven goals were lead changes or tied the game. Liverpool came back to tie or take the lead twice while Newcastle did it once. Last but not least, the finishing on all seven goals was immaculate. Every goal was pinpoint accurate and many only required one touch to shoot. Watching it now, it gives you the sense that soccer players were just so much better 20 years ago than now. This was a game that seemed as if both managers selected “Overload” in Football Manager and let the game go as it was supposed to be played. This was special, this was anti parking the bus and a game like this can put the “beautiful” back in the “beautiful game.”

Phillip Bupp

About Phillip Bupp

Managing editor for 32 Flags as well as a writer for Total-MLS covering Sporting Kansas City. Look for Phillip on the Total-MLS Roundtable and feel free to follow @phillipbupp and @MLSTitleBelt, a project where the title holder must defend the title in every MLS game.

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