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Classic Game Club: Liverpool's greatest ever performance?

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

20:37 25 Mar 2020

England legend Tom Finney described this Liverpool performance as "the finest exhibition I've seen the whole time I've played and watched the game."

Striker and former Boy in Green John Aldridge, famously said of the opposition after the game, "They were lucky to get nil, to be honest!"

Liverpool 5 Nottingham Forest 0 at Anfield on April 13, 1988 has gone down in folklore as one of the club's greatest ever performances on the hallowed turf.

It certainly has a challenger in this season's 4-0 Premier League win away to Leicester City last December.

In the latest edition of OTB's Classic Game Club, which will be streamed live on Thursday night, Nathan Murphy spotted similarities between Kenny Dalglish and Jurgen Klopp's teams.

"Five minutes into this you see Steve Nicol bombing up that right wing, just like [Trent] Alexander-Arnold would right now"" says Nathan.

"That was probably the most striking thing, how similar [the two sides] are."

The Reds were on the march to reclaiming the old First Division title from Merseyside rivals Everton in the Spring of '88.

Heading into the match they were top of the table, 11 points clear of Alex Ferguson's Manchester United, and 14 ahead of Forest who still had a slim chance of making a push for the title.

Forest had also just lost an FA Cup semi-final against the same opponents on the previous Saturday while their old master Brian Clough had already overseen one of only two league defeats his opposite number would experience that season.

The visitors had burgeoning talents Des Walker and Nigel Clough playing alongside the likes of Stuart Pearce and Neil Webb.

They were up against legends like Alan Hansen, Steve Nicol, Peter Beardsley and John Barnes in a Reds side that had a very talented green hue.

Aldridge scored two superb goals on the night while Ray Houghton, who was two months away from putting the ball in the English net, hit a sublime opener but his performance split the OTB team!

Nathan and Phil Egan felt the winger played really well but Stephen Doyle begged to differ.

"I thought he had a pretty poor match. He gave the ball away about eight or nine times!" Stephen pointed out.

Whether it is the greatest ever Liverpool performance can be debated long and hard but Phil had no doubt with regard to the moment of this match.

Barnes, at his best, turning defenders inside and out for fun before setting up Peter Beardsley to score.

"You see the Kop and you see the excitement on the Liverpool supporters' faces when Barnes puts the ball through [Steve] Chettle's legs.

"Then another tackle comes in, he gets away from that and then has the presence of mind to put it on a plate for Beardsley."

Champagne football, short shorts, the swaying terrace, John Motson's voice and the Boys in Green finding form before one of the greatest summers of their lives.

This edition of OTB's Classic Game Club will stream live on Thursday (March 25) from 5:30pm on all our social channels and OTB Sports Radio which you can also get by downloading the GoLoud app.

Or tune into The Football Show on OTB on Thursday from 9pm.

You can watch the match here first.

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


Read more about

Brian Clough Classic Game Club John Aldridge John Barnes Kenny Dalglish Liverpool Nottingham Forest Ray Houghton

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