Liverpool vs. Brighton: Reds' Success in FA Cup Ahead of 5th Round Anfield Match
After a week-long break following the disappointing defeat to Manchester United in the Premier League, Liverpool FC are back in action with an FA Cup fifth round fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion in what will be the first of two important cup clashes for the Reds.
The following week, of course, sees Liverpool back at Wembley for the first time since it was rebuilt—but nobody at Melwood will be thinking about the final just yet, as they seek to prolong their interest in the other domestic cup competition too.
Liverpool have already dispatched Oldham Athletic and Manchester United in this competition this season and, should they beat Brighton for the second time this season—the first came earlier in the campaign in the League Cup—they would be just one victory away from a second Wembley date of the season.
With seven total wins to their name, Liverpool are the fourth most successful side ever in the history of the FA Cup, with only Manchester United (11), Arsenal (10) and Tottenham Hotspur (eight) having recorded more competition wins.
The Reds will be hopeful of adding an eighth FA Cup trophy to their cabinet come May, but first will have to navigate the Seasiders at Anfield.
Here we take a look back at the successes and major milestones of Liverpool FC throughout their historical relationship with the FA Cup.
Seven FA Cup Wins to Date....but the First Was a Long Time Coming
Having been formed in 1892, Liverpool had to wait an incredible 73 years to land their first FA Cup trophy, which did not arrive until the 1964-65 campaign.
Since then the club has been relatively regular in bringing home the oldest domestic cup competition in the world—but it hasn't always been plain sailing.
Liverpool have won seven FA Cups, but they have competed in the final 13 times.
The Reds reached the final for the first time in 1913-14, only to be beaten by Burnley by a single goal to nil.
In 1949-50 they repeated the feat, this time losing by two goals to Arsenal, and Liverpool would have to wait another decade and a half to get another crack at victory in an FA Cup Wembley final.
Star names Albert Stubbins, Billy Liddell and captain Phil Taylor, who would later go on to manage the Reds, were all in the starting line-up for Liverpool in the 1950 final, but there was no place for semi-final hero Bob Paisley, who was left out.
He, of course, went on to have rather more success as manager than Taylor managed.
Photo courtesy of footballzone.co.uk
1964-65: Liverpool's First Ever FA Cup Triumph, Courtesy of "Sir" and "Saint"
Following an FA Cup run which had seen Liverpool beat West Brom away, draw with Stockport County at home and win the subsequent replay, win at Bolton by a single goal and do the same at home to Leicester City after a goalless draw, the Reds faced Chelsea in the semifinal.
Bill Shankly's men had never won the FA Cup yet but they gave themselves a great chance to make this their year, with a 2-0 win over the Blues after second half goals from Peter Thompson and Willie Stevenson.
Onto the final at Wembley went the Reds, where they faced Division One runners up Leeds United.
Like several of Liverpool's FA Cup ties that season, the 90 minutes came to an end with the game still goalless, and the two sides played extra time.
Liverpool finally broke the deadlock just three minutes in, with "Sir" Roger Hunt heading in the game's opening goal. Leeds equalised seven minutes later but this time Liverpool were not to be denied, as Ian St. John scored the match-winning goal just a couple of minutes before half-time in extra time.
A sweet victory many, many years in the making.
Bill Shankly's Last Stand: 1973-74 Victory over Newcastle United
Liverpool lost in their next FA Cup final appearance, which came in 1970-71 against Arsenal, as they went down to a 2-1 extra time defeat.
Stevie Heighway had put Liverpool ahead in the added 30 minutes, but the Gunners hit back with two goals of their own to take the title.
The Reds put that disappointment behind them to make it back to Wembley just three years later in the 1974 FA Cup Final, where they met Newcastle United.
In an extremely one-sided match, Liverpool showed their superiority on the way to recording a thumping 3-0 victory, which certainly could and probably should have been more—Alec Lindsay's "offside" goal in particular was a questionable moment in the game.
Kevin Keegan finally thumped in a volley before the hour mark to set the Reds on their way, and it wasn't long before Heighway got another Cup Final memory—a better one this time, perhaps—latching onto a John Toshack flick on before drilling a low effort into the far corner.
It was Keegan's day and he wrapped up the win with a late third, tapping in from close range after some great build-up play.
The match was Bill Shankly's last as Liverpool manager, as he stepped down to be replaced by Bob Paisley.
1980s Dominance: Wembley Becomes Anfield South
Liverpool lost the 1976-77 Final, 2-1 to Manchester United in a match which saw three goals in just five second-half minutes. Jimmy Case's strike was not enough for the Reds however, who lost for the fourth time at the final hurdle.
The 1980s, however, belonged to Liverpool in a big way as they were regular visitors to Wembley Stadium, helping coin the term Anfield South amongst Kopites.
In 1985-86 Liverpool and Everton met in the final for the first time, and it was the Red half of Merseyside who emerged victorious, courtesy of a 3-1 win.
Things weren't looking great for Liverpool after Gary Lineker turned home a shot at the second attempt less than half an hour in, and Everton went into the break a goal up.
Liverpool turned the game on its head, however, with an Ian Rush double either side of a Craig Johnston effort.
That win gave the Reds the League and Cup double, after they had secured championship glory just days earlier—and it was Everton again who were runners up in that competition.
1988: A Day John Aldridge Would Rather Forget
Liverpool were supposed to have an easy passage to their fourth-ever FA Cup win as they faced Wimbledon FC at Wembley in 1988, but it didn't quite go to plan as the Reds were beaten 1-0.
The side passed up chance after chance before Lawrie Sanchez headed in from close range at 37 minutes.
In the second half the Reds saw a goal disallowed as the referee had already decided to award Liverpool a free kick, and worse still, Liverpool missed a penalty through John Aldridge on the hour mark.
Wimbledon goalkeeper Dave Beasant, captaining his side, became the first goalkeeper to ever save an FA Cup final penalty in the process.
It was a big chance for Liverpool to rack up a second league and cup double, following their achieving of it in 1986, but it wasn't to be this time.
1989: The Merseyside Final
In the most poignant and memorable—for so many reasons—FA Cup Final ever at the time, Liverpool and Everton once again crossed swords for the 1989 final.
Barely five weeks had passed since the tragedy at Hillsborough in the semifinals, but the Reds had bravely gathered themselves and won fair passage through to the final at Wembley.
Three years earlier Liverpool had run out convincing 3-1 winners but this time around it was a real helter-skelter final which swung this way and that, going into extra time before the Reds came out on top of a five-goal thriller.
An early goal from John Aldridge, who had missed his penalty in the final the year before, seemed to have set Liverpool on the path to victory but substitute Stuart McCall equalised with just one minute left on the clock, to force an additional 30 minutes of play.
Five minutes into extra time, Liverpool's own substitute—Ian Rush—swivelled from close range to blast the Reds back in front, but the advantage was short-lived lead and McCall scored his second of the final with a fine volley from the edge of the box.
Barely two minutes later though, the game swung back in Liverpool's favour as Rush again netted an FA Cup final brace against the Toffees, stooping to head in John Barnes' cross from the left.
An emotional day for all involved, which ended with Liverpool lifting their fourth trophy of the competition.
Graeme Souness Leads Liverpool to Trophy Glory
Liverpool finally won back-to-back appearances in the FA Cup final when they saw off Sunderland by 2-0 in the 1992 edition of the final.
Three years previous, just after the final win over Everton, Michael Thomas had broken Liverpool hearts by scoring a last-gasp goal to deny the Reds the league championship—but he was a hero in Red in '92 as he volleyed in a sensational opening strike, giving Liverpool a lead they never relinquished.
Graeme Souness was the Liverpool manager at this time, having taken over from Kenny Dalglish, and this was the only trophy he managed to win during his time at boss.
At the time of the cup final he was still recovering from heart surgery, so although he was present and chose Liverpool's side, the daily duties fell to Ronnie Moran.
Ian Rush scored the second goal of the game, giving him an as yet unequalled FA Cup record of five goals in FA Cup finals—and, happily for him and Liverpool, all of those goals came in winning matches.
The Michael Owen Final in Cardiff, 2001
Liverpool again tasted defeat in the FA Cup final in the infamous "white suits" match against Manchester United in 1996, but they were back in the groove in 2001, almost 10 years after their last FA Cup win.
With Wembley now being rebuilt, the final was hosted at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium and Liverpool quickly became accustomed to playing—and winning—in domestic football's temporary home.
Their first success there came earlier in the same season before they then recorded a 2-1 win over Arsenal, though the Gunners had dominated much of the match before they went ahead through Freddie Ljungberg with less than 20 minutes remaining.
What went on to happen has since gone down in history, with the final being referred to as the Michael Owen Final, as England's youngest striking star wrote himself into the history books with a clinical brace in the final seven minutes of the game.
After Arsenal failed to clear a free kick, Owen swivelled and volleyed home from close range to equalise before a fantastic pass from Patrik Berger sent Owen scampering towards goal, firing in a left-footed winner from a narrow angle.
Liverpool went on to lift a cup treble that season as the good times looked to be returning to Anfield after a significant dry spell.
2005-06: Liverpool's Last Trophy Win, the Steven Gerrard Final vs West Ham Utd
Five years on from their last FA Cup final appearance, Liverpool were back at Cardiff again to face West Ham United.
Heavy favourites from the outset to record their seventh title, Liverpool started terribly, gifting a two goal lead to the Hammers before Djibril Cisse pulled one back with a fine strike.
If 2001 was the Michael Owen final, 2006 went down for evermore as the Steven Gerrard final as the Reds captain put Liverpool back level with a fine volley—his full set of cup final goals—and then dug deep to find one of the best ever cup final goals in the very last minute to force extra time and, eventually, penalties.
The Reds went on to score all of their spot kicks, with Pepe Reina stopping three of West Ham's to hand Liverpool victory.
Liverpool have only reached one final since this game—and have not won any silverware at all.
2012: Another Return to Wembley?
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Back under the guidance of Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool have reached the newly built Wembley for the first time as they face Cardiff City in the League Cup final.
With Brighton up next in the FA Cup, however, the Reds will have at least one eye and plenty of hope on making it a double trip south for this season.
Looking back at the days gone by and the fantastic successes Liverpool have enjoyed in this competition, Reds fans everywhere will be hoping their side can keep the ball rolling and secure their place in the quarter finals of the competition for what would be a 25th time in their history—and in all but two of those occasions to date, Liverpool have gone on to progress to at least the semifinals.
One game at a time is always the message—so here's hoping the Reds win their very next one.