Liverpool FC: The Reds Top 5 Premier League Wins Over Manchester United
Though there are many great sporting rivalries throughout the world, one would be foolish to say that a match involving Liverpool and Manchester United could be categorized as anything less than a blockbuster.
While United have certainly won more trophies since the Premier League was introduced in 1992, the rivalry between the two clubs has remained strong as ever.
Let's take a look at five of the Merseysiders' greatest success since the inception of the Premier League.
5. Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United: Riise Rocket Rattles Red Devils
Having completed a league double over United the season before this November 2001 meeting, Liverpool were confident going into their titanic clash with their greatest rivals.
Though United had won the Premiership the previous May, Liverpool had completed a "Treble" of the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup. In addition to their double success against United in the 2000-'01 season, the Merseysiders had defeated their enemies 2-1 in the Charity Shield that August. The foundations of a heated clash were in place.
There were few scoring chances inside the first half-hour, as both teams battled in midfield. However, just past the 30-minute mark, Michael Owen stole in on the United goal and left Fabien Barthez flat-footed as he curled a wonderful effort inside the right post. The England striker may have benefited from some Wes Brown uncertainty, but he didn't care; Liverpool were in front.
Despite the fact that Owen's finish was classy in its own right, it would not hold a candle compared to what was about to come.
Having won a free kick on the edge of the box, Liverpool lined up for an indirect strike. Didi Hamann tapped the ball into the path of left back John Arne Riise, who slammed an absolute barnstormer into the top left-hand corner, giving the diving Barthez no chance.
David Beckham would pull one back for United early in the second half before Owen sealed the deal with a header late on, but a class Liverpool performance will be remembered largely for the wondrous strike from their Norwegian fullback.
4. Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United: Ryan Babel Proves the Unlikely Hero
The odds looked dim for Liverpool heading into this September 2008 clash, having lost their last five consecutive league meetings against United. In addition to their poor form in this fixture, the hosts were given even less of a chance after word got out that Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, who many considered the team's two most influential players, would only be fit for the bench.
Indeed, United were considered heavy favorites on this fateful Saturday morning. However, Liverpool pulled out a performance that can only be classified as "inspired."
Despite going a goal down inside three minutes, the hosts battled back and equalized, albeit fortuitously, in the 27th minute thanks to an own goal from Wes Brown. The goal galvanized the team, as they began to overrun United in the midfield.
Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano dominated their battle against Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes in the center of the park.
United would force Pepe Reina into a great save from Ryan Giggs's half-volley, but Liverpool's perseverance on the attack would be rewarded in the 77th minute when Ryan Babel cracked home a late Kop-end winner.
It might have fallen during the trophy-less 2008-09 campaign, but this match proved a highlight during Rafa Benitez's reign as manager.
3. Manchester United 0-1 Liverpool: Murphy's Free Kick the Difference
Liverpool may have looked more like construction workers than footballers in their baggy yellow kits, but then again, such a comparison would appropriately represent their industrious performance on this day.
Leading up to this December 2000 match, they wouldn't have wanted to be reminded of 10-year winless streak at Old Trafford, nor their failure to beat United since a match in December of 1995 in which Robbie Fowler's double ensured all three points.
Liverpool had played well in the early days of the season, but many questioned their ability to defeat a United team that included David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Denis Irwin, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes. The visitors were surely expecting a comfortable match, something that increased the determination of the Liverpudlians.
However, despite the home side's attacking prowess, a resolute defensive performance from Liverpool was rewarded just before halftime.
Gary Neville, considered the anathema of Liverpool by many on Merseyside, conceded a free kick on the edge of the box for an innocuous hand ball.
Behind the ball stood Danny Murphy, a decent set-piece taker but by no means the first-choice selection in the Liverpool side. Murphy's place in the pecking order would prove irrelevant, however, as he curled a wonderful strike around the wall past a stranded Fabien Barthez for the only goal of the game.
Despite some late pressure from United, the visitors held to complete the first half of their double over their enemies that season.
2. Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United: Dirk Kuyt Manhandles the Mancs
He may not have been high on many a fan's radar walking into Anfield for this March 2011 game, but Dirk Kuyt surely left his team's legendary ground a hero after notching the first Liverpool hat trick against the Mancs in 20 years.
Having already lost to United twice at Old Trafford in the 2010-'11 campaign, Liverpool, languishing in sixth place heading into the match, found themselves in a much different place than their rivals, who were sitting top of the table.
However, it's often said that form goes out the window in derby games such as these, and despite their lower position in the league table, it was Liverpool who dominated this match.
The game started off at a frenetic tempo, as Luis Suarez registered the first shot of the match inside two minutes. The Uruguayan caused all sorts of problems for United's makeshift center back partnership of Wes Brown and Chris Smalling, often leaving them flat-footed with his illustrious trickery.
And though Dimitar Berbatov hit the post with an audacious effort in the 16th minute, it would be Liverpool who scored first, as Suarez set up Kuyt with a tap-in on 34 minutes.
Five minutes later, Kuyt headed in his second, capitalizing on a poor attempted clearance from Nani. With 39 minutes gone, Kuyt—who had never scored against United in 10 games—had a brace. The Merseysiders couldn't be much happier heading into the half.
After the break, United tried to get back into the game, as Berbatov had a header cleared off the line, and Ryan Giggs volleyed narrowly over. However, their efforts would prove futile, as Kuyt was on hand to fire home his third goal of the day, capitalizing on Edwin van der Sar's failure to hold Suarez's free kick.
Though Javier Hernandez would head home a late consolation goal, he wasn't able to spoil the day for the Kop, who even managed to squeeze in a "Happy Birthday" for Kenny Dalglish.
1. Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool: Torres Traumatizes the Towering Vidic
March 14th, 2009, is not a date that anyone associated with Manchester United will want to remember anytime soon.
It was, however, the day on which Liverpool came to Old Trafford and humiliated a full-strength United side by a scoreline of 4-1.
The men from Manchester eventually won the Premier League title by four points over Liverpool, but their Merseyside counterparts made the run-in much more dramatic, taking an unlikely three points at Old Trafford.
Though Liverpool began to get a grip on the game after some initial United pressure, they found themselves against the ropes on 23 minutes. Pepe Reina hauled down Ji-Sung Park inside the box, leaving referee Alan Wiley with no choice but to point to the spot.
Ronaldo, the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, stepped up to take the penalty, and though Reina guessed the right way, the United man rocketed his kick into the left corner to give the hosts a one-goal lead.
Things weren't looking good for the men from Anfield, as United had emerged victorious in every game at Old Trafford in which Ronaldo scored. Going down a goal at the home of United is a black hole that many never emerge from, and it didn't seem that the visitors were likely to get out of such a stranglehold.
However, despite United keeping the ball for most of the next five minutes, Liverpool would equalize out of nothing.
United defender Nemanja Vidic, tipped by many to win the PFA Player of the Year award, misjudged an innocuous ball forward from Martin Skrtel. Though he may have had time against many other players to pass back to Edwin van der Sar in the United goal, he apparently forgot that Fernando Torres was on the pitch, as the Liverpool forward used his lightning-quick speed to steal the ball and leave Vidic for dead before coolly slotting past the United goalkeeper to make it 1-1.
The hosts went close through a Ronaldo free kick and a piledriver from Michael Carrick, but it would be Liverpool who grabbed the next goal on 44 minutes.
Torres, who caused plenty of problems for the United back line with his pace and movement, was again at the center of the action, providing a ball for Steven Gerrard. Making his way towards goal, the Liverpool skipper was hauled down inside the box by Patrice Evra, leaving Wiley with no choice but to award a penalty for the second time in 20 minutes.
Gerrard, who had successfully converted from the spot in the recent victory over Real Madrid, lined up to take the kick. Though van der Sar guessed the right way, he could do nothing to stop the Liverpool captain—who famously kissed a television camera following his successful penalty—from scoring.
Despite the 2-1 scoreline, there was still plenty of football to be played. The makings of a cracking second half were in place.
Having weathered a spell of pressure from United at the beginning of the second half, the Merseysiders went on the attack and got their reward on 77 minutes. Gerrard, clean through on goal, was hauled down by Vidic on the edge of the United box, leading to the United defender to be red-carded, his nightmare afternoon finally over.
However, it was about to get worse for the rest of his teammates, as Fabio Aurelio curled a beautiful left-footed strike over the wall and into the net past a static van der Sar.
Andrea Dossena would add another goal with a lob in injury time, but that would simply prove gloss for the scoreline; the game had already been won.
United would go on to win the title that year, but they are no doubt still haunted by the day that Liverpool turned the stadium known as the "Theatre of Dreams" into the setting for a nightmare.