Old foes Liverpool and Manchester United are the two most-successful club sides in English football and their FA Cup rivalry goes back some 123 years.

As the regional rivals prepare to do battle for the 18th occasion in world football’s oldest competition, the ECHO looks back at their previous clashes.

On February 12, 1898, Liverpool met the club that would become Manchester United – they were still called Newton Heath – for the first time in the FA Cup.

With the Mancunians in the Second Division of the Football League at the time, it was not the kind of game that captured the nation’s attentions like it would do now.

Indeed, on the day of the tie, the headline news in the United Kingdom was that Henry Lindfield of Brighton became the world’s first fatality from an automobile accident on the public highway when his car ran away down a hill and hit a tree in Purley, Surrey.

However, just as in the Premier League meeting between Jurgen Klopp’s men and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side last weekend, the game – played at Newton Heath’s Bank Street ground in Clayton – finished goalless.

Curiously, both sides chose to prepare for the Anfield replay by setting up training bases on the Fylde coast.

The Reds were based at St Anne’s and Newton Heath were just three miles away in Lytham and the respective squads travelled to Liverpool for their second match on the same train.

Although falling behind in the replay, Liverpool’s top flight class eventually told as Bolton-born Daniel Cunliffe stuck an 85th minute winner for them to secure a 2-1 victory.

Liverpool returned to Bank Street for an FA Cup tie in 1903 and although they had changed their name to Manchester United the previous year, their opponents were still a Second Division outfit.

The report in the ECHO from the time is a rather colourful account with Manchester referred to as “Cottonopolis” and the rivalry between the two North West cities seems evident with a jibe about the typically wet conditions down the East Lancs Road.

It reads: “A large crowd of Liverpool supporters journeyed to Manchester in order to witness the encounter, and in matter of weather they were not disappointed, for, as usual, it was raining an hour before the game started. The downpour was very heavy.”

Despite describing the Reds as being “in the very pink of condition” after spending the previous fortnight at Buxton (perhaps an early forerunner to warm weather training in Dubai), it wasn’t just the inclement conditions that spoiled the visitors’ day as they suffered a shock 2-1 defeat despite United having Harry Stafford sent off in the second half.

This month marks the 100th anniversary of Liverpool’s only FA Cup victory at Old Trafford – can Klopp’s troops take advantage of the absence of a United home crowd to pull off a historic result?

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The Reds only other success at the ground in the competition came in a replay after the initial game had finished 1-1 at Anfield.

In the ECHO, correspondent ‘Bee’ references the upset of 18 years earlier as “an old score to wipe out.”

Stork described the 2-1 win at Old Trafford as a “gruelling game on waterlogged ground.”

He wrote in the ECHO: “I have heard talk of the Anfield mud-heap but it certainly could not compete with the ground at Old Trafford yesterday.

“Waders for each of the participants would, I am sure, have been welcomed.”

Trailing 1-0 at the interval to Ted Partridge’s 20th minute strike, Liverpool hit back after the break through Bill Lacey (55) and Harry Chambers (63).

Having hosted Liverpool at both Bank Street and Old Trafford in previous FA Cup ties, Manchester United had a dilemma in 1948.
The latter was still out of use at the time due to much of it being destroyed during Luftwaffe bombing raids during the Second World War and United were having to share Maine Road with City.

However, with their neighbours also being drawn at home in the fourth round of the FA Cup against Chelsea on Saturday January 24, United made the bold decision to play a home tie against Liverpool in Merseyside!

The game paid off as switching the game to just 800 yards from Anfield at Everton’s Goodison Park ground, a bumper crowd of 74,721 – over 12,000 more fans than Liverpool have ever had for a home game in their own city – watched United triumph 3-0 with three goals in the space of six minutes from Jack Rowley (30), John Morris (34) and Charlie Mitten (36).

Thousands more were unable to get in with the ECHO reporting that Goodison’s gates were locked on one side of the ground some half an hour before kick-off, while two break-ins were recorded.

A number of boys managed to climb the wall of St Luke’s Church to gain admittance while at the other end of the ground about a dozen men also effected an entrance by climbing a wall.

Some 12 more years would pass before the sides met again, also in the fourth round with Bill Shankly’s Second Division side losing out 3-1 to fellow Scot and former Liverpool captain Matt Busby’s United 3-1 at Anfield in 1960.

Their next encounter in 1977 would be one of two FA Cup finals between the clubs.

Having clinched the League Championship and preparing for their first European Cup final in Rome against Borussia Monchengladbach four days later, Liverpool were bidding for a treble but Bob Paisley’s side fell at the final hurdle of the domestic knock-out leg at Wembley.

The Reds lost 2-1 with all three goals coming in a four-minute flurry early in the second half.

Stuart Pearson fired United in front on 51 minutes, Jimmy Case equalised 60 seconds later but then Jimmy Greenhoff bagged the winner on 55 minutes.

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Michael Charters wrote in the ECHO: “There was applause from everyone, referee included, for Liverpool at Wembley, for the way they played, their sportsmanship, their matchless spirit, for their major contribution to one of the best of all FA Cup finals.

“But I fear, none of it could hide the biting disappointment of defeat.”

Predating Jose Mourinho’s recent Anfield complaints by over four decades, he added: “The better team lost and Manchester United will be remembered as lucky winners.”

The next two times the clubs would be drawn against each other would both be in semi-finals with United again triumphing at the second time of asking on each occasion.

In 1979, Liverpool were left to rue a Terry McDermott missed penalty that would have put them 2-0 up in a 2-2 draw at Maine Road.

As a result, their nemesis Greenhoff bagged the only goal in a Goodison Park replay.

Six years later there was late drama at Goodison as another semi-final finished 2-2.

Bryan Robson’s 69th minute effort put United in control before Ronnie Whelan struck three minutes before the end to take the match into extra time.

Frank Stapleton restored Ron Atkinson’s side’s advantage on 98 minutes but Paul Walsh was on target with a mere minute remaining of the additional half an hour to ensure they did it all again.

Going to Maine Road next in a reversal of the venues of 1979, a Paul McGrath own goal on 39 minutes could have set up an all-Merseyside FA Cup final a year earlier than would ultimately happen.

Robson restored parity in the first minute after the break and Mark Hughes’ 58th minute strike sent United to Wembley where they would ruin champions Everton’s bid for a domestic double.

There was even more FA Cup misery for Liverpool when they met United for the 1996 final at Wembley.

The occasion is arguably best-remembered for the cream-coloured Armani suits worn by Roy Evans’ players before what was a sorry game lacking any of the brightness of the Reds ‘Spice Boys’ sartorial elegance.

United talisman Eric Cantona squeezed in the only goal of the game five minutes before the end.

The ECHO’s Ric George put it bluntly: “The season of pleasure has ended in pain. Liverpool could not have endured more suffering at Wembley if they had spent all Saturday in a torture chamber.”

Before the decade was out, there was an even more dramatic late collapse in an FA Cup fifth round tie at Old Trafford as Alex Ferguson’s men marched on their way to the treble.

Michael Owen put Gerard Houllier’s side ahead on three minutes and they remained in front until the 88th minute when Dwight Yorke struck the hosts level.

There was then a bit of ‘Fergie time’ as United’s ‘super sub’ and current manager Solskjaer came off the bench to grab a last-minute winner.

En route to their last FA Cup success in 2006, Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool defeated United 1-0 in a fifth round clash at Anfield thanks to Peter Crouch’s 18th minute header to secure their first win over their bitter rivals in the competition for some 85 years.

Ian Doyle wrote: “While Gary Neville was deciding whether he should indeed have taken up one supporter's generous birthday gift of a half-eaten burger thrown from the Centenary Stand, a jubilant Liverpool squad were en route to a celebratory slap-up meal on Saturday.”

Liverpool’s last FA Cup trip to Old Trafford a decade ago came in the dramatic circumstances of Kenny Dalglish’s return as manager following the departure of Roy Hodgson.

Despite the feel-good factor of ‘The King’s’ second coming, the Reds succumbed to a second minute penalty from Ryan Giggs.

The following year, Dalgish exacted some revenge on compatriot Ferguson with a 2-1 victory at Anfield in the sides’ most-recent FA Cup clash to date.

Daniel Agger’s 21st minute opener was cancelled out by Ji-Sung Park on 39 minutes but just two minutes before full-time, Dirk Kuyt pounced for the winner.

Dirk Kuyt's late winner knocks United out of the FA Cup, January 2012
Dirk Kuyt's late winner knocks United out of the FA Cup, January 2012

James Pearce wrote: “Even for a club famous the world over for coming back from the brink, that was some week.

“Seven days ago Kenny Dalglish found himself conducting a lengthy inquest at Melwood into an abject defeat at Bolton.

“The manager asked some searching questions about his players’ attitude, desire and commitment to the cause. The answers provided have been emphatic.”

He added: “How fitting that Dirk Kuyt should be Liverpool’s hero. The Dutchman had endured the worst barren spell of his career. Four months and 20 appearances had passed since he previously hit the back of the net in the Carling Cup tie at Brighton.

“Yet Kuyt epitomises the qualities Dalglish had demanded to see in the aftermath of that debacle at the Reebok.

“For Kuyt the team always comes first. There’s a tireless work ethic and a selfless dedication to the cause.”