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FA Cup semi-finals: Three Merseyside clashes to savour

1977: FA Cup semi-final: Liverpool 2-2 Everton

One of the most contentious games in the long history of the Merseyside derby. An FA Cup semi-final at Maine Road was the venue for this thrilling clash.

Liverpool were on their way to league and European titles, while Everton, for so long in their neighbour’s shadow, had just lost an epic League Cup final to Aston Villa after two replays.

The outcome hinged on a decision by referee Clive Thomas to harshly disallow Everton midfielder Bryan Hamilton’s goal for offside.

Everton had already fought back twice with goals from Duncan McKenzie and Bruce Rioch both cancelling out earlier strikes from Terry McDermott and Jimmy Case.

Hamilton’s ‘goal’ late on would have sent Everton to Wembley to meet Manchester United, but it was not to be for the blue half of Merseyside. Four days later at the same venue, Liverpool cruised to Wembley on the back of a 3-0 win.

1986: FA Cup final: Liverpool 3-1 Everton

The first all-Merseyside FA Cup final saw the two clubs at the height of their powers go head-to-head at Wembley, with Liverpool triumphing to complete a memorable double.

The match was played seven days after the Reds had secured the league title, with arch-rivals Everton finishing as runners-up.

Gary Lineker (pictured) opened the scoring for Everton midway through the first half and although the Toffees held their advantage until the interval, Liverpool hit back in the second period.

Ian Rush equalised in the 56th minute and seven minutes later Craig Johnston’s effort turned the game on its head, with Wales ace Rush making sure the Cup went back to Anfield’s bursting trophy cabinet with a second goal seven minutes from time.

The game was also notable in that Liverpool were the first team to feature in an FA Cup final without any English footballers in their starting line-up, with Mark Lawrenson having opted to represent Republic of Ireland.

1989: FA Cup final: Liverpool 3-2 Everton

In a deeply emotional affair just five weeks after the Hillsborough disaster, the two clubs met at Wembley in what was billed ‘the friendly final’ and ended up being one of the most dramatic.

Coming three years after the first all-Merseyside FA Cup final, there was a minute’s silence before kick-off and both teams wore black armbands as a mark of respect for the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives during the semi-final with Nottingham Forest.

John Aldridge’s fourth-minute goal looked like being the Liverpool winner, but Everton’s Stuart McCall struck just before the final whistle.

Ian Rush put the Reds ahead again in the fifth minute of extra-time, only for McCall to score a sensational second with a volley from outside the penalty area.

But just two minutes later, Everton’s nemesis Rush pounced again for his second goal to seal a famous victory as Liverpool lifted the Cup for a fourth time.

FA CUP SEMI-FINALS:

Both games at Wembley Stadium

Saturday 14th April (kick-off 12:30)

Liverpool 2-1 Everton

Sunday 15th April (kick-off 18:00)

Tottenham vs Chelsea

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