Ole’s goal meant Liverpool would have to wait 7 more years until they faced us but when we finally did meet in 2006 at Anfield the result was over shadowed by a horrific injury to Alan Smith, an injury that Liverpool’s fans would sing about and attempt to make worse by preventing the ambulance from getting to the hospital in due haste.
The game, for all the bluster of United/Liverpool games, wasn’t the best and I saw it compared to an Old Firm clash: massive build up, great atmosphere so so football. United had just beaten Liverpool in the league the previous month and Gary Neville’s exuberant celebration meant he was inevitably singled out for special abuse from the crowd as well as players and Harry Kewell had a go after just 3 minutes.
Liverpool would take the lead in the 19th minute after Peter Crouch connected with a Steve Finnan cross to head home.
United fought to get back into the game but were being ran ragged in midfield with the trio of Giggs, Richardson and Fletcher up against Hamann, Sissoko and Gerrard.
We could really have done with the hussle and bussle of Alan Smith and finally perhaps a tad late he was introduced in the 76th minute. Maybe he should have been spared as the all heart all action midfielder in an attempt to keep United in the game managed to not only break his leg but also dislocate his ankle.
Charging down a John Arne Risse freekick, Smith’s leg buckled underneath him and snapped in a freak accident. Whilst United fans and players were understandably grave in the face of such a sad occurance Liverpool’s faithful were their typical classy selves remixing their chant for Risse, singing:
‘John Arne Risse, oh ah, I want to know how you broke his leg?’
This capped off a bad day for United whose only silverware would come by way of beating Wigan in the League Cup weeks later. The defeat handed Liverpool their first victory over us in the FA Cup since 1921.