THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

8 May ~ At the start of 1986 Liverpool’s title challenge was stumbling as they, along with defending champions Everton, Chelsea and West Ham chased Manchester United at the top of the table. On January 12 Liverpool travelled to Watford – who they host at Anfield in the Premier League today – having not won for over a month. The Hornets, whose team included John Barnes, were comfortable in mid-table having come runners-up to Liverpool three seasons earlier.

The match was an exciting one, with Kenny Jackett firing a long-range shot past Bruce Grobbelaar to put Watford 1-0 up after 18 minutes. It took until just before half time for Liverpool to draw level, when they capitalised on an error in Watford’s midfield and Paul Walsh finished into the roof of the net.

The second half saw Liverpool camped in Watford’s half and it was Ian Rush, who had been going through a poor patch of form, who put his team ahead with a powerful shot after neat control in the box on 75 minutes. Five minutes before time Walsh sealed the win, though Jan Lohman did get a goal back after Grobbelaar spilled the ball a minute later.

Liverpool won 34 points from a possible 36 in the final 12 games of the season to overhaul both Manchester United and Everton and win the title, while they also took the FA Cup and Football League Super Cup (arranged as a kind of compensation for English clubs’ banning from Europe) with victory over their city rivals in both finals. Watford finished 12th and were relegated two season later.

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