By 90Min
April 03, 2018

It may only seem like yesterday, but it is now 22 years to the day since Liverpool and Newcastle played out an iconic 4-3 thriller at Anfield, now fondly remembered as one of the all-time great games in Premier League history.

There was everything to play for that Wednesday night under the lights on Merseyside. Newcastle's season was falling apart - they had lost a third game in five against Arsenal just a few days earlier and had seen Manchester United overtake them at the top of the table.

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For Kevin Keegan's Magpies, victory at Liverpool was imperative if they were to have any chance of winning a first league title since 1927 and a first major trophy of any kind since the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969. United may have been three points clear, but the goal differences were similar and the trip to Anfield was the first of two games in hand Newcastle had on the leaders.

Liverpool, meanwhile, had also just lost, going down by a single goal to nil against Nottingham Forest in their previous game, and the 'Spice Boys' generation of Robbie Fowler, Jason McAteer, Steve McManaman and Jamie Redknapp were just about clinging on to their own title hopes.

It took less than 120 seconds for Liverpool to take the lead, with a rampant Fowler nodding his 26th Premier League goal of the season at the far post. But barely over 10 minutes later, Newcastle had turned the game on its head after goals from Les Ferdinand and David Ginola.

Fowler brought Liverpool back level at 2-2 with his 27th of the season not long after half-time following a driving run at Newcastle's defence by McManaman and a first-time shot.

But again, the Reds could not hold on to the lead and Faustino Asprilla curled the ball in with the outside of his right foot as David James came rushing out. The Liverpool goalkeeper had already been at fault for Newcastle's opener after a tame effort to stop Ferdinand's shot.

Newcastle led 3-2 until Stan Collymore, then the Premier League's expensive player after his £8.5m move from Nottingham Forest the previous summer, scored a tap in after a teasing cross from McAteer.

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The game remained delicately balanced in the closing stages until stoppage time when the ball broke to the Liverpool left after an exchange between veterans John Barnes and Ian Rush, prompting Sky commentator Martin Tyler to yell the famous line, "And Collymore closing in!"

Setting the ball with his first touch, the Liverpool forward smashed a low left footed shot as hard as he could, beating Newcastle goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek at the near post. It broke Newcastle hearts, sent one-time Anfield hero Keegan slumping forward in the away dugout in despair.

The win lifted Liverpool to within two points of Newcastle and five of leaders United. In another year it might have been the late momentum they needed to mount a serious challenge, but Roy Evans' young team won just two more of their remaining six games, dropping points against Coventry, Everton, Middlesbrough and Manchester City.

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Newcastle could still have drawn level with United with a game still in hand, only to draw both of their final two fixtures in May after also losing against reigning champions Blackburn. The Premier League title returned to Old Trafford, but Liverpool and Newcastle gave us an historic match, memories of which live strong to this day, 22 years on.

Liverpool (3-4-1-2): David James; Mark Wright, John Scales, Neil Ruddock; Jason McAteer, Jamie Redknapp, John Barnes, Rob Jones; Steve McManaman; Robbie Fowler, Stan Collymore

Newcastle (4-4-2): Pavel Srnicek; Steve Watson, Steve Howey, Philippe Albert, John Beresford; Peter Beardsley, David Batty, Rob Lee, David Ginola; Faustino Asprilla, Les Ferdinand

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