Liverpool v Manchester City: Sportsmail looks back at five classic previous encounters

Rafael Benitez needs a win more than ever this weekend - but so does Mark Hughes.

There have been spells when one club has dominated the other when Liverpool play Manchester City - with Liverpool on top in most of these. Liverpool are unbeaten in the last eight meetings between the two, five wins and three draws.

Liverpool have also won almost twice as many of the 157 meetings in the three domestic competitions - 79 to 40 with 38 draws.

But Benitez's Reds are in a rut while Hughes & Co have drawn their last five Premier League matches  - something will have to give.

Sportsmail looks back at five matches that have been dramatic or meant a lot to at least one team and their fans.

FA Cup fourth-round replay at Maine Road, February 7, 1973

A win to lift City and their fans in what was otherwise a mediocre season against the side then starting the golden reign of Liverpool when they won everything. That season it was the League title-UEFA Cup double.

City still had much of the side who had enjoyed their own successes, with the famed Bell, Lee, Summerbee trio still together. But they were out of Europe and out of the League Cup by early October, knocked out by Valencia and Bury, then in the old Fourth Division.

VIDEO: Back in the days when players were allowed to play on mud...

They were given little chance when they went to Anfield but forced a replay with a goalless draw. Then they beat the favourites with goals from Colin Bell and Tommy Booth.

Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last long. Sunderland, then in the old Second Division, applied the ko by winning the fifth-round replay 3-1 at Roker Park and went on to win the trophy with their shock Wembley win over Leeds. City finished 11th in what was then a 22-team division.

Premiership at Anfield, October 28, 1995

Liverpool’s biggest win in the series. And it came just three days after their 4-0 demolition of their rivals in the League Cup.

The home side under manager Roy Evans were unstoppable as they went on the rampage against opposition who were shell-shocked by the blitz, particularly German goalkeeper Eike Immel who spent so much time picking the ball out of the net.

Ian Rush started the deluge after only three minutes and it took little more than another hour to record the half-dozen. Rush and Robbie Fowler claimed two apiece with Jamie Redknapp and Neil Ruddock scoring the others.

Premiership Maine Road, May 5, 1996

uwe rosler

Agony: Uwe Rosler scored by Manchester City still went down

The home side and fans feared the worst when Liverpool went two up before half time. Steve Lomas conceded an own goal and Ian Rush pounced for the second.

Relegation looked virtually certain on this final day of the Premiership campaign. Mathematically, it started with Wimbledon, Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry and Southampton all in danger.

With 20 minutes to go City looked doomed. Then Uwe Rosler struck from a penalty to give them hope and a few minutes later Kit Symons equalised.

The fans were crying out for a winner, but suddenly their team went into safety-first mood, holding the ball up near one of the corner flags. Wrong information had been relayed from the other grounds and it was passed on to the players. They were told that a point would be enough.

It wasn’t as Wimbledon, Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry and Southampton all drew.

Coventry, Southampton and City finished with 38 points, but City went down with an inferior goal difference, minus 25 to the minus 18 of the other two. Many never forgave manager Alan Ball, who had left Southampton to take charge at Maine Road. The board appeared to keep faith but he resigned early the following season.

Premiership Anfield, May 3, 2003

The triumphant return of Nicolas Anelka to the ground he wanted to make his home. He ended the previous season there, scoring the last goal after being sent on as a late substitute in a 5-0 thrashing of Ipswich.

It was the fifth goal for the French striker in 22 appearances during six months on loan from Paris St. Germain - not an outstanding return but his performances thrilled the Kop and it looked certain that manager Gerard Houllier would follow through to sign his fellow countryman on a full transfer. It was certainly what Anelka wanted, as he has frequently explained since when expressing his bitter disappointment at what was widely perceived as a snub.

Manchester City's Nicolas Anelka

Final fling: Manchester City's Nicolas Anelka scores the winner at Anfield

City stepped in and he became a £1.3 million bargain. Two meetings with Liverpool earlier in the season at Maine Road had not been happy ones. Michael Owen scored a hat-trick in a 3-0 Premiership win in the first. Danny Murphy’s penalty was enough for a 1-0 win in the third round of the FA Cup.

Then came Liverpool’s final home game of the season, with Robbie Fowler partnering Anelka and Kevin Keegan, another old Anfield favourite, the visiting manager. Liverpool appeared to be on their when Milan Baros struck for the opener, but with little more than a quarter-of-an-hour to go Anelka picked himself up after being fouled to hit the equaliser from the penalty and volleyed the winner with virtually the last kick.

City of Manchester Stadium, October 5, 2008

Another of those comebacks by Liverpool. They were two down before half time to strikes from Stephen Ireland and Javier Garrido, but it soon changed in the second half.

First Fernando Torres gave the visitors hope with a tap-in after 55 minutes - Liverpool’s 1000th Premiership goal. Twelve minutes later City were down to 10 men when Pablo Zabieta was sent off. There were protests on the pitch and all around the stadium, but video replays showed referee Peter Walton was right to punish the reckless challenge of Zabieta on Xabi Alonso.

Dirk Kuyt

Clincher: Dirk Kuyt scores Liverpool's winner at Eastlands

Torres headed the equaliser after 73 minutes but despite being a man short City still looked capable of holding out for a draw, particularly when the Spaniard uncharacteristically failed to take a chance when he looked certain to score.

Liverpool were down to 10 men themselves as they had already used their three substitutes when Martin Skrtel was injured and had to go off. Mr. Walton added six minutes at the end and Liverpool made the most of it when Dirk Kuyt hit the winner - his first League goal in almost a year - when a Torres effort was deflected into his path.

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