A look back at some of the late winners in front of the Kop over the past 25 years. Some of them are famous, others may need a reminder. All of them were scored in or around injury time to turn one point into 3, or a loss into a famous win. And this thread does start in 1992.
When we played Chelsea in 1992, it wasn't quite the glamourous fixture it is now. We usually won the home game and broadcasters were not all that bothered with it, so it was our first Saturday 3pm ko of the new era. One of their players suffered a serious injury early on and had to go off, although that was far from the end of the story. Dean Saunders scored soon afterwards, and having lost the fixture last season, we settled in for revenge. It took a while though after they equalised, so it was left to Jamie Redknapp to scramble the winner home in injury time. Their player was so upset, he took his case all the way to court, only to lose it after a lengthy battle. It was Saunders last goal for us, as 2 weeks later he was scoring against us, soon after Ronny Rosenthal hit the bar.
As the season continued, mediocrity set in. By March there was just a UEFA Cup spot to play for, and the derby at home was another game in the 3pm ko era. The game was not exactly a classic, but at least Ronny had rediscovered the ability to put the ball on the net, even if it took 94 minutes. The commentator said at the end that next season couldn't come quick enough. It came and went, but if anything things got worse until Souness was fired for not beating Bristol City in 3 attempts. We've never played them since.
After a 23 game unbeaten run ended, as many did over the years, at Nottingham Forest, Newcastle were the next league opponents at Anfield for a six pointer. After 2 minutes Fowler put us in front, and we settled in for a comfortable evening. Instead it was a see saw slugfest, where we twice went behind, and had to call on every ounce of energy to rescue it. Eventually Collymore was closing in, and won us the game in injury time. After 2 losses to them earlier in the season, revenge was sweet, even more so after losing the reverse fixture in similar circumstances. It set us up for the title run in, which lasted all of 3 days, before we went to play Coventry City and after that, attention could switch to the cup final.
After a steady start, Southampton paid us a visit for what should have been a routine 3 points. It was anything but routine though, and in a season where many points were dropped at home, we were all set for a 1-1 draw, until a stray back pass deep in injury time was intercepted by Macca who duly went round the keeper and slotted home the winner.
Newcastle were back, and with a 3-0 half time lead, we looked to see the game out. With 5 minutes left, we had to go and win it again. Thankfully Fowler obliged, and we were ready for another title challenge. Then we went to face Forest, and after it, the famine went on.
6 years later, Houllier was in place and despite winning the League Cup a month before, the league season was falling apart when Charlton arrived on Easter Monday. With 5 minutes to go things were looking bleak as 2 goals were needed to win the game. Somehow we found them, with Gerrard scoring deep into injury time, who celebrated it as if we had just secured 4th place. We didnt quite make it in the end, but the winner was a rare highlight as the season continued to unravel. 12 months later, the same team arrived on the same afternoon. Traore looked as if he celebrated a bit too long, and fell over the ball under no pressure whatsoever gifting them the three points. We made 4th spot, but having finished 30 points down the field, Houllier's time was up.
With 4th no longer considered good enough, in came Benitez to turn 4th place into 1st. A visit from newly promoted Palace on a sunny Saturday in November was a good chance to build on a good home start. I was there and after seeing us reeled in twice, it looked at 2-2 like it would be my first ever draw at Anfield. Then Garcia surged forward in the last minute, passed to Baros, and we got our second penalty of the game. Baros tucked it into the corner bang on 90 minutes for his hat trick in a 3-2 win.
The next home game was against an all-conquering Arsenal side that lost once in 55 league games. Deep into injury time at 1-1, Chris Kirkland booted a free kick 70 yards up the pitch, where a headed clearance fell to Neil Mellor, who fired it into the net from 30 yards. His own contribution to the Olympiakos game is often forgotten, but without it there would be no Istanbul. The luck ran out a week later when Portsmouth got a late equaliser, and with a poor away record, the league was put on the backburner for the rest of the season, and we.ended it out of the top 4.
The first home game of the season saw a number of changes. YNWA was played after the teams came out, while LED adverts made their first appearance at Anfield. The game against Middlesbrough was a dogged battle, where we had to come from behind in the last 5 minutes. Having got the equaliser, we had 3 minutes injury time to get the winner. As one of their players was injured during it, there was more additional time. Enough for Steven to rifle home a winner from outside the box. and we went joint top of the table.
After the facts rant, the form slumped, as Chelsea arrived here on a snowy Sunday afternoon. Another 2 dropped home points were on the way until Torres headed home in the last minute, then scoring another in injury time for a 2-0 win.
It was all change 2 years later by the time Sparta Prague arrived here in the UEFA Cup at 6pm on a Thursday evening. With time running out, extra time looked likely until Dirk Kuyt nodded in a late corner. It was the only goal of the tie. We were just three ties from the short hop to Dublin for the final. Instead it was Kenny's only win in Europe, and the team that knocked us got.to go there instead.
After 5 years away, Ludogorets from outer Bulgaria saw European Cup football return to Anfield. The drama was saved for late on with Balotelli giving us a rare goal, but cancelled out by an equaliser. Then Gerrard was fouled in the box by the goalkeeper and he scored the resulting penalty for our only win in the group phase.
Having gone out to the same team at the same stage of the League Cup two years ago, Swansea returned and revenge was on the menu. But after going behind, it took it's time in arriving. 5 minutes into injury time and playing against 10 men, a free kick found Lovren all alone who headed the ball in to win the game 2-1, as we went onto the semi finals.
A home game against QPR on bank holiday weekend, was a good chance to stay in the race for 4th. With the score at 1-1, Steven had the chance to win the game with his last penalty for us, but didn't. Eventually he scored for us late on for a 2-1 win to keep the season going a bit longer for us and relegating the opposition. But it was our last win of the season.
Jürgen Klopp had got Borussia Dortmund into this year's UEFA Cup, and was now given the task of putting them out of it. It was the European version of the Newcastle game 20 years before though, as they scored early on and after half time, leaving us with 3 goals to find in half an hour. The advantage of playing the second leg of a game at home in Europe, saw the crowd drive us on to get the goals needed, with Lovren scoring in injury time to give us a 5-4 aggregate win on our way to the final, and showing once again that at Anfield, European football is still European football, whatever the technical name for the competition is, over the door.
People say that fans don't decide a game but there are 15 great memories of the Kop using it's influence to turn our home games into results, and all unique in their own way. And with the Kop firmly behind us, every home game lasts 90 minutes.