It’s 13 years to the day since Gary McAllister produced arguably the Reds’ season-defining goal of the 2000/01 campaign. Philippe Coutinho‘s winning strike against Manchester City on Sunday had echoes of that unforgettable moment, writes Henry Jackson (@OnFootballTweet).
On April 16th 2001, Liverpool travelled to Goodison Park to face Everton in the Merseyside derby.
It was a huge game for Gerard Houllier’s side, who were in a tight battle with Leeds United and Ipswich Town to qualify for the Champions League the following season. A win was simply a must, at the home of one of their fiercest rivals.
What followed was an enthralling, end-to-end game, culminating in one of the most famous, priceless goals in Liverpool’s great history.
Having twice thrown leads away- Emile Heskey and Markus Babbel had found the net for the Reds, while Duncan Ferguson and a David Unsworth penalty replied for the hosts- Liverpool won a free-kick 40 yards from goal in the dying seconds.
Gary McAllister, signed as a squad player at the age of 35 the previous summer, curled in a magnificent effort, when everybody expected the Scot to deliver the ball into the penalty area. The celebrations that followed, whether it be from the players, staff or fans, perfectly summed up just what a pivotal moment it was.
Once the season ended and the dust had settled- Liverpool’s achieved fourth place with a 4-0 final day win at Charlton- many agreed that McAllister’s goal was the most important moment in the Reds’ Premier League campaign.
Fast forward to last Sunday, and Liverpool were facing Manchester City in arguably their most important league game since the Premier League‘s inception in 1992. A win would put their destiny in their own hands, while defeat would all but evaporate their title hopes.
Having squandered a two-goal lead to Manuel Pellegrini’s side, a nervy Anfield watched on as the game drifted towards its latter stages. City had a stranglehold on proceedings, and looked like the likely winners, only for Philippe Coutinho to etch his name into Liverpool folklore.
The 21-year-old Brazilian curled a superb effort after past Joe Hart in the 78th minute, sending the home faithful wild. Brendan Rodgers’ side held out in the final moments to earn a monumental three points, making them title favourites in the process.
Coutinho’s goal definitely had echoes of that unforgettable McAllister moment back in 2001, both in terms of importance and sheer drama. The goal wasn’t as late on in the game, but it arguably had even more meaning.
How well the Brazilian’s strike is remembered in years to come will rest on how the final four games of Liverpool’s league season pan out. If they get over the finish line and win their first ever Premier League title, this will surely be looked upon as the moment they got one hand on the trophy.
Which goal was more important: McAllister’s or Coutinho’s? Has there been a bigger moment in Liverpool’s season yet?