When Liverpool played against 3 different goalkeepers in 1 game!

Playing against two different goalkeepers in one game is not that unusual, but coming up against three certainly is – as Liverpool experienced in 1982.

Let’s set the scene. The year is 1982, the Reds are reigning First Division and League Cup champions and under the tutelage of Bob Paisley.

Liverpool have won three of their opening four league games of the 1982/83 season and it is now time for Luton Town to make a visit to Anfield for the first time since 1974.

The Hatters ended their seven-year exile from the topflight after finishing top of the Second Division the season prior, and their return would not be without notable headlines.

And three goalkeepers in 90 minutes certainly was one of them.

While Bruce Grobbelaar was a permanent fixture in Liverpool’s goal, Luton were not so fortunate at Anfield in September 1982 – yet the result would speak otherwise.

Jake Findlay was the Hatters’ No. 1 and was named in David Pleat’s starting lineup (goalkeeper number one), but stayed on the field of play for only 38 minutes before being forced off by a chest injury.

Graeme Souness had only just scored for the Reds, with a splendid volley, to make it 1-1, but Findlay could not continue and Luton turned to full-back Kirk Stephens (goalkeeper number two).

The Kop quickly greeted him in goal with, ‘There’s only one Shakin’ Stevens’.

If you are wondering why they did not just turn to another goalkeeper from the bench, at that time you could only make one substitution in a game and a ‘keeper was not among the options – this would only change in 1987.

Graeme Souness, Liverpool, 1983 (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Merely minutes after Stephens assumed the role, Ian Rush fired into an empty net after the Luton man raced off his line, 2-1 to Liverpool and the sense was the dam wall could break in favour of the Reds.

It was not quite the case. At half-time, centre-back Mal Donaghy (goalkeeper number three) donned the No. 1 as Stephens moved back into his outfield position.

Notably, both makeshift ‘keepers wore a Liverpool shirt as Findlay never passed his on after his injury – this match was certainly not short on moments that would go ‘viral’ in present day.

Incredibly, despite the Reds having the likes of Rush, Kenny Dalglish and Souness to capitalise on Luton‘s misfortune, it was the visitors who scored twice in 10 second-half minutes to make it 2-3.

Donaghy had been growing increasingly hopeful of avoiding the same fate as Findlay and Stephens, and he may have done had Paisley not turned to Craig Johnston, who scored the equaliser with 15 minutes left.

Luton were admirable in their fight and left Anfield with the respect from the stands and their counterparts after it finished 3-3.

To sum it all up, Luton fielded three different goalkeepers (only one was, in fact, a ‘keeper by trade), two had to wear a Liverpool kit and they each conceded one goal.

And yet at the end of the 90 minutes, the scoreboard read 3-3. Football, eh?