Monday 21st August 1995 | Elland Road, Leeds
It was billed as the ‘Battle of the Hot-shots’ when fans packed into Elland Road to see Howard Wilkinson’s United side take on Liverpool on August 21 1995.
Leeds-Liverpool clashes were always eagerly-awaited fixtures and for this one, fans had had their appetites whetted by the recent exploits of the two hot-shots in question – Tony Yeboah and Stan Collymore.
The Ghanaian international had got United’s season off to a great start with a two-goal blast to earn United a 2-1 win at West Ham while Collymore was the toast of Anfield when he brilliantly conjured up a goal out of nothing to earn Liverpool an opening day success against Sheffield Wednesday.
So the scene was set for a cracking Premiership clash – and no one was looking forward to it more than United’s skipper Gary McAllister. “It should be interesting to see them both, ” he said.
“Tony showed us what he is capable of in the second half of last season and Collymore caused us a lot of problems when he played against us at Forest last season,” he added.
As things unfolded, Yeboah won the battle with the £8.5m Collymore, who unfortunately limped out of the game after 20 minutes. Yeboah took the plaudits in some style. His 50th minute goal was breathtaking and it was the only one of the game. A thunderous strike from 20 yards left Liverpool keeper David James without an earthly chance of stopping it.
The unstoppable shot, however, was volleyed with Yeboah’s ‘wrong’ foot – the right, if you see what I mean. “I don’t score many with my right foot, normally I prefer my left foot but on this occasion I tried it with my right,” Yeboah explained.
“It went in and that’s what matters. – and it was a fantastic feeling to score a goal like that,” he added.
Collymore’s tale of woe began when he became the victim of a heavy challenge from John Pemberton deep inside the United penalty area but referee David Elleray saw nothing wrong with the tackle and that left Liverpool feeling hard done by at not having been awarded a penalty.
Worse for Liverpool, the tackle hurt Collymore’s ankle and, though he played on for a while, he had to go off and was replaced by Robbie Fowler. Although the game was closely contested the first half hardly sparkled but it picked up nicely after Yeboah’s magnificent strike off the underside of the crossbar.
Liverpool manager Roy Evans commented: “It was some goal but it gave us a lift and I thought we deserved something from the game. We’ll probably play worse than we did here and win.”
His argument had logic. John Lukic saved well from Fowler before Ian Rush poked the ball agonisingly wide while Rob Jones had a shot deflected onto the woodwork.
But Liverpool were indebted to James, when he tipped a well struck shot form McAllister one-handed round a post and somehow denied Brian Deane a goal with a reflex save from close range.
FULL TIME: Leeds United 1, Liverpool 0
UNITED: Lukic, Kelly, Pemberton, Wetherall, Dorigo, Rod Wallace (Whelan 82), Palmer, McAllister, Speed, Yeboah, Deane. Subs not used: Beasley, Beeney.
LIVERPOOL: James, Jones, Wright, Babb, Matteo (Thomas 82), Redknapp, McManaman, Barnes, Harkness, Rush, Collymore (Fowler 20). Subs not used: Warner.