Season’s meetings, no. 9 – Liverpool v Manchester United, 1978-79

At the outset of this series, we said that the holy grail was two teams wearing three or more kits in their games against each other in a season but, as yet, the first instalment, Sheffield Wednesday v Wimbledon in 1993-94, is the only one to have ticked all of the boxes.

This episode kind of fulfils the criteria, though really two of the three for one club are variants of the same shirt. Nevertheless, it’s still worthy of note.

On Boxing Day 1978, Liverpool travelled to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United and recorded a 3-0 win, wearing their white away kit.

 

By the end of March, the Reds – having been denied three league titles in a row by Nottingham Forest the previous year – were five points clear clear of Everton at the top with two games in hand.

Having reached the FA Cup semi-final, double dreams were alive, especially as their last-four opponents United were well back in seventh.

The cup rules at the time still held that colour-clashes in semi-finals and finals should see both teams change, though this was ignored for the finals of 1971, 1976, 1977 (when United in red beat Liverpool in white) and 1978.

However, for their game at Maine Road on March 31, United were in their white away kit, with Liverpool premiering a new yellow third kit, in the same style as their first two strips.

 

A 2-2 draw meant a replay at Goodison Park four days later. While the expectation might have been that Liverpool would be in white this time with United in blue, instead the same strips were worn.

Jimmy Greenhoff scored the only goal as United advanced to the final, where again only one team would change, Arsenal beating the Red Devils 3-2 while wearing yellow and blue.

Before that though, United would have to go to Anfield on April 14, the sides’ third meeting in the space of 15 days. This time, Liverpool were obviously in red but United had a slightly different away kit – the cuffs only had two black stripes rather than three and the Admiral logo was black instead of red.

 

Liverpool gained some measure of revenge with a 2-0 win and finished eight points clear of Forest at the top of the league.

In 1980, Liverpool reached the cup semi-finals again, drawing three times with Arsenal before losing, with each side wearing their home kit twice and away kit twice.

Five years after that, they would again lose to United after a drawn semi-final. Again, the sides took turns to change kit, United triumphing in white and black against Liverpool’s all-red in the replay.

 

 

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