You’ve got to feel for Ronny Rosenthal.
The Israeli international spent four years at Liverpool following his arrival on loan in March 1990, scoring 22 goals in a Liverpool shirt helping the club win their first league title in three years, before joining Tottenham Hotspur and ending his career at Watford respectively.
Yet to most, he is best known for that dreaded open goal miss against Aston Villa during the inaugural Premier League season.
Today, we venture on a throwback to Rosenthal’s full Reds debut, a First Division clash away against Charlton Athletic. Going into this game, Liverpool were ahead of second placed Aston Villa on goal difference, but had two games in hand. A win on this day 29 years ago would put Liverpool three points clear at the top of the table.
This game would be a chance for Liverpool to redeem their recent embarrassment at Selhurst Park, after a 4-3 defeat to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup semi-final just three days prior to this fixture.
For a large portion of the first half, Selhurst Park threatened to be the scene of further embarrassment for Liverpool as Charlton had the Reds on the ropes with a number of dangerous high crosses into the box. It was evident the London side were in a relegation battle as they seemed to be playing like their lives depended on it.
Then, in the 26th minute, Liverpool’s quality shone through. Loanee Ronny Rosenthal played an intricate one-two with John Barnes on the right-hand side before striking at a tight angle past Bolder from outside the area. He started this game as a result of Rush’s injury, and this finish was one Rushie would be proud of.
Liverpool came out of the gate flying at the start of the second half, much improved in contrast with the way they’d started the first. Dalglish’s side were producing some fine attacking combinations and so it came as no surprise when Rosenthal beat Bolder for a second time 51 minutes in.
The Standard Liege loanee received a pass from Staunton, then drove down the left with force, showing good strength to shrug aside Caton before firing home from 12 yards out.
The debutant was now hungry for a hat-trick. Perhaps he let this eagerness get the better of him when he proceeded to miss a sitter from point-blank range. Cruel foreshadowing of what would follow a couple of years later.
The Israeli didn’t let this faze him, securing his hat-trick with a near post header following a sensational cross from Barnes. A hat-trick perhaps made even sweeter by the fact it was a ‘perfect’ hat-trick (right foot, left foot, header).
Barnes would get his reward for a fine performance with a goal of his own, to wrap up the three points for Liverpool.