Throwback Thursday: Rafa’s birth, Callaghan’s debut and Gary Mac’s derby magic

A fair amount has happened in the life of Liverpool FC on April 16 down the years. Debuts, birthdays, missed penalties and late winners all feature in our selection of the stop-off points down memory lane below.

On this day:

Ian Callaghan’s debut – Saturday, April 16, 1960: Liverpool 4-0 Bristol Rovers (Second Division, Anfield)

The Reds’ record appearance maker made his first for the club four months into Bill Shankly’s tenure when, wearing the No.7 shirt, he came in for fellow club legend Billy Liddle.

The man who would go on to make 857 appearances for the Merseysiders was named as Man of the Match by The People as goals from Bobby Campbell, Jimmy Melia, Alan A’Court and Roger Hunt secured victory.

Monday, April 16, 2001: Everton 2-3 Liverpool (Premiership, Goodison Park)

Gary McAllister’s iconic 44-yard stoppage-time free-kick won a thrilling clash across Stanley Park on this day 19 years ago. Emile Heskey and Markus Babbel had twice given the visitors the lead but saw their efforts cancelled out by Duncan Ferguson and a David Unsworth penalty.

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Down to ten men after Igor Bišcan’s dismissal, the odds appeared to be against the Reds but McAllister’s superb piece of improvisation won the day for Gerard Houllier’s side as he swept the ball in at the near-post when a cross looked the only realistic option.

Saturday, April 16, 2005: Liverpool 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Premiership, Anfield)

A game generally remembered primarily for Erik Edman’s stunning 40-yard opener for Spurs ended in stalemate after Luis García and then Sami Hyypiä – who had both scored in the Champions League against Juventus 11 days earlier – levelled, with Robbie Keane regaining the lead for the visitors.

Steven Gerrard also had the chance to get it back to 2-2 prior to Hyypiä’s leveller but he fired a penalty wide of the post at a stage in his career when he was still finding his feet as a reliable spot-kick scorer.

Sunday, April 1, 2017: West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Liverpool (Premier League, Hawthorns)

Roberto Firmino’s opportunistic first-half header gave Jürgen Klopp’s side a crucial win in the West Midlands on this day three years ago to help the Reds’ ultimately successful top-four push.


The game was a tight one but was also memorable for some good saves from an in-form Simon Mignolet and Alberto Moreno shooting narrowly wide of an open net from the halfway line after Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster went forward for a last-ditch corner.


Rafael Benítez (60 years):

The popular Spanish boss was born on this day 60 years ago. As it happens, on the same day as Callaghan’s aforementioned debut.

Currently in charge of Chinese Super League club, Dalian Professional, his six seasons at Liverpool between 2004 and 2010 continue to be a source of many fond memories.

He won the Champions League in astonishing fashion against AC Milan at the end of his first season at the club in 2005, the FA Cup in similarly dramatic fashion a year later against West Ham United. He also secured the 2005 UEFA Super Cup with a 3-1 success over CSKA Moscow and the 2006 FA Community Shield courtesy of a 2-1 win over familiar foes, Chelsea.

His best league finish with the Reds came in the 2008/09 campaign, when he guided them to second with a points tally of 86 – which remained a record for the club in the Premier League era until Klopp’s men chalked up 97 last term.

Alongside Liverpool and Dalian, he has also managed: Real Madrid B (1993-95), Real Valladolid (1995-96), Osasuna (1996), Extremadura (1997-99), Tenerife (2000-01), Valencia (2001-04), Inter Milan (2010), Chelsea (2012-13), Napoli (2013-15), Real Madrid (2015-16), Newcastle United (2016-19).

James Noble

Contributor. 20-year-old uni student studying sports journalism. Southern Red.

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