On this day: Henderson’s first goal, Kuyt clinches Champions League football and front-three gun down Arsenal

On this throwback Thursday, James Noble looks at the Reds’ biggest fixtures on this date over the years.

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August 27 has played host to several significant moments for Liverpool in recent seasons, including current captain Jordan Henderson’s first goal for the club in 2011 and an impressive early-season victory over this weekend’s Community Shield opponents in 2017.

Sunday August 27, 2017: Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal (Premier League, Anfield)

We go to that emphatic victory over the Gunners first. On a balmy late summer afternoon on Merseyside, the now familiar front-three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané arguably put in their first landmark Premier League display.

Each of the triumvirate had played a key role four days earlier in a 4-2 Anfield second leg win which saw off Julian Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim 6-3 on aggregate in the Champions League playoffs.

That earned the Reds their first place in the group stage of Europe’s premier club competition since 2014 and they rounded off a successful week by overcoming the side they’d pipped to fourth place a little over three months previously – who included a certain Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at right wing-back, four days before his move to Anfield.

Salah’s arrival that June can largely be attributed to the prospect of Champions League football, which the North Londoners were without for the first time since 1997/98.

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Indeed, this would prove Arsène Wenger’s 22nd and final season in charge at Arsenal. The display on this occasion arguably represented one of the key reasons why.

A perceived soft-centre appeared to have been growing within the team since the mid-2000s and Liverpool exploited that with a level of ruthlessness that they have since enhanced and honed.

Firmino headed home Joe Gomez’s cross to put the hosts ahead in the 17th minute. The Brazilian’s assist for Mané in the 40th then clearly signified the forward-line’s potency.

Emre Can — who’d scored twice in the Hoffenheim success — led a break and found the feet of Firmino. Mané raced into the space beyond the No.9 down the left and was duly found by him before the Senegalese cut inside and rifled a 15-yard shot into the bottom-right corner.

Firmino linking, followed by Mané or Salah scoring would become a familiar sight.

Salah nicked the ball away from Héctor Bellerín and raced a solid 60 yards downfield before he slotted past Petr Čech for his first Anfield Premier League goal in the 57th minute, and his inch-perfect far-post cross allowed substitute Daniel Sturridge to head home the fourth 20 minutes later.

At the time — and even more so in retrospect — this felt like a day that pointed to the contrasting trajectories of the two clubs.

With Mikel Arteta impressing in his early months at the Arsenal helm, Saturday’s Wembley meeting could prove an interesting measure of where the respective present-day incarnations are headed.

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Saturday August 27, 2016: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Liverpool (Premier League, White Hart Lane)

Not necessarily the statement result of a year later, but this entertaining draw at Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs was an encouraging marker nonetheless.

In only the third league game of Jürgen Klopp’s first full season in charge – all of which had been away up to then, due to the final touches being made to Anfield’s new Main Stand – his side more than held their own and earned a point at the home of the team who had finished third in 2015/16 and who would go on to finish second to Antonio Conte’s Chelsea in 2016/17.

That, in itself, suggested this was a Liverpool outfit more than capable of the top-four finish they would go on to achieve.

James Milner — in his early days filling in at left-back — put the visitors ahead from the spot in the 43rd minute before Danny Rose levelled the scores from close-range in the 72nd.

Mané briefly looked to have doubled the Reds’ lead early in the second half, but Adam Lallana was adjudged to have been just offside in the build-up.

Saturday August 27, 2011: Liverpool 3-1 Bolton Wanderers (Premier League, Anfield)

As it turned out, this was an evening that proved a more accurate pointer for where Bolton’s season was heading than Liverpool’s.

Another picturesque late summer evening at Anfield played host to an eye-catching, energetic home display. One which suggested Kenny Dalglish’s side should have finished higher than eighth in 2011/12.

Owen Coyle’s men had impressed many in the previous campaign but, come May 2012, they would be relegated. Some of the early signs were perhaps on show here.

On just his second competitive Anfield outing for the Reds following his June arrival from Sunderland, 21-year-old Henderson opened the scoring in the 15th minute with his first goal for the club. One moment that would certainly hint at things to come.

After Stewart Downing’s volley from a sublime outside of the boot Luis Suárez cross had been clawed away by Jussi Jääskeläinen, the Black Cats academy graduate displayed typical persistence to work the ball onto his left-foot and find the top-left corner from 15-yards once his first effort had been blocked.

Martin Škrtel made it 2-0 with a thumping header from a Charlie Adam corner six minutes into the second half before Adam himself — another of the summer signings — got his first Liverpool goal with a 20-yard right-footed effort just 75 seconds later.

Ivan Klasnić notched a close-range consolation for the visitors in stoppage-time, after a rare Jamie Carragher error allowed Martin Petrov to race into the box.

Read more of James’ work here!

Wednesday August 27, 2008: Liverpool 1-0 Standard Liège (AET) (Aggregate: 1-0) (Champions League Playoff Round: Second leg, Anfield)

Arguably one of the nerviest evenings of the Rafael Benítez era but, by now, a largely forgotten one.

In each of the Spaniard’s first five seasons on Merseyside, Liverpool had to progress through at least one round of qualifiers to reach the Champions League group stage.

Graz AK, The New Saints, FBK Kaunas, CSKA Sofia, Maccabi Haifa and Toulouse had each been seen off over the course of the previous four seasons, but the Belgian champions certainly pushed the Reds closest.

A team that included Dante (who had a first-leg penalty saved by Pepe Reina), Steven Defour, Axel Witsel and Marouane Fellaini – alongside substitute and future Red Milan Jovanović – held their Premier League opponents to a 0-0 draw in Belgium, before doing likewise in the Anfield return during normal time.

They threatened, too. Fellaini — who would sign for Everton less than a week later — and Dieumerci Mbokani forced excellent saves out of Reina in the first half on Merseyside, with Benítez’s men rarely being allowed to build-up a head of steam.

Just as the tie — and Liverpool’s place in the Champions League proper — looked to be drifting towards the lottery of penalties though, the typically reliable Dirk Kuyt popped up in the 118th minute.

Having netted against Barcelona, Inter Milan, Arsenal and Chelsea in the knockout rounds in the previous two seasons, the Dutchman was already developing a reputation as a scorer of big — and timely — goals.

This one broke the firmest-looking of deadlocks — and came courtesy of fellow Netherlands international, Ryan Babel. 

A 61st minute substitute, the winger got to the byline down the left before he cut back onto his right-foot and delivered a superbly inviting far-post cross which Kuyt snuck behind the ball-watching Dante to reach and volley home from close-range.

Double Dutch – in the most tension-lifting sense. A goal which allowed nights like the 4-0 Anfield win over Real Madrid to transpire later that season.


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