Classic match report - Liverpool 0 Wolves 1, 1984

Going to Anfield and winning is hard enough at the best of times.

Classic match report - Liverpool 0 Wolves 1, 1984

But in January 1984 Wolves were, to be blunt, pretty rubbish.

Rooted to the bottom of the First Division, they were about to begin a freefall that wouldn't stop until they reached the bottom rung of the Football League ladder.

And they weren't just playing Liverpool, they were playing 1980s Liverpool.

Between 1980 and 1986 Liverpool won the title five times. They won the European Cup twice, the FA Cup once, the League Cup four times (in a row).

They had Rush, Souness, Dalglish and Hansen.

Wolves had Pender, Towner, Troughton and Crainie.

But something weird and wonderful happened on January 14 - against all the odds, lowly Wolves beat table-toppers Liverpool on their own turf.

It was their first win at Anfield for 33 years - and they wouldn't beat the Reds for another 27 years after this.

Wolves would only win twice more that season and match-winning hero Steve Mardenborough, who notched his first goal in gold and black that day, didn't score for the club again.

Definitely one to savour.

Liverpool 0 Wolves 1, Saturday January 14 1984

Wonder Wolves kop an Anfield ovation!

By David Harrison

One of football's finest accolades was awarded to Wolves on Saturday after an unlikely victory which will have those not present questioning their eyesight, hearing or sanity.

Liverpool fans saw it for themselves, however, and down from the Kop tumbled a tumultuous ovation as Wolves' players left the Anfield pitch.

The Koppites are always willing to hail worthwhile achievements and in Wolves' display they saw a courageous backs-against-the-wall fight which deservedly lowered the flag of the League champions.

Wolves started the game without a win at Anfield for 33 years and were widely regarded as candidates for the season's heaviest defeat.

But those who turned up for the ritual slaughter left admiring the perseverance and staying power of the men from Molineux.

Manager Graham Hawkins knew his side were capable of causing an upset if they stuck to a rigid battle plan of pressurising their illustrious opponents from first kick to last.

For the most part it meant having nine men back behind the ball and interrupting the rhythm of Liverpool's passing which can be hypnotic if allowed to develop.

It also involved denying the goal machine Ian Rush the space to use his blistering pace against a defence not noted for their speed.

Alan Dodd and John Pender performed their task to the letter and only once, in the last ten minutes, did Rush have a worthwhile shot at goal.

John Burridge saved that as he did everything else hurled his way - including a second-half stop from Steve Nicol of which any keeper in the world would have been proud.

On the few occasions that Wolves jumped over their defences barricades to attack, they caused Liverpool more than a little embarrassment with Danny Crainie pecking away with irritating success at their back four.

It was from one of his crosses that Steve Mardenborough headed Wolves' winner in the tenth minute - a looping effort which hit the 19-year-old on his head then his shoulder before spinning out of Bruce Grobbelaar's reach.

Mardenborough, the 11th hour replacement for Mel Eves, did not even know he was playing when he woke up on Saturday morning.

He must have thought he was still dreaming at ten past three.

"I told Steve that if he didn't get into the penalty box I would want to know why," said Hawkins.

"I think my words must have got through to him."

But to single out individuals would be to detract from a team performance which has opened up the real possibility of escape for Wolves.

But before they are lulled into premature thoughts of avoiding relegation, Wolves should realise that despite Saturday's win they are still rooted at the bottom of the First Division, six points away from a position of safety and with a goal difference which gives their rivals a further distinct advantage over them.

Only with repeats of their Anfield adventure will they begin the climb away from the relegation zone.

But, at least, they have now discovered the blueprint for survival.

LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar, Neal, Kennedy, Lawrenson, Nicol (Whelan, 76), Hansen, Robinson, Lee, Rush, Johnston, Souness.

WOLVES: Burridge, Humphrey, Palmer, Daniel, Pender, Dodd, Towner, Clarke, Troughton, Mardenborough, Crainie. Sub: Cartwright

Attendance: 23,325

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