Liverpool is seeking a third win on the spin in the league when Sunderland visits Anfield tomorrow. Why not do like the Reds did almost 78 years ago when the north-east team was clobbered 4-0.
The result on the 12th of December 1936 was highly unexpected. Sunderland was reigning champions in England and topped the table when arriving in L4. They had also won six of their last seven games.
Liverpool was in a far worse state. The Reds hanged on to their top tier status by a whisker the preceding season. The club landed in a 17th position only two points from relegation. This time around, the season 1936/37, it looked bleak again. The Reds were in 17th place ahead of the Sunderland visit. And the performances had been inconsistent to say the least.
But the home team didn´t bother about league placings or form. They gave the crowd a fine festive present when the top team of England was resoundingly beaten.
Liverpool put themselves in front after half an hour when left-winger Alf Hanson, with Norwegian roots, broke the deadlock. The strugglers held their one goal lead over the champions up to half-time. Just after the break all hell broke lose for Sunderland and goal-hungry Liverpool never let them into the game.
In the 47th minute Liverpool doubled the lead when Berry Nieuwenhuys made it 2-0. The South African attacker was a regular goal-scorer for Liverpool during six seasons in the 1930´s. He hit double figures in five of those seasons.
Only four minutes after 2-0 another nail in the Sunderland coffin was hammered in. In the 51st minute 20-year old local guy Jack Balmer scored one of his eight league goals that season. The striker had a long career at Liverpool and stayed on for 17 years, between 1935 and 1952. He was really prolific, scoring 98 league goals for the Reds and 110 in total. It would of course have been much more if not World War Two had halted his career for a few seasons.
Alf Hanson wrapped up things in the final stages when he netted the home side´s fourth.
The shocking result meant that Liverpool climbed to 13th place and Sunderland dropped to 3rd.
But for Liverpool it was a shortlived joy. The team won only six of the 23 remaining matches and ended up in 18th place once more just escaping relegation, this time by three points. Champions Sunderland was knocked off their stride because of the Anfield loss and slided down the table and finished in 8th place.
Liverpool has through the years beaten Sunderland by 4-0 five times at Anfield. I wouldn´t mind at all if the lads makes it six tomorrow when:
We Go Again.
Sources: lfchistory.net, statto.com, soccerbase.com.