On this day in 2006 Rafa Benitez earned his first win against Manchester United, beating the Red Devils 1-0 in the FA Cup 5th round.
It was Liverpool’s first FA Cup win against Manchester United since 1921 as an uncharacteristically poor Sir Alex Ferguson side were played off the park by Rafa Benitez’s Reds at Anfield.
Of the two sides it was Liverpool who started the brightest, testing United keeper Edwin van ser Sar early on as the Dutch shot stopper was forced to push a Harry Kewell header out for a corner. Van der Sar’s heroics provided only the briefest of respite for United however, and moment later Liverpool found themselves ahead. A Steven Gerrard corner found its way to Irish full back Steve Finnan whose cross was met by a Peter Crouch header, van der Sar got a hand to the shot but it wasn’t enough to keep it out. Throughout the match Liverpool came close to adding a second on a number of occasions but weren’t quite able. As if United’s woes weren’t bad enough, losing to their greatest rivals, their misery was compounded as Alan Smith suffered a broken leg blocking a John Arne Riise free kick late on into the match. Despite Liverpool squandering a number of chances it mattered very little in the end, Crouch’s goal being enough to send the Reds through to the FA Cup quarter finals having beat Manchester United 1-0.