For City it was as though they had never been away from Anfield. Having conceded three goals in the final 20 minutes of the Coca-Cola Cup tie between the sides three days earlier, they swiftly found themselves two down in the first six.
City had already bristled with early intent when Nicky Summerbee rounded Steve Harkness on the right and got in a cross. But from the Liverpool attack which followed they went ahead. Steve McManaman went on one of those familiar rampaging runs up the right flank for most of the length of the pitch and then pulled the ball back precisely into the path of Jason McAteer. His shot was parried by Eike Immel, but Rush was there for an easy rebound for his first League goal of the season.
Barely a minute had passed before the second. A free-kick on the edge of City's area had to be retaken when Richard Edgehill was booked for encroachment at the first attempt. Jamie Redknapp quickly replaced the ball and his shot took a significant deflection off the defensive wall to leave Immel with no chance.
The crowd sat back and awaited the deluge. That it did not arrive was due to City's positive attitude. They refused to be daunted and won most of the ball in midfield. They might have been level had Niall Quinn not been so profligate. He had a shot cleared in the 20th minute and then blazed over having been set up by Georgi Kinkladze.
As it was Liverpool might indeed have extended their lead. Robbie Fowler turned and shot from 20 yards only for Immel to defy him with a fingertip save and then Rush rolled a half-hit shot narrowly wide.
Whatever happened to Liverpool in the final period of the first half was all rectified after the break. Opening followed opening, goal came after goal. First Mark Wright surged from midfield and squared to Fowler who beat two men and scored sublimely in the corner. Nine minutes later Neil Ruddock, on for the injured John Barnes, powered in to head home a corner. No sooner was that done than Fowler turned in the box to fire home a McAteer cross. Rush got the last after the unfortunate Immel made a superb save from Redknapp's long shot, only to see it fall into the striker's path.Reuse content