On this day: Leeds United fall short in epic comeback against Liverpool

Leeds United 4 Liverpool 5.
Leeds United 4 Liverpool 5.
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It had been over nine years since Liverpool had visited Elland Road before April 13th 1991, with the two old rivals experiencing very mixed fortunes throughout the 1980s as Leeds spent most of the decade languishing in Division Two.

However, with Howard Wilkinson at the helm, the Whites were enjoying a very impressive return to the top division in 1990-91 and came up against title challengers Liverpool ready to roll back the years and take on the side that had been the dominant force in England since Don Revie's departure from Leeds in 1974.

The first half was nothing short of a disaster, with Leeds going 4-0 down in merely half an hour after Ray Houghton, Jan Molby, David Speedie and John Barnes looked to have put the league champions out of sight with clinical first-half efforts.

Leeds had had their chances early on in the half with Gordon Strachan, Mel Sterland and Carl Shutt had all going very close. However, they had been made to pay in the most brutal of ways as Liverpool's dominant perfromance was even met with applause from some sections of the Elland Road faithful, while commentator Martin Tyler rather bluntly described it as a “slaughter”.

Few, if any, could therefore have predicted what was about to unfold in the second half, as a completely different United animal emerged from the tunnel, ready to mount an assault on the seemingly home and dry visitors.

An early chance for Leeds saw Graham Chapman capitalise on an error from Mike Hooper, with the Liverpool goalkeeper parrying a Gary McAllister shot straight to Chapman who lifted it into the roof of the net from close range.

Chapman then thought he had got another when he beat Hooper to a high cross into the box from David Batty and bundled it in, however the goal was ruled out for a foul despite furious protests.

However, the league champions were beginning to look rattled and were nowhere to be seen in defence when a Gary Speed throw-in deep into the Reds half went all the way to Shutt in the middle of the box, who smashed in low from close range to put the comeback well and truly on.

Leeds were soon brought crashing back down to earth as once again John Barnes slotted a cool finish past John Lukic to leave Leeds needing three goals in only 11 normal time minutes.

The home side remained relentless as they pressed for an almost unthinkable equaliser, as a superb cross from David Batty found the head of Chapman who sent Elland Road into bedlam with an unstoppable header.

Liverpool were almost defenceless as Wilkinson's rampant side continued to keep them penned in to their own half. And this time, it was Strachan's turn to find the head of Chapman as he nodded it in from barely three yards out to put his side on the brink of an incredible comeback.

With only one minute left to go, Leeds could not find the extra gear to achieve what Wilkinson later described as a “miracle”, with his side having to settle for a defeat, but also playing a huge part in a match considered by many as a forgotten Division One classic.

Paul Heckingbottom.

It has been horrific admits Leeds United boss Paul Heckingbottom