Thomas and Rush land fifth Cup

09 May 1992

Ian Rush broke the record for the most goals scored in an FA Cup final as Liverpool produced an improved second-half display to see off Second Division Sunderland at Wembley.

The legendary frontman took his tally to five in just three finals 23 minutes from time to seal a 2-0 victory after Michael Thomas' stunning strike had put the Reds in front two minutes after the interval.

It was the perfect end to a season of frustration that had seen manager Graeme Souness forced to contend with a series of injuries as Liverpool finished in a disappointing sixth place - their worst Division One campaign for 27 years.

In contrast, the run to the final had been a refreshing distraction for the Reds although they had to contend with a series of replays in order to see off Bristol Rovers and Ipswich Town before a Thomas goal defeated Aston Villa in a quarter-final at Anfield to set up the semi-final with Portsmouth.

Jim Smith's side went close to securing a shock 1-0 victory in extra-time at Highbury with Ronnie Whelan's close range strike saving Liverpool's blushes with just four minutes remaining.

The replay was a dour affair and after 120 minutes of deadlock Souness saw his side progress to the final courtesy of a penalty shootout.

It seemed that Liverpool's name was on the cup and yet there would still be drama off the pitch as Souness announced that he would need emergency heart surgery and although he came through the operation successfully he was not deemed well enough to lead the team out at Wembley.

Instead, that honour fell to Reds stalwart Ronnie Moran who admitted it had been a huge privilege to take on the mantle.

"I marched out with the side and it was a very proud moment for me," said Moran.  

 

"I've still got the video at home and it will be something for my grandchildren to watch in years to come. It was a great occasion for us and I introduced the side to the Duchess of Kent.

 

"I'd been to Wembley on a few occasions already, but I'd never played there. I missed out in 1965 when we won it for the first time."

 

While Moran stole the spotlight, the sight of Souness on the bench, flanked by his doctors, brought a cheer from the Liverpool crowd and gave the team an added spur to go on and claim the trophy.

The household names may well have been the men on the scoresheet but the star of the show was youngster Steve McManaman, who produced a man of the match performance after a tactical switch saw him move from the left to the right wing in the second-half.

It was even more remarkable given that it was only his second game back since undergoing a knee operation in April and he marked the occasion by teeing up Thomas for the opener.

It gave Liverpool the confidence to go and notch a second and ensure Rush ended the day as both a cup winner and a record breaker.

The Welshman was pleased to finish what he admitted was a difficult season by winning the cup for his manager.

"We won it for him and we won it for ourselves," said Rush.

"Maybe, by our standards, we have had a bad year but we have still won the cup. Next year, I believe we will be challenging in the League and in Europe when we have got a full side.

"It's not been the best of years for me on the goalscoring front and I've had lots of injury niggles. I just wish that the season wasn't over because I feel I am back in my sharpest form."