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The 1965 FA Cup Final: Liverpool v. Leeds United

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When Liverpool finally won the FA Cup for the first time, they didn't do it the easy way. The club had secured their first league title under Bill Shankly—and their sixth overall—the year before, only a season removed from returning to the top flight after spending nearly a decade in the Second Division, and they were matched up against a Leeds United side that had just won promotion. Despite success in the league the previous season, Liverpool had struggled to keep pace in 1964-65 while making their first appearance in European competition, and as a result they would end the season behind Leeds in the league.

With two points given for each win and 42 games played, the Reds would end the season with only 44 points—equivalent to 55 points in a 38 game season with three points per win—and so a chance to capture their first FA Cup at the third time of asking would be all the more important to stave off fears the club might be unable to sustain any kind of success after one strong season. In the end, though, Liverpool would manage a narrow victory, and the next season would see them rebound in the league and capture the title for a second time in the post-relegation era.

Liverpool's second trip to Wembley, following on 1950's loss to Arsenal, saw the FA Cup final head to extra time for the first time since 1947. Liverpool finally managed to crack Leeds' defence in the 93rd minute, but a Leeds side that had put a priority on defending up until that point responded fiercely, equalising two minutes later. It wasn't pressure they could sustain, however, and with Liverpool pushing for the win, a 113th minute header by Ian St. John gave the Reds their first FA Cup trophy and helped set the stage for Liverpool's rise to dominance in England and Europe in the coming years.