George Graham's side needed to beat Liverpool by two goals to take the title back to Highbury - a task most people thought was beyond them. Arsenal defied the odds though, taking the lead through Alan Smith's header before Michael Thomas wrote his name in Club folklore with that famous stoppage-time strike.

In 2009, we spoke to some of the key men involved in that glorious night - and some other familiar Arsenal faces. Read on for their stories of Anfield '89.

Alan Smith Scorer of the first goal
Alan Smith
"Twenty years - where has it gone? It's incredible. As for Mickey's goal, it was remarkable really because we didn't know how long was left but John Lukic still threw the ball out instead of kicking it out of his hands. Lee helped it up the channel to me and I thought I had to turn first time because the whistle could go at any time. So I took a chance, it was a decent touch and I saw Mickey straight away and helped it on into his direction. After that he got a favourable bounce of the ball and I was following in his path - I could see it all developing with the Liverpool lads closing in. It's a cliche but it did seem to happen in slow motion, but Mickey never did things quickly anyway. He took his time and, typical Mickey, he waited for Grobbelaar to make his move and flicked it over him. It was bedlam after that. 

"As for my goal, it was one of those free-kicks which we used to practice on the training ground day-in day-out, and it never used to come off on a matchday. We used to get so fed up about that - we wondered why we bothered - but it did work on that occasion. Me, Tony and Bouldy would line up, we'd peel off, we were big lads of course - six foot plus - and Tony just threw himself at the ball. He  was nowhere near it but it acted as a diversion and I just came in at the far stick and flicked it in.

"There was all the controversy over whether I touched it or was offside but I just helped the ball on its way. The flight of the ball didn't change direction but I got a good touch. After the game some of the Liverpool players said they had seen the linesman's flag go up but I didn't. Then some thought I didn't get a touch and it shouldn't have counted because it was an indirect free-kick. When you've got Ronnie Whelan and Steve McMahon and some of these players crowding round the referee and linesman, you think the goal will be disallowed, there's no chance it will stand. So when the ref pointed to the centre circle we just thought 'game on'."

Nigel Winterburn Left-back at Anfield

Nigel Winterburn
"Twenty years has gone very quickly and to look back at that day, they are really fond memories. It's so hard to describe. For me, having just joined Arsenal, it was my first League title. We should have won it before we had to go to Anfield. We almost choked a little bit by losing to Derby and drawing with Wimbledon so having to go up there and get that 2-0 result... it was a massive achievement for the players and the club. It's the greatest achievement that I've been involved with at Arsenal Football Club.

"I was hoping Mickey would miss because I was right alongside him to put the rebound in! No, I was about 10 yards to the left of Mickey and I was praying that he was going to put that ball in. When it went in you saw my reaction and how much it meant to me and the players. It was such a great evening. 

"The game took place on a Friday night and the celebrations ended the following Friday! To be honest it was a typical celebration - there were plenty of drinks flying around at the time. We got back to London after the game and went into town. But for me it is more about the memories than the celebration." 

Lee Dixon Right-back at Anfield
Lee Dixon
"I've got so many memories of that night. The most vivid one is probably crying my eyes out when Mickey Thomas scored while I was on the pitch. I ran back to John Lukic and he was running towards me - he was the closest one to me and I just remember crying and jumping on him. Then I realised we still had a game to play because the final whistle hadn't gone so I was trying to wipe the tears out of my eyes before the kick-off! 

"I had a big role in Mickey's goal - a big lump upfield! I told John when he got the ball not to throw it to me because I thought the time was up and he should kick it. I was literally running up the pitch and I turned round and he threw it to me so I didn't have much option. There was one ball on and luckily it went straight to Smudger and the rest is history. 

"The zero in the scoreline was as important as the two. George set out pretty much with three at the back which was a bit of a surprise to the Liverpool team and a bit of a surprise for us too because we didn't know we were playing like that until not long before the start of the game. But it worked, we kept it solid at the back and frustrated them really. I think it would have been a different game if Liverpool had needed the win the game. They sat back and relaxed and that benefited us. George's strategy was spot-on and he has to take a huge amount of credit for that."

David O'Leary Centre-back at Anfield
David O'Leary
"I can't believe it's been 20 years but they are great memories and it was a fantastic night. I went to the reunion dinner at Emirates Stadium and it was fantastic to see people I hadn't seen for a long time. I suppose my most vivid memory of that night is Mickey Thomas' goal and the reaction of the crowd. The Arsenal supporters were in the corner of the ground at the end Mickey scored and they were amazing. I had my Dad and my brother at that end and obviously I couldn't see them but I knew they would be jumping up and down with everybody else. It was just an amazing goal to win such an amazing trophy.".

Perry Groves Substitute at Anfield
Perry Groves
"It doesn't seem like 20 years ago but when you see the tight shorts everyone was wearing [in the match] you realise it has to be. I think the trophies in 1987 and 1989 were the catalyst for the Club to go on and win more trophies. It brought the winning mentality back and that's why we're at a fantastic stadium like the Emirates now.

"My clearest memory of Anfield '89 was actually travelling up there. There were 58 people on our first-team coach, there were VIPs and shareholders who we hadn't seen for 20 years. I had to get one of them to move out of my seat! When you're on the bus you say 'Oi, I sit there!' It was very relaxed. Because we had to win by two clear goals I think that took the pressure off. To go to Anfield and win is feasible, to go there and win by two clear goals was practically impossible. The lads were relaxed and I was enjoying watching the game from the bench.

"To be fair the gaffer had said to get into half-time at 0-0, then if we nick a goal the pressure would be on Liverpool and we would get a second. He didn't say the second goal would be in the 94th minute but, other than that, he was the one who really believed it. If you ask the players I think they hoped rather than believed.

"Mickey was 100 per cent the perfect man to go through on goal in stoppage time like that. He was so laid back he could sleep on a razor-blade, Thommo. He'd missed a chance about 10 minutes earlier and it just shows that to play for Arsenal you have to have a certain amount of ability but you have to have mental strength too and Thommo showed he had that. He put himself in that position in the final minute to make history. If there was anyone in your team you wanted that to fall to, it was Thommo. Even when I watch it now I think the defenders are going to catch him. In my opinion that is the greatest Arsenal goal ever."

Arsène Wenger Current Arsenal manager
Arsène Wenger
"I did not see the game because we did not watch English games live in France [in 1989]. We felt we were better than England and television was less internationalised than it is now - we only watched domestic games.

"I have seen the goals, I haven’t seen the game but I have seen the goals many times since and it makes history. It made history because it’s in the final minute and it was the unpredictability of winning 2-0 at Anfield that made a big impact. You always feel when people speak about it that it was a special moment of the Club. It was such a big thing. Since then we’ve won a few times at Anfield as well. What is amazing is that Liverpool was a dominant force at the time but they’ve had more problems to dominate English football like they did at the time."

Ivan Gazidis Arsenal's Chief Executive
Ivan Gazidis
"It's an unbelievable anniversary. I was slobbing in front of the TV 20 years ago, watching the game, but not really thinking it was likely to go anywhere. Then in the 52nd minute it started to get interesting when Alan Smith scored and I watched it all the way to the end. I was thumping the walls when the second goal went in. It was an amazing moment and it will never be repeated. It's interesting - my wife is American and I have tried to explain to her how unlikely this was and I can't get all the elements into it. There are so many things which made it improbable, nearly impossible, and yet it happened. It was an amazing thing. 

"We celebrated the 20th anniversary with a reunion dinner and there is this continuity about the club - the tradition, the old players coming back. It's a special place, Arsenal. One of the people we miss during the celebrations is David Rocastle, he was a big part of that team and I think he played in every game that year. But it was fantastic to see the old players back and the way that the fans remember those moments and remember the players."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
26 May 2009