Cup finals excepting, the only time Liverpool have played in front of a reigning monarch was in 1920 when their game against Manchester City at Hyde Road was watched by King George V. The Reds were unable to put on a royal show though as they went down 2-1 after being in the lead at half time.
The King was in Liverpool the day before the game to attend the Grand National at Aintree. His train arrived at Fazakerley shortly after noon, and crowds braved the rain to line the mile long route to the racecourse, to where he was transported in a landau accompanied by his host the Earl of Derby. As the King took his seat at the front of the grandstand, the crowd gave three cheers and the National Anthem was played.
After watching Troytown win the race, the King went to Knowsley Hall for tea with the Earl of Derby then joined the Royal Train at Huyton, which then left for Didsbury. He spent the night on the train which was surrounded by policemen and soldiers. The next morning he was joined for breakfast by the Town Clerk and Lord Mayor of Manchester, before being taken into the city. Once there he visited Grangethorpe Hospital in Fallowfield, where wounded soldiers from the Great War were being treated. He then gave some Royal Red Cross Medals to hospital nursing staff, before being taken to Hyde Road for the game.
The King was taken on to the pitch where he shook hands with all the players from both sides. He then took a seat in the directors box to watch the match along with 40,000 other fans. Liverpool had the better of the first half with the forward line linking extremely well. Inside right Harry Chambers gave them the lead from the penalty spot after twenty minutes and he could have had two more before the break but Jim Goodchild made a couple of fine saves.
City improved after the break and Horace Barnes equalised on the hour. The Reds fought back and were the better side but with fifteen minutes remaining Barnes scored again to give City the lead. Again the Reds fought back but they couldn’t find an equaliser and City had avenged their 1-0 defeat at Anfield a week earlier.
This had been the second time the Reds had been watched by King George V and on the previous occasions the Reds had also lost. That was at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final in 1914, when they went down 1-0 to Burnley. In 1921, King George V watched a game at Anfield, but it didn’t involve the Reds. After visiting Liverpool for the Grand National on 18th March, he stayed on to watch the following day’s FA Cup semi final between Cardiff and Wolves, which ended in a 0-0 draw, Wolves winning the replay 3-1 at Old Trafford.