Liverpool’s Five Greatest European Nights
They might be slugging away in the second best European club competition this season, but Liverpool have provided many great European nights in recent years.
The days of Steven Gerrard are long gone, but the former Anfield skipper was central to many of his club’s most famous triumphs, along with some other cult heroes.
John Arne Riise, Vladimir Smicer and even Florent Sinama Pongolle have all been involved in some famous nights on Merseyside, and we thought we’d do a run down of the best five:
Gerrard Olympiakos GIF
5. Liverpool 3-1 Olympiakos (8 December 2004)
Liverpool were struggling in the Champions League group stages, and needed a win against Olympiakos.
Brazil legend Rivaldo had the Anfield faithful fearing the worst after 26 minutes, as he curled a free kick past Chris Kirkland to give the Greek champions the lead.
Rafa Benitez fired up his troops at half time, and footballing legend Sinama Pongolle levelled the scores just two minutes after coming on at the break.
Liverpool needed three goals to go through, so when Neil Mellor pulled one back with nine minutes left, the game was in the balance.
Olympiakos defended deeper to try and see out the final seconds but couldn’t do anything about Gerrard’s winner, as he rifled in Mellor’s knockdown to send Liverpool through.
4. Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid (10 March, 2009)
After coasting through their Champions League group stage, Liverpool were drawn against Spanish giants Real Madrid in the last 16.
Yossi Benayoun’s header had given the Premier League side a narrow advantage going into the second leg, but many expected Madrid – who had the likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Arjen Robben and Raul in their side – to make it through.
But the night belonged to Fernando Torres and Liverpool.
Torres, a product of Real’s fierce rivals, Atletico, was in sensational form all night, scoring the opener after 16 minutes and ensuring Madrid’s comeback was virtually impossible.
The Reds didn’t sit back though, and two goals from Gerrard were added to late on by Andrea Dossena (remember him?) as Liverpool secured a 5-0 aggregate win.
Garcia Juve GIF
3. Liverpool 2-1 Juventus (5 April, 2005)
After making it past Olympiakos in the group stage and hammering Bayer Leverkusen in the last 16, Liverpool were drawn against Juventus in the quarter final.
Juve had a team that boasted Pavel Nedved, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alessandro Del Piero, while the Reds fielded a team with Scott Carson, Djimi Traore and Anthony Le Tallec.
Only one winner, right?
Sami Hyypia put Liverpool ahead after just ten minutes, before Luis Garcia made Anfield erupt as he slammed a 25 yard volley past Gianluigi Buffon.
Fabio Cannavaro pulled one back for the Old Lady in the second half, but Liverpool hung on and also claimed a 0-0 draw in the second leg to advance into the semi finals.
Ghost Goal GIF
2. Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (3 May, 2005)
After eliminating Juventus, Liverpool ended up in an all English semi final with Chelsea.
It proved to be one of the most controversial clashes of the tournament, and one that still pisses Chelsea fans off to this day.
That’s because the only goal of the two legs was scored by Luis Garcia, whose shot was adjudged to have crossed the line when replays showed it as highly debatable.
Dubbed the ‘Ghost Goal’, Garcia’s shot dribbled towards goal before being hooked away from ‘behind the line’ by William Gallas.
Referee Lubos Michel awarded the goal despite Chelsea’s protests, and Liverpool made it through to the Champions League final.
1. Milan 3-3 Liverpool (Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties, 25 May, 2005)
Liverpool won back to back European cups in the mid 1970’s, but what happened in Istanbul tops the lot for many fans.
3-0 down at half time and listening to the Milan players celebrate in the adjacent changing room, Liverpool performed arguably the Champions League’s greatest ever comeback.
Captain Gerrard pulled one back with a fine header early in the second half, before Vladimir Smicer gave the Reds a real chance.
The travelling Reds’ contingent had their hearts in their mouths when Xabi Alonso’s penalty was saved, but the Spaniard rammed in the rebound to level the scores.
Penalties were needed and the Italians simply fell apart, with Andriy Shevchenko’s pathetic spot kick summing up Milan’s capitulation.
Liverpool’s night was complete and it will go down as one of the greatest European triumphs ever, never mind just in Anfield folklore.