Article by Jack Gill
With the Reds going for number 6 in Kiev on the 26th May, here is a recap of the previous 5 occasions the Reds have won the Champions League…
Liverpool 3-1 Borussia Mochengladbach.
The Reds won their first European Cup in 77 with a 3-1 against German side Borussia Mochengladbach in the Italian capital. Both teams were appearing in their first European Cup final and it was LFC who came away victorious. Liverpool had won the UEFA cup the previous year meaning that Bob Paisley became the first manager to win the UEFA Cup and European cup in successive seasons.
Terry McDermott put the Reds into the lead in the first half, finishing well after being put through by Steve Heighway who’d cut inside from the wing. Mochengladbach equalised just after the break through an incredible finish from Allan Simonsen. Moments after the Mochengladbach equaliser the Reds thought they deserved a penalty when Berti Vogtsbrought down Kevin Keegan inside the area but the referee waved play on. Tommy Smith put LFC 2-1 up on his 600thappearance for the club as he headed home a Steve Heighwaycorner. In the 82nd minute, Kevin Keegan once again went down after a challenge by Vogts. This time, the referee awarded a penalty which Phil Neal converted to put Liverpool 3-1 up.
Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge.
Bob Paisley led Liverpool to back-to-back European Cups as LFC beat Club Brugge in front of a crowd of 92,500 at Wembley. King Kenny bagged the winner after a Graeme Souness pass which Dalgliesh subsequently chipped the Brugge goalkeeper from.
It was a dull final but the Reds didn’t mind, they’d won their third European trophy in succession and the win made Liverpool the first English side to retain the European Cup. The Reds were very critical of the way Club Brugge set up. Bob Paisley said after the game that “It takes two teams to make a game into a spectacle and Bruges only seemed to be concerned with keeping the score down.” Bruges didn’t come at us much – apart from one mistake in our defence, they never looked like scoring. But they were well organised at the back and it was a case of breaking them down. We controlled the game from start to finish.
Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid
Prior to this season, the last time there was 1 team from England, 1 team from Spain, 1 team from Germany and 1 team from Italy in the semi-final, was 1981 when Liverpool went on to play Real Madrid in the final at the Parc des Princes. A final Liverpool won by a goal to nil. In another striking resemblance to this season, Prince Charles married Lady Diana. Prince Harry is due to marry Meghan Markle a week before the Champions League final.
A late goal from Alan Kennedy was enough to win it for the Reds after a terrific solo run following a Ray Kennedy throw-in in the 82nd minute of the game. Liverpool had chances to extend the one goal lead with Real pushing forwards desperate for a goal, but Augustin Rodriguez in the Real goal made sure it stayed 1-0.
The win saw Liverpool become the first English side to lift the trophy for a third time and Bob Paisley became the first manager to win the European Cup on three occasions.
Roma 1-1 Liverpool (Liverpool win 4-2 on Penalties)
Liverpool once again played a European Cup final at the Stadio Olympico, where they claimed their first. This time would be harder as the opponents were Roma who were appearing in their first European Cup final, and it was in their own back yard.
It was a hostile atmosphere at the Olimpico and Liverpool under Joe Fagan, were intent on sitting back and frustrating the Italians. Liverpool took the lead after 15 minutes in spite of the tactic through a scrappy goal as Roma’s goalkeeper Franco Tancredi dropped Craig Johnstone’s cross. As Roma defenders desperately tried to clear the ball, Michele Nappi’sattempted clearance came off Tancredi’s back and fell to Phil Neal. Graeme Souness thought that he’d made it 2-0 with a volley just two minutes later, but it was ruled out for offside.
Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (Liverpool won 3-2 on Penalties)
Liverpool had to wait 21 years for their next European Cup – or Champions League as it has been called since 1992 – but it was worth the wait as Istanbul saw arguably the best European final of all time.
After just a minute of the final in Turkey, Paulo Maldini volleyed home from a free kick to put Milan ahead. In the 39thminute Milan’s lead was doubled, countering after the referee adjudged Alessandro Nesta didn’t handle the ball, denying the Reds a penalty. Kaka dribbled into the Liverpool half and found Shevchenko. The Ukranian found Crespo at the far post who made it 2-0 milan. Four minutes later, it got worse for LFC as Crespo chipped Jerzy Dudek to put AC Milan 3-0 up at half-time.
At half-time, you’d be lying if you said you didn’t think it was game over. The travelling Kop sang You’ll Never Walk Alone during the interval and Benitez opted to change the system to a 3-5-2. Liverpool came out for the second half a lot stronger and in the 54thminute who headed a Riise cross past Milan keeper Dida. Two minutes later, Vladimir Smicer struck a shot from distance into the bottom left hand corner of the Milan net.
In the 60thminute of the game things got even better for Liverpool when they were awarded a penalty when Gerrard was brought down by Gattuso. Xabi Alonso stepped up to take the penalty which was saved by Dida. Alonso converted from the rebound and Liverpool had produced a sensational come back in six minutes in the second half.
In extra time, Jerzy Dudek produced a superb double save to keep the Reds in it and sending the game to penalties. Both Milan and Liverpool won their last European Cup via a penalty shootout, so both would have been optimistic of their chances at the start of the shootout.
Jerzy Dudek opted to mirror Bruce Grobbelaar’s wobbly leg technique from the 1984 final. It must’ve worked as both Serginho and Pirlo missed Milan’s first two penalties. Dietmar Hamann and Cisse both scored their penalties meaning Liverpool were 2-0 up after both teams had taken two penalties. Tomasson needed to score to keep Milan in it and did exactly that. John Arne Riise then saw his penalty saved by Dida before Kaka and Smicer both converted their penalties to give Liverpool a 3-2 lead after 4 penalties each.
Andriy Shevchenko stepped up knowing that he must score to keep Milan in it. The Wobbly legs of Dudek were strong and Shevchenko looked nervous as he stepped up to take it. The Ukranian had scored the decisive penalty when Milan last won the European Cup but on this occasion, Jerzy Dudek saved Shevchenko’s penalty with his left hand meaning that Liverpool had won their fifth European Cup.
A sensational story and an incredible night where LFC came from 3-0 down at half-time to win the Champions League. A night that Liverpool fans will never, ever forget.
Real Madrid vs Liverpool
It has been an incredible European campaign leading up to the final for Liverpool. The Reds are top scorers in the Champions league this season; James Milner has broken the Champions League assist record for a single campaign; Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah are 3 of the Top 4 scorers in the Champions League this season and Loris Karius has the most clean sheets in the competition.
Liverpool have been rampant in Europe. Rival fans suggest that the Reds have had it easy, but truth be told, LFC were never expected to get anywhere near this far when they advanced through the group, especially with all the injuries problems that Liverpool have had throughout the season.
Real Madrid’s route to the final has no doubt been considerably harder, but Reds fans will not care about how they got to the final. All that matters is that Liverpool will be playing in Kiev on the 26thMay with 12 times winners Real Madrid the only team left in the way of Liverpool getting their sixth ‘big ears’.
It doesn’t matter how we win it: Whether It be a comfortable win like ’77 in Rome, a dull 1-0 win like ’78 in London, a penalty shoot-out like ’84 in Rome or another topsy-turvy night like Istanbul in 2005. Lets just beat Real Madrid like we did in Paris in ’81 and bring the Champions League back to Liverpool again.
ALLEZ LES ROUGES!!!
Article by Jack Gill
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