10. Liverpool 2-0 PSG (Cup Winners' Cup semi-final, 1997)
A match that actually saw Liverpool eliminated from Europe. Roy Evans’s side had been humbled 3-0 in Paris - around the time David James was playing too much PlayStation, by his own (later) admissions - meaning the return leg required something dramatic.
An early goal from Robbie Fowler gave the Anfield faithful hope of a comeback, and belief blossomed when Mark Wright headed in with 11 minutes remaining. Alas, it wasn't to be for the Reds. But it showed that Liverpool - and indeed English clubs - were back. “We have taken giant strides,” assessed Evans post-match.
9. Liverpool 2-1 Juventus (Champions League quarter-final, 2005)
Scott Carson or Gigi Buffon? Djimi Traore or Fabio Cannavaro? Igor Biscan or Pavel Nedved? Anthony Le Tallec or Alessandro Del Piero? Milan Baros or Zlatan Ibrahimovic? You wouldn’t be picking any Liverpool players on paper if choosing between the Merseysiders and their Italian counterparts.
Yet for all that, a Steven Gerrard-less side somehow won 2-1, thanks to two brilliant early goals from Sami Hyypia and Luis Garcia. The Reds then went to the Stadio delle Alpi and defended incredibly to grab a 0-0 and progress to the semi-final (more on that later).
8. Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid (Champions League last 16, 2009)
To many, this was Liverpool’s best squad of the last 20 years, featuring an in-form Gerrard and Fernando Torres, plus Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Hyypia, Jamie Carragher and Pepe Reina.
Having won 1-0 in the Bernabeu, they smashed the Spaniards 4-0 at Anfield - with Andre Dossena lobbing in the fourth, something he then repeated at Old Trafford a few days later in a 4-1 win. How this side didn’t win the Premier League is still a mystery.
7. Liverpool 1-0 Barcelona (UEFA Cup semi-final, 2001)
Before Benitez arrived and brought with him Champions League success, Gerard Houllier taught Liverpool how to win again in Europe. Having neutralised the likes of Rivaldo and Patrick Kluivert to draw 0-0 at the Camp Nou, Houllier’s side then completed the job at home.
Gary McAllister’s perfect penalty just before half-time gave the Reds a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Anfield was rocking under the lights, and a first European trophy in 17 years was collected the following the month.
6. Liverpool 2-0 Roma (Champions League group stage, 2002)
With a UEFA Cup in the bag, Houllier set about the Champions League the following season. Having been stricken with a heart problem in October 2001, it was a crucial game against Roma when the Frenchman returned to the dugout and inspired victory.
This was a time when the Champions League consisted of two group stages and Liverpool had to beat Fabio Capello’s side by two goals to progress to their first European Cup quarter-final since 1985. Goals from Jari Litmanen and Emile Heskey did the trick, while some bloke in the Kop was jumping around with his crutches in the air.
5. Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal (Champions League quarter-final, 2008)
After a 1-1 draw at the Emirates, this all-English quarter-final was finely poised. Certainly, few predicted the goalfest that was to come. The visitors took an early lead through Abou Diaby but Liverpool hit back via Sami Hyypia and Fernando Torres, leaving Benitez’s side set to secure a third Champions League semi-final in three years.
However, late sub Theo Walcott set off on a mazy run that set up Emmanuel Adebayor to score with six minutes remaining, putting Arsene Wenger’s side ahead on away goals. Two minutes later, Steven Gerrard dispatched a penalty, and – with Arsenal pushing for an equaliser – the Reds broke and Ryan Babel hit a fourth to push Benitez’s side through 5-3 on aggregate.
4. Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (Champions League semi-final, 2007)
Any semi-final that sees your team progress to the final will be long remembered, although ones where the final results in defeat are inevitably less memorable. Nonetheless, the manner of Liverpool’s semi-final win in 2007 - at the height of the Benitez vs Mourinho rivalry - makes it an incredible night in Anfield’s modern history.
An early goal from Daniel Agger put Liverpool ahead and level on aggregate, with the game eventually going to penalties. This was the night that saw Rafa sat cross-legged on the touchline as his players dispatched four perfect spot-kicks and Pepe Reina saved from Arjen Robben and Geremi.
“I can still hear the noise in the stadium after slotting the ball home,” Dirk Kuyt told FourFourTwo, 10 years later on.
3. Liverpool 3-1 Olympiakos (Champions League group stage, 2004)
The night that began the road to Istanbul. Needing to win by two clear goals to progress from the group stage, a goal from Rivaldo midway through the first half left Liverpool facing an uphill battle.
However, an inspired double substitution led to both Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Neil Mellor unexpectedly immortalising themselves in Liverpool history. Steven Gerrard’s late piledriver, launched into the net like a torpedo, inspired a famous line from commentator Andy Gray. Oh you beauty indeed.
2. Liverpool 4-3 Borussia Dortmund (Europa League quarter-final, 2016)
With Liverpool 2-0 down inside nine minutes, then 3-1 down with half an hour to go, this looked game, set and match to Jurgen Klopp’s former side. Yet somehow Liverpool produced one of the most incredible European comebacks, with goals from Philippe Coutinho, Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren.
“The atmosphere was the best I have ever experienced,” said Klopp. “It should serve as an example to everyone about how supporters can influence a team and influence a game.”
1. Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (Champions League semi-final, 2005)
Could it be anything else? Qualifying for a first European Cup final 20 years will always ensure a place in history, but to do so in such unexpected fashion added another layer to Liverpool’s defeat of Chelsea in 2005. This was a Blues side that romped to the league title and finished 37 points ahead of Rafa Benitez’s side. They’d also beaten the Reds in the League Cup final two months earlier.
Luis Garcia’s dramatic early goal – the one that Jose Mourinho still moans about to this day – eventually proved to be the match-winner, but Liverpool fans still have nightmares about Eidur Gudjohnsen’s late shot going in during the longest six minutes of stoppage time in their lives.
Anfield was a wall of noise and Chelsea defender John Terry later said: “I have never heard anything like it before and I don’t think I ever will again. It is the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in. I walked out into that cauldron and heard that singing and saw that passion. The hairs on my arms were standing up.”
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Matt Ladson is the co-founder and editor of This Is Anfield, the independent Liverpool news and comment website, and covers all areas of the Reds for FourFourTwo – including transfer analysis, interviews, title wins and European trophies. As well as writing about Liverpool for FourFourTwo he also contributes to other titles including Yahoo and Bleacher Report. He is a lifelong fan of the Reds.
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