Anfield's 6 Greatest Nights of Liverpool Glory
It hasn't been a stellar season by Liverpool's standards, but the players can't hide behind a lack of inspiration.
Everywhere you go at Anfield there are reminders that the Reds are still one of the most storied clubs in world football, with tales of great nights passed down through the generations.
Whilst not hitting those same heights on the pitch at the moment, the club know that they can always trade on those memories as they set out to create new ones.
There have been plenty of great nights at Anfield, but here, in chronological order, are six of the best:
Liverpool 3 Inter Milan 1, European Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg, 4 May 1965
Just two days after Bill Shankly finally delivered Liverpool the holy grail of their first ever FA Cup, the Reds entertained the world champions Inter Milan in the first leg of the European Cup semi-final at Anfield.
On a night which many claim saw the birth of The Kop as a living, breathing entity in all Liverpool performances, the home crowd roared their team on as they generated an atmosphere that the visiting Italians had never experienced before.
An early goal from deadly marksman Roger Hunt set the tone, and although Inter equalised, further strikes from Ian Callaghan and Ian St. John put the Reds 3-1 up and in dreamland.
Chris Lawler had a further goal disallowed (which was to prove crucial as Inter won the second leg 3-0) but this night saw the birth of Liverpool as many were to know them over the next few decades.
Liverpool 3 Borussia Moenchengladbach 0, UEFA Cup Final 1st Leg, 10 May 1973
Liverpool's first ever European trophy was all but secured in the first leg of the final at a raucous Anfield.
Shankly's team were to become the first to win the league title and a European honour in the same season as, after the initial match was abandoned due to torrential rain the night before, the manager chose to play John Toshack to worry the Germans with his height.
The tactic worked, as Welsh forward Toshack set up two goals for strike partner Kevin Keegan to put the Reds in dreamland.
Keegan also missed a penalty, with defender Larry Lloyd grabbing Liverpool's third as Anfield erupted.
Goalkeeper Ray Clemence saved a spot-kick in the second half, something which later proved crucial as the Reds lost the second leg 2-0 in Germany, winning the trophy 3-2 on aggregate.
Liverpool 3 Saint-Etienne 1, European Cup Quarter-Final 2nd Leg, 16 March 1977
The masses of French fans packed into Anfield added an even greater element to this superb atmosphere in a match that many Reds supporters still claim was the club's best Anfield night.
At 1-0 down from the first leg, Liverpool started brilliantly as Keegan's lofted cross into the box sailed over goalkeeper Curkovic to give the Reds the lead on the night inside two minutes.
This Saint-Etienne side was a fine outfit though, and they equalised on the night when Bathenay saw his shot dip over Clemence and in.
Due to the away goal, the Reds now needed to score twice.
Reliable midfielder Ray Kennedy popped up shortly before the hour mark to reduce that need to just one, and with Bob Paisley sending on the unheralded substitute David Faiclough for the injured Toshack, hope seemed to be slipping away.
However, with just six minutes remaining, Fairclough raced onto a ball over the top and fired into the net at the Kop end to spark delirium.
The Reds went through to the last four and ultimately won their first ever European Cup.
Liverpool 5 Nottingham Forest 0, First Division, 13 April 1988
Many still call this one of the greatest ever displays in a English league match, with the Reds' vintage of 1987/88 often held up by supporters as one of the best teams in the club's history.
Nottingham Forest were FA Cup semi-finalists—they had in fact lost to Liverpool four days earlier—and would finish this season third in the table, but they were completely overrun by a superb Liverpool display.
John Aldridge scored twice, and there were further goals for Gary Gillespie, Peter Beardsley and Ray Houghton in a performance hailed by the legendary Sir Tom Finney as “the finest exhibition I’ve seen the whole time I’ve played and watched the game. You couldn’t see it bettered anywhere, not even in Brazil.”
The Reds won their 17th league championship 10 days later.
Liverpool 3 Olympiakos 1, Champions League Group Stage, 8 December 2004
There would have been no surprise had Liverpool exited the Champions League at the group stage in the 2004/05 season.
They weren't even in the competition the season before, whilst they fell at the first hurdle in the campaign before that one.
At 1-0 down to Olympiakos in the final group match, Liverpool was looking at another disappointing Champions League exit as Rivaldo's free-kick had put the Greeks within touching distance of qualifying and left Liverpool needing to score three goals.
Enter the unlikely heroes.
Young French forward Florent Sinama-Pongolle had only been on the pitch for a few seconds when he converted Harry Kewell's cross to make it 1-1, followed by fellow sub Neil Mellor popping up late to convert after an Antonio Nunez header had been saved.
After the unlikely heroes came a likely one.
Mere minutes were left when Steven Gerrard positioned himself superbly from Mellor's knockdown and smashed an unstoppable, hair-raising strike into the back of the net from 25 yards.
Liverpool, somehow, had done it.
Liverpool 1 Chelsea 0, Champions League Semi-Final 2nd Leg, 3 May 2005
Quite how Rafael Benitez had taken his team from that remarkable group stage qualification to the semi-final, no-one really knew, but here the Reds were facing the English champions—a team who had finished 33 points above them in the league table—for a place in the Istanbul final.
A goalless draw in the Stamford Bridge first leg was a good result, and Anfield was rocking for the club's biggest night in over 20 years.
Fans got into their seats early and were creating a raucous atmosphere in the build-up to kick-off, and things only got louder from there.
Just four minutes in, Milan Baros raced onto Gerrard's through ball and was clattered by Czech international teammate Petr Cech. The Chelsea goalkeeper could have been sent off, but instead play continued, and Liverpool's Spanish schemer Luis Garcia sent an effort towards goal which was cleared from underneath the crossbar by William Gallas.
No matter that no one knew if it was in or not, the Liverpool fans celebrated anyway. Referee Lubos Michel awarded the goal.
The Reds clung on for the remainder of the game amidst the type of noise not heard at Anfield for years.
At full-time, they had made it to Istanbul.
And we all know what happened there...
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