Liverpool and Istanbul go together like chips and curry sauce. So much so that the Reds’ heroics in the 2005 Champions League final need no introduction.
But it’s never a bad time to look back on one of the most famous nights in Liverpool FC and European football history, is it?
Heading into the game, Liverpool were the firm underdogs. They had sweat blood and upset the odds all over the continent to make the final, but they had ultimately finished an underwhelming fifth in the Premier League, and were up against a Milan side who had narrowly missed out on the Serie A title.
All over the pitch, the individual battles looked an utter mismatch; Clarence Seedorf vs Steve Finnan, Cafu vs John Arne Riise, Andrea Pirlo vs Harry Kewell, Paolo Maldini vs Luis Garcia.
That’s how it looked on paper, and for 45 minutes, that’s how it looked in practice.
The more experienced, more esteemed side took the lead within the opening minute when Maldini volleyed home, and two more strikes from Hernan Crespo before the break – who had run Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia ragged – had Rafa Benitez’s men looking down and out.
Buy now – Liverpool’s retro Istanbul shirt is available from the club’s store for just £40.
Steve Finnan’s substitution for Dietmar Hamann at half time was hardly enough to get the sizeable travelling support dreaming of a comeback, but what followed blew every spectator away.
Steven Gerrard, 54 minutes. 56 minutes, Vladimir Smicer. 59 minutes…XABI ALONSOOOO!!!!!
Donning their iconic red strip, sponsored by Carlsberg and looking cheap and cheerful in a manner that strangely fitted the ragtag squad that had little-to-no right to be named European Champions, the Anfield giants put their names back in the headlights.
Jerzy Dudek’s decisive save from Andriy Shevchenko’s penalty is a moment that is burned into the memories of an entire generation of football fans, and that Liverpool team – acknowledged universally as one of the ‘worst’ teams to win the Champions League – achieved legendary status.