Liverpool face Villarreal needing another of those ‘famous Anfield European nights’ to reach the Europa League final. Here, we look at five of their best from years gone by….
Jurgen Klopp’s side host the La Liga side in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit.
The atmosphere at Anfield is expected to be off the scale again and here, we look at some of the best nights witnessed at the famous old ground.
Liverpool 1 Chelsea 0 (Champions League semi-final second leg, May 2005)
After a goalless first leg the stakes were high on Merseyside but fans delivered one of the most memorable atmospheres in living memory with a wall of sound which shook the ground – and its visitors – to the core. Passion and vitriol stoked the fires as Jose Mourinho and his side were jeered throughout, with Luis Garcia’s now-famous ‘ghost goal’ (as Mourinho described it) setting up a final appearance in Istanbul. And everyone knows what happened there.
Liverpool 3 St Etienne 1 (European Cup quarter-final second leg, March 1977)
The previous generation’s comeback tale. Trailing 1-0 from the trip to France, the build-up to kick-off began around Anfield early afternoon and by the time the team arrived the streets were lined with fans. When Kevin Keegan scored early on many fans were still not inside the ground and the noise level was such Phil Neal admitted it was “difficult to focus solely on the football”. Dominique Bathenay’s 50th-minute goal left Liverpool needing two but Ray Kennedy got one of those soon after, setting the stage for ‘super sub’ David Fairclough to clinch a famous win with six minutes remaining.
Liverpool 3 Olympiacos 1 (Champions League group stage, December 2004)
Another in the modern-day classic category. Liverpool’s head-to-head record with the Greeks meant when Rivaldo scored an away goal they needed three goals in 64 minutes to avoid elimination from the competition. The unheralded duo of Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Neil Mellor, who grabbed the second nine minutes from time, gave the hosts a chance but it could be none other than inspirational captain Steven Gerrard who provided another highlight for his extensive showreel with a superb strike in front of the Kop with just four minutes to go. At the time no one could even begin to assess the significance of that goal. Only at the Ataturk Stadium five months later would it become clear.
Liverpool 3 Club Brugge 2 (UEFA Cup final first leg, April 1976)
Going 2-0 down after 12 minutes of the home leg of a European final was disastrous for Liverpool but having got to half-time without further drama manager Bob Paisley made the surprising decision to take off striker John Toshack in place of midfielder Jimmy Case. The turnaround was almost immediate as Liverpool scored three in six minutes from the 59th minute through Ray Kennedy, Case and Kevin Keegan to give them a lead heading into the second leg which they duly held on to with a 1-1 draw.
Liverpool 4 Borussia Dortmund 3 (Europa League quarter-final second leg, April 2016)
It may only have been a couple of weeks ago but this game truly deserves to be alongside some of the more storied Anfield comebacks. Even the German club’s manager Thomas Tuchel admitted he could not explain it. Fans lined the streets armed with flags and flares to welcome the team but on the pitch Dortmund, the competition favourites, quickly cancelled out Liverpool’s away goal in the first leg 1-1 draw with two strikes in the opening nine minutes. Divock Origi gave the hosts a glimmer of hope just after the break only for Marco Reus to leave Liverpool requiring an unlikely three goals in 33 minutes. Philippe Coutinho rifled one in to make Anfield begin to believe and when Mamadou Sakho headed home it was almost expected the winner would come and Dejan Lovren, in stoppage time, duly delivered to lift the roof off Anfield.