Liverpool need another ‘special night’ at Anfield

Liverpool’s Europa League fate hangs in the balance after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Benfica in the first leg.

But they’ve been here before, and will need another big performance in Europe, both from themselves and their fans.

Fans still remember the famous games against Inter in 1965, and St Etienne in 1977. More recently, the Reds defeated Roma in 2002 on an emotional night, as Gerard Houllier returned from heart surgery.

They have also come up with the goods when needed under current boss Rafa Benitez.

During the victorious 2004-05 Champions League campaign, Liverpool needed a two goal victory against Greek side Olympiakos.  And we all know what happened next, as Steven Gerrard scored a vital late stunner, much to the delight of the Anfield crowd (and Andy Gray).

In 2007, Chelsea went into the second leg of the Champions League semi-final with a 1-0 lead, and thought they would finally be heading for the final. But Anfield roared their side on, and after dominating their opponents for 120 minutes, Liverpool went through on penalties.

The following season, Arsenal were dispatched on Merseyside in the quarter-finals of the same competition. Despite a late equaliser that looked to have sent the Gunners through, Liverpool rallied and scored twice in the last six minutes to steal the tie.

Even this season, the Reds overcame a 1-0 first leg deficit against Lille, winning 3-0 at Anfield, and looking like a different side at home. So if they need encouragement, Liverpool know that they have successfully come out of this kind of awkward situation plenty of times before.

But they should be wary. In the 2005-06 season, Benfica came to Anfield with a 1-0 lead, which many felt Liverpool would overcome comfortably. However, wasteful finishing and flashes of magic from Simao and Miccoli saw the Portuguese side unexpectedly progress.

The key message for Liverpool is: you’ve done it before, you can do it again.

But it’s exactly the same for Benfica.

Written By Sean Mullan

 


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