Since winning it for the first time in 1977, Liverpool’s love affair with Europe’s elite club competition has gone from strength to strength.
The Reds were relative latecomers when it comes to lifting “Old Big Ears,” winning the huge trophy for the first time some 10-years after Celtic and Manchester United had paved the way for British sides – but since then they’ve certainly made up for lost time.
And six glorious victories in over four decades now means Liverpool sit third in the table of all-time winners behind AC Milan and Real Madrid.
So here’s a look back at those half-dozen halcyon nights in the club’s illustrious history that have seen Liverpool crowned champions of Europe with a few memories from three-time European Cup winner and Liverpool legend Sir Kenny Dalglish thrown in.
Liverpool 3-1 Borussia Monchengladbach – 1977
Bill Shankly tried for years to win the European Cup but had fallen short on a number of occasions, reaching the semi-finals in 1965 only to lose against Internazionale thanks to some questionable referring decisions, to say the least.
But when Bob Paisley took over at Anfield in 1974 following Shanks’s departure, so began one of the most dominant periods in European club football, starting with the UEFA Cup victory in 1976 before finally landing the European Cup 12-months later.
Goals from Terry McDermott, Tommy Smith and a Phil Neal penalty were enough to see off German Champions Borussia Monchengladbach side in Rome, though this was just a taste of what was to come in the years that followed.
“Bob always said he didn’t want to drink that night as he wanted to get drunk on the atmosphere,” remembers Sir Kenny Dalglish. “Bob forgive me, if we get a result on Saturday I won’t be following in your footsteps!”
Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge – 1978
Despite winning the title and the European Cup in 1977, Kevin Keegan left Liverpool that summer to join German side Hamburg, meaning the Reds needed a replacement for one of their biggest stars.
Keen to build on their success the previous May in Rome, they wasted no time in breaking the British transfer record to get their man as Kenny Dalglish arrived from Celtic and by the end of the season, he would score the winning goal as Liverpool retained the European Cup at Wembley against Brugge.
Dalglish’s strike in the 64th minute meant that Liverpool had won three European trophies in as many years and ensured they became the sixth club to retain the European Cup, joining Real Madrid, Benfica, Inter, Ajax and Bayern Munich, but it was his celebration that night which is often talked about almost as much as the goal itself.
“I did hurdle the advertising hoarding going one way, but I stepped over it coming back, I wasn’t going to risk it twice!” Kenny recalls.
Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid – 1981
Liverpool saw off Europe’s most decorated club in Paris to ensure only Real Madrid had more European Cups to their name than the Reds – who equalled Ajax and Bayern’s tally of three in the process.
Alan Kennedy’s 82nd-minute strike sealed Liverpool’s third European Cup success in five years during an era that saw English clubs rule in Europe, a strike which Kenny still remembers fondly all these years on.
“I remember Alan Kennedy running past me, but I didn’t know where he was going and I don’t think he knew where or why he was running there, but he just ran there and from a throw-in scored the winner,” Sir Kenny commented.
The win also meant that Bob Paisley became the first manager to win the trophy three times, a feat which would eventually be matched by Carlo Ancelotti in 2014 and then Zinedine Zidane in 2018- though no one has more to their name as it stands.
Liverpool 1-1 AS Roma (pens 4-2) – 1984
Liverpool faced the most daunting task imaginable as they took on Italian Champions Roma in their own stadium, the Stadio Olympico, looking to make it four European Cup wins in seven years.
Under Joe Fagan, who had replaced Bob Paisley the previous season, the Reds were up against it from the start but, having taken the lead through Phil Neale in the 13th minute, had to settle for extra-time and penalties.
In a high-octane shootout, Steve Nicol would blast his first spot-kick over only for Conto and Graziani to follow suit, thanks in part to goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar’s theatrics between the sticks as Liverpool triumphed once again.
Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (pens 3-2) – 2005
It would be another 21 years before Liverpool got their hands on the European Cup again but they did so thanks to a remarkable comeback which saw them recover from being 3-0 down at half time to AC Milan in Istanbul.
Inspired by their captain, not to mention a tactical change from manager Rafa Benitez, the Reds hauled themselves back into the game in the second half thanks to goals from Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso.
After 90 minutes of breathless action extra-time couldn’t separate the two meaning that, just like in 1984, the winners would be decided by penalties with Jerzy Dudek Liverpool’s hero on the night – saving Andriy Shevchenko’s spot-kick to send the famous trophy back to Anfield for the fifth time.
Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur – 2019
Having seemed down and out following a 3-0 first-leg semi-final defeat to Barcelona, Liverpool performed another miracle comeback to set up a meeting with fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.
The final was not as dramatic as that last-four encounter with Barca and having taken the lead with a Mo Salah penalty after just two minutes Liverpool made the game safe through Divok Origi in the dying moments.
Once again Liverpool were Kings of Europe with their tally of six European Cups and Champions Leagues placing them third in the table of all-time winners – behind AC Milan on seven and Real Madrid on 13.
Liverpool v Real Madrid – 2022?
Sir Kenny Dalglish joined us for a very special edition of Fan Zone to look ahead to this weekend’s final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris.
During the chat, he spoke in-depth about the impact Jurgen Klopp has had since arriving at Anfield, his memories of winning three European Cups with the Reds, including one in the French capital against Real Madrid, as well as what he hopes to see on Saturday night as the Reds attempt to make it seven titles.
“It’s been a contribution from everybody that’s involved at the club that’s got us this far,” says Kenny.
“You’re playing the eleven men that they put on the pitch, not the history or the tradition of Real Madrid… you get what you deserve.”
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