The greatest comeback ever!
AC Milan were absolutely terrific throughout the first half, with their fast, incisive running and three brilliantly taken goals.
Liverpool were being taken apart and looked like they were about to concede six or seven goals at one time. Then the half time whistle came and saved the Reds from further humiliation.
Liverpool fans in the stadium at Istanbul were holding their heads in their hands, in despair, at half time. Others had faces longer than the Mersey Tunnel!!
Then, what a turnaround in the second half!
Liverpool scored a great goal from a superbly placed header by Steven Gerrard in the 54th minute. This really galvanised them into action after visible, vociferous urging from captain, Gerrard, who led magnificently, by example.
The player substitutions made at half time by manager Rafael Benitez had allowed him a freer role in the second half. Steve Finnan was replaced by Dietmar Hamann, who was brought on to take care of the dangerous Kaka, who had enjoyed a brilliant first half. This allowed Gerrard to push further forward.
The Italians then visibly panicked as Liverpool went on all-out attack!
Vladimir Smicer scored the second only two minutes after his captain. This really sent the Liverpool fans wild, after their despair at half-time.
Then Gerrard earned a penalty, only another 3 minutes later, by forcing his way into the box. A clip of the heels from behind was the only way of stopping him. Xabi Alonso's penalty kick was parried out, but heart-stoppingly, he was quick enough to follow up and bang the ball into the net.
The Liverpool fans went understandably berserk!! Their team had come back from the dead with three goals in just 5 minutes! The Italian fans were dumb-struck!! It was one of the most amazing come-backs in football history certainly in a major final.
Gradually, AC Milan recovered their composure and started playing some football again, so no more goals were scored in the remainder of the 90 minutes period.
There was then a further 30 minutes of heart-pounding extra time, during which Liverpool goal-keeper, Jerzy Dudek brought off two heroic rapid fire saves off Shevchenko. It was miraculous that the second never went into the net. It was goal-keeping of the highest order!
After extra time, it was still 3--3, so it would have to be settled by five penalty kicks each.
During the break, Liverpool defender, Jamie Carragher was seen talking vociferously to his goal-keeper, Dudek. He was urging him to do "a Bruce Grobelaar"! In other words, to mimic what Liverpool goalie, Bruce Grobelaar had done in the 1984 European Cup Final in Rome. Grobelaar had stood on his line and wobbled his legs as if they were made of spaghetti. It had worked then, because he distracted Graziani, causing him to miss. As a result, Liverpool beat Roma on penalties and won the European Cup.
So, this time, Jerzy Dudek went even further and danced around, up and down the line, waving his long arms, as if he was doing aerobics.
Change of rules since 1984 allowed him to move his feet along the goal-line. It worked a treat! Serginho shot right over the bar! Pirlo shot weakly for Dudek to save! Then Shevchenko, who had been denied twice, from close range, by Dudek in extra time, kicked his penalty too close to the goal-keeper!
Dudek, to his everlasting credit, shot out a hand and repelled it! He was engulfed by his team-mates!!
Liverpool fans were ecstatic!! They had won the European Cup after the most amazing come back, ever, in a major football match. Fantastic!! Unbelievable!!
Heartiest congratulations are due to Rafael, Jamie, Steven, Xabi, Jerzy, Sami, Djimi, Djibril, Luis, Steve, John, Milan, Vladimir, Kaiser and all the other players, management and staff at Anfield, Liverpool!
Plus, of course, to all Liverpool fans and supporters in Liverpool, Wales, UK and worldwide!! You are all left with some wonderful memories in the years to come! A visit to Anfield to view "Big Ears", the European Cup itself, which is now retained by Liverpool football Club, after their five historic wins, will bring those fantastic memories flooding back!
So, to all you people who have stumbled on visit-liverpool.co.uk, why not spend a week-end at the city and pay a visit to Anfield? You can even take in the Cavern Club and other Beatles haunts whilst you are there.
Liverpool also has some fine architecture, wonderful museums and is a great place to do some shopping.
You will find a great choice of hotels at good competitive prices on visit-the-world.co.uk.
Finally, to commemorate this momentous occasion, I have written a little poem which I call , simply, ....." Five" .
Remember the year! It's Two thousand and five!
If you're a Scouser, you will ......whilst alive!
Remember the month! That's also a five!
Fans headed for Turkey, like bees to a hive!
Remember the day! That was twenty-five!
Which, as everyone knows, is five times a five!
Remember the goals! Which, in minutes, took five!
Three cracking scores, which proclaimed" We'll survive! "
Remember the saves! The miraculous five!
From Pole-dancing Dudek.....who knew when to dive!!
Remember the spot-kicks! There were meant to be five!
It was over at four .....thanks to the jive!
Remember the League! When they finished at five!
The Reds had to struggle, and watch Chelsea thrive!
Now remember the Cup wins! The magnificent five!
Number Five stays at Anfield! Of which NONE can deprive!!
Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park,