4 games, 4 wins – Recalling Liverpool’s Europa League last-32 Anfield clashes

23.02.2016


Ahead of Augsburg’s visit to Anfield for the crunch second leg on Thursday night, we take a look at back at Liverpool’s previous victories at the last-32 stage of the Europa League.

AUGSBURG, GERMANY - Thursday, February 18, 2016: Liverpool and FC Augsburg players before the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg match at the Augsburg Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A big European night under the Anfield lights awaits Jurgen Klopp’s side following the goalless first leg draw in Germany last week.

Ahead of the first of two season-defining games, optimism can be drawn from the Reds’ 100 percent winning record in last-32 ties at Anfield; with four wins from four Merseyside contests at this stage since the competition changed format in 2009/10.

Klopp will be desperate for his team to continue Liverpool’s dominance of home encounters and make it five wins from five round-of-32 matches, as the Reds search for a place in the last 16 – with their eyes on European glory.

Here’s how the knockout victories of yesteryear played out.

 

Liverpool 1-0 Unirea Urziceni – 18th February, 2010

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 18, 2010: Liverpool's David Ngog heads home his side's winning goal against AFC Unirea Urziceni during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg match at Anfield. (Photo by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Elimination from the Champions League placed Liverpool in the round of 32 for the first time in the reformed competition.

The Reds welcomed Unirea to Anfield, with Rafael Benitez paying the Romanian outfit utmost respect by selecting an almost full-strength side as Liverpool looked to seal a first-leg lead to take to Eastern Europe.

Despite the strong lineup, a frustrating night against the stubborn visitors looked set to end in a disappointing goalless draw, as Benitez’s men struggled to break down Unirea’s resolute back-line.

But a late Kop End header nine minutes from time from David N’Gog, after Dani Pacheco’s knock-down, ensured the Reds had the advantage wanted for the return in Romania, where Liverpool completed the job with a 3-1 win, sealing progress.

Liverpool XI vs. Unirea Urziceni: Reina; Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Aurelio; Mascherano, Aquilani; Kuyt, Gerrard, Riera; N’Gog


 

Liverpool 1-0 Sparta Prague – 24th February, 2011

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND, Thursday, February 24, 2011: Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt celebrates scoring a late winning goal against AC Sparta Praha during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 2nd leg match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After progressing through the group stage under Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish was back in charge by the time the Reds faced the Czech outfit at the knockout stage a year later.

Having played out a goalless first leg in Prague, Liverpool returned to Merseyside for a tense second tie, looking to make home advantage count.

But again it proved a night of overriding frustration in front of the expectant Anfield crowd against a resilient Sparta side, before a second headed late winner in as many seasons sealed a vital European victory.

The all-important moment came from the ultimate big-game player in Dirk Kuyt, who rose highest to meet Raul Meireles’ corner to fire the Reds into the last 16 – and hand Dalglish his first European win as Liverpool boss.

Liverpool XI vs. Sparta Prague: Reina; Kelly, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Wilson; Meireles, Lucas, Poulsen; Cole, Kuyt, N’Gog

 

Liverpool 3-1 Zenit St Petersburg – 21st February, 2013

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - Thursday, February 14, 2013: Liverpool's Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz in action against FC Zenit St Petersburg during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg match at the Stadio Petrovski. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Looking to overturn a two-goal deficit from a poor first tie in Russia, Brendan Rodgers’ Reds had it all to do at Anfield where they came within a whisker of a recording another famous European night.

Roared on by an atmospheric Kop, Hulk’s cool finish 19 minutes in – after the Brazilian latched on to Jamie Carragher’s short back-pass – appeared to have ended the contest, with Liverpool now needing four goals to advance.

But Luis Suarez’s powerful free-kick nine minutes later kicked off a spirited fight-back and provided feint hope, which Joe Allen further added to as he hit home a second two minutes before half-time.


With Anfield in full voice, sensing something special could happen, a stunning second free-kick of the night from Suarez with a half-hour remaining made the impossible seem possible again, setting up a grand-slam finish with the Reds 3-1 up.

But despite a courageous effort which saw chances come and go in the final 30 minutes, the key fourth goal eluded Rodgers’ men who bowed out with their heads held high.

Liverpool XI vs. Zenit St. Petersburg: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Lucas, Gerrard, Allen; Henderson, Downing, Suarez

 

Liverpool 1-0 Besiktas – 19th February 2015

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 19, 2015: Liverpool's Mario Balotelli scores the first goal against Besiktas JK from the penalty spot during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dropping out of the Champions League into Europe’s secondary competition, Liverpool faced Turkish side Besiktas at this stage last year.

With a tough trip to Turkey to come against Slaven Bilic’s side at the historic Ataturk Stadium a week later, Rodgers’ men searched for a vital first-leg advantage to take to the hostile second encounter.

Despite enjoying the better of the game and the chances against the lively visitors at Anfield, it seemed Liverpool would have it all to do in Istanbul, until – in typical fashion – the Reds snatched a late winner five minutes from time.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 19, 2015: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge tells captain Jordan Henderson to let Mario Balotelli take the winning penalty kick during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg match against Besiktas JK at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A foul on Jordon Ibe saw referee Szymon Marciniak award a late penalty, leading to an argument between Jordan Henderson and Mario Balotelli over who was taking the spot-kick, with Daniel Sturridge also involved.

Eventually, the Italian coolly slotted home in front of the Kop to hand Liverpool the initiative, ahead of a hard-fought second leg in which Rodgers’ side went on to lose on penalties.


Liverpool XI vs. Besiktas: Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Sakho; Ibe, Henderson, Allen, Moreno; Lallana, Coutinho; Sturridge

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Yes we won all four unfortuanitly we went out twice ,clubs no they can lose and still go through if they have made enough advantage from the first leg

    i do not know if we will go through any body that says that we defenitly will is talking rubbish it depends on what liverpool turns up

    • I would bet Benteke features in that game at some point. It looked like it was one of those games where the big man could have switched it up a bit.

  2. Interesting to see how many utterly atrocious players we had in the late 2000s/early 2010s. That 2011 team in particular is a strong argument against anyone who thinks our current crop is the worst Liverpool squad ever assembled.

      • I think I may have blocked out any memories of konchesky in a red shirt. Between him, dossena and insua, our current left back issues are put into perspective a little bit aren’t they?

    • I dunno form wise when Hodgson was around it was a horrible time but we still had Reina, Carragher, Agger, pre injury Lucas when he looked to be turning into something else, Gerrard, Kuyt, Torres/Suarez, Maxi Rodriguez. To me that is a hell of a lot more talent in the 2010/11 season. And lets not forget we played some bloody fantastic football in Dalglish’ first half a season

      • We’ve played some bloody fantastic football in klopps first half season as well. I don’t think the likes of Rodriguez and kuyt (as much as I love him, as my name would suggest) were actually that talented. Not any more so than ings or Milner etc. in my opinion. Neither Torres nor Suarez were even close to their best form that season. I would say Coutinho, firmino and Sturridge have been of a comparable level this season.
        The main thing that 2010-11 batch has over this one is carragher and gerrard, but when you balance that with the truly awful players that were also in that squad (kygriagos, cole, Poulsen, ngog etc), I think I’m happier with the current squad and the direction it’s going in.
        But, just to be clear, I’m not definitively saying this squad is better, there’s just a pretty good case to be made for it.

      • I never like to be critical of Dalglish but in the second half of 2010/11 they were both magic banging them in left, right and centre but the next season Dalglish sort of froze them out in order to play Andy Carroll, it was hugely frustrating as when we did play those two we ALWAYS did better than with Carroll.

        • Yes preferred downing in their place for Andy obviously. I still wanted Dirk to stay for 1 more season. I cannot imagine the no of imp goals he has scored.

        • Yep…Downing/Carroll preferred to Maxi/Kuyt in 4-3-3. I still think both players could have done a decent job for us, though probably not for all the matches, but they would have been better than that sh***te duo.

  3. I remember Soto krgiakos(blody name). Not the best defender and many of us thought him to be shyte but I really liked him,maybe for his ponytail and his heading ability. Honestly he was one of the best headers of the ball LFC ever had. Also his commitment was top notch.

      • Even I forgot but seeing that lineup made me recall. Him and a certain Danny Wilson,who I think was the next Alan Hansen or something. He was the biggest prospects in Scottish football. Hmmm how times change,sad

        • Danny Wilson is poor. He’s back up at Rangers in the Scottish Championship and he gets done by a long ball over the top every week! so frustrating!

          • Yes but I’m talking prior to his move to LFC,he was a wunderkid. Now yes he is bad but he had a good spell with hearts of Midlothian.

          • yeah I gathered what you were saying mate, just basically elaborating on your ‘how times change’ as times certainly have. It was successful at Hearts in the sense that he captained them to winning the league. however his decision to leave for Rangers was one that their fans were far from upset about. a few of my best mates are Jambo’s you see

          • You are Scottish I assume. I get all my facts through the god gift Google u seem to be knowing everything about Scottish football

          • Yeah mate, big Rangers fan too. Your not missing out on much by not following Scottish Football though trust me. It was a 2 horse race then when we hit our financial troubles it’s been a one horse race ever since! Mark Warburton has took over the side this season though and had us playing some brilliant stuff. There’s even talk of us being able to challenge Celtic for the title as early as next season. I don’t see that happening mind you

          • Yes I’ve heard about the financial problems and everything. Really hope they can get going next season. But obviously teams like Aberdeen and hearts can provide a lot of competition as well.

  4. Liverpool XI vs. Sparta Prague: Reina; Kelly, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Wilson; Meireles, Lucas, Poulsen; Cole, Kuyt, N’Gog

    Good grief that’s poor! Wilson, Poulsen, Cole, N’Gog….how would we ever expect to set up attacks from that team?

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