As Liverpool face Man United in Europe for the first time this week, we take a look at the Reds’ previous games against English sides in European competition.
It’s sure to be an intense two legs between the Reds and the Red Devils, with another chapter set to be written in the history of their great rivalry.
Jurgen Klopp and his side welcome United to Anfield on Thursday evening, while the Reds make the relatively short trip to Old Trafford seven days later.
Victory over the two legs would see Liverpool reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League, increasing their chances of Champions League football next season in the process.
This will be the 19th match that the Reds have played against English opposition in Europe – the 36th game between English clubs overall – and there have been both good and bad memories down the years.
Liverpool’s first European meeting against a fellow English side came against a formidable Leeds team in 1971, in the Fairs Cup semi-finals.
Leeds legend Billy Bremner scored the only goal at Anfield in the first-leg, and a goalless draw in the return game saw Bill Shankly’s side dumped out of the short-lived competition.
Two years later, Shankly’s men came up against Tottenham in the last-four of the UEFA Cup.
The first-leg was decided by a first-half effort by Reds full-back Alec Lindsay, and it put them in pole position to reach the final.
Despite losing 2-1 at White Hart Lane, Steve Heighway’s away goal after 54 minutes proved crucial, and they would go on to beat Borussia Monchengladbach in the two-legged final.
In September 1978, Brian Clough’s formidable Nottingham Forest outfit were pitted against Liverpool in the first round of the European Cup.
The Reds were still strong favourites to progress, but Forest won 2-0 at the City Ground, leaving Bob Paisley’s team with it all to do at Anfield.
In Jose Mourinho-esque fashion, Clough’s men defended heroically throughout, and the 0-0 draw saw holders Liverpool sent packing in round one.
The Chelsea Rivalry Begins
After nearly 27 years without facing an English team in Europe, Liverpool faced Chelsea in an enormous Champions League semi-final in 2005.
The rivalry between the two clubs had grown hugely since the respective arrivals of Rafa Benitez and Mourinho, and there was genuine hatred between both sides.
The Blues were firm favourites to win the tie, having clinched the Premier League title in between the two legs, but Liverpool had other ideas.
A tight 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge meant the tie was perfectly poised heading to Anfield, and we all know what happened next.
Luis Garcia’s controversial early goal proved critical, and Liverpool held on in desperate fashion for the rest of the night. Who else is yet to recover from that late Eidur Gudjohnsen chance?
Liverpool and Chelsea were then drawn in the same Champions League group the following season, but in truth, the two goalless draws were extremely forgettable affairs.
More Semi-Final Joy Against The Blues
In 2007, Mourinho and his side were desperate for revenge, as the two clubs once again did battle in the Champions League semis.
Joe Cole’s solitary goal in the first-leg in west London gave Chelsea an advantage as they headed to Merseyside, but again it was Liverpool who prevailed in glorious fashion.
Daniel Agger‘s beautifully worked first-half strike levelled the tie on aggregate, and an unbearably tense encounter saw both sides close to nicking an all important goal in normal time.
Penalties were eventually required to decide who would make it to the final, and Pepe Reina‘s heroics and Dirk Kuyt’s winning spot-kick sent Anfield into raptures.
Once again, Benitez had got one over on Mourinho.
Ups & Downs In 2007/08
A very talented Arsenal side were Liverpool’s opponents in the Champions League quarter-finals in April 2008, in what was yet another unforgettable match-up.
The Reds earned a credible 1-1 draw at the Emirates, with Kuyt levelling up Emmanuel Adebayor’s opener, although the Dutchman was lucky not to concede a penalty after pulling back Alexander Hleb in the second-half.
Arsenal made a superb start to the second-leg at Anfield, playing the Reds off the park, and Abou Diaby’s strike gave them the lead.
Sami Hyypia’s towering header restored parity before the break, and a sensational effort from Fernando Torres after 69 minutes turned the game on its head.
Anfield was stunned with just six minutes left on the clock, however, as an unstoppable Theo Walcott run eventually saw the Englishman square for Adebayor, who finished clinically.
There was still time for more drama, though, as Kolo Toure brought down Ryan Babel inside the area. Steven Gerrard scored the penalty, and Babel then put the icing on the cake on the counter-attack in the dying seconds.
Following the elation of that win, Liverpool unfortunately felt the misery of defeat against Chelsea in Europe for the first time.
John Arne Riise’s catastrophic last-gasp goal gifted the Blues a 1-1 draw at Anfield, and Avram Grant’s team won 3-2 after extra-time at home. It was a tough one to take.
Epic 4-4 Not Enough For Benitez’s Reds
Liverpool and Chelsea reconvened for the fourth time in the Champions League knockout stages in as many years in 2009, and sadly the Reds would fall short at the quarter-final stage.
In fairness, Chelsea were magnificent in the first-leg on Merseyside, recovering from Torres’ opener to eventually win 3-1.
Although the tie effectively looked over, the Reds produced a fantastic and brave display in the return fixture in the capital.
Fabio Aurelio’s outrageous free-kick and a Xabi Alonso penalty made it 3-3 on aggregate, and Benitez knew that another away goal would send his side into the semis.
Didier Drogba, Alex and Frank Lampard quickly swung the tie in Chelsea’s favour, but goals from Lucas Leiva and Kuyt again meant just one goal was needed to go through.
They just couldn’t muster the strength to score a fifth, though, and Lampard’s second of the night officially finished Liverpool off.
It was an incredible football match, and one that epitomised the quality, passion and unpredictability in games between English teams in Europe.
Let’s hope the two legs against United bring much of the same, and a Liverpool victory.
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