Ahead of the Reds’ trip to Dortmund this week, we take a look back at the last time Liverpool played at the Westfalenstadion.
Jurgen Klopp‘s return to his former club is sure to dominate the football headlines this week, with the Reds set for a huge two-legged Europa League quarter-final against the Bundesliga giants.
While the German outfit are favourites to progress to the semi-finals, it is a tie that could go right the wire at Anfield a week on Thursday.
Although the two teams have met in pre-season in recent years, this will be the first time they have done battle in Europe for almost 15 years.
Last time around, it was Liverpool who came out on top.
Houllier and Thompson’s Reds prevail
The duo were pitted in the same Champions League group in 2001/02 – the first of two group stages that the competition had at that time.
Gerard Houllier’s Reds team were the reigning UEFA Cup winners when Matthias Sammer’s side welcomed them to Westfalenstadion, following their epic 5-4 final win over Alaves at the same ground four months earlier.
Michael Owen and Emile Heskey were the first-choice pairing in attack, with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Danny Murphy supporting from the middle of the park.
Liverpool 2-0 Borussia Dortmund
LFC starting XI: Dudek, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Vignal, Gerrard, Hamann, Murphy, Riise, Owen, Heskey.
The brilliant defensive duo of Sami Hyypia and Stephane Henchoz started at centre-back, with future stalwart Jamie Carragher having to make do with a full-back role at that stage in his career.
The game was a drab affair with both sides extremely well-drilled and few chances of note created. The 0-0 scoreline was proof of that.
A draw away from home was seen as a good result for Liverpool, though, and by the time Dortmund visited Anfield six weeks later, the Reds were still undefeated in their five group matches.
Things weren’t all positive, however, following a serious dip in Houllier’s health.
The Frenchman had fallen ill at half-time in a Premier League clash at home to Leeds in mid-October, and had required emergency surgery after a heart condition was discovered.
It was a huge shock to everyone associated with the club, and former captain Phil Thompson, Houllier’s assistant, took charge in his absence.
Liverpool 2-0 Borussia Dortmund
LFC starting XI: Dudek, Wright, Henchoz, Carragher, Riise, Murphy, Hamann, Gerrard, Smicer, Owen, Heskey.
Liverpool delivered an excellent display that no doubt made their ailing manager very proud, with Dortmund never coping with them at a typically atmospheric Anfield.
Vladimir Smicer fired the hosts into a 15th-minute lead with a left-footed volley, and they contained Sammer’s men from that point on.
A surprise goalscorer put the game to bed late in the day, with local lad Stephen Wright gleefully heading home the Reds’ second of the night.
It was his only ever goal for Liverpool, and it capped off a very fine team performance. Dortmund were sent packing, having finished third in the group.
What happened next?
The Reds managed to progress to the next stage of the competition, despite winning only one of their six group matches.
A must-win game at home to Roma was a glorious night on Merseyside, with Jari Litmanen’s penalty and Heskey’s header getting them over the line.
It meant Liverpool were through to the quarter-finals, but their Champions League run came to a depressing end against an exciting Bayer Leverkusen team.
The Reds made themselves favourites to reach the semis after a 1-0 home win in the first-leg – Hyypia got the goal – but it went horribly wrong in Germany.
Houllier was back in the dugout by this point, despite concerns over his well-being, and one huge tactical error he made is still spoken about to this day.
With the scores level at 1-1 on the night, after Abel Xavier had levelled up Michael Ballack’s opener, the former Reds manager inexplicably decided to replace Didi Hamann with Smicer.
Liverpool simply had to hold tight and see the game out, but the Frenchman took off his best defensive midfielder and brought on an attack-minded player.
Almost immediately Ballack had scored his second of the night, and although the Reds were still heading through on away goals, the tide was turning.
Dimitar Berbatov made it 3-1 to Leverksen, but Litmanen dramatically scored with 11 minutes remaining to put the visitors in pole position to progress again.
Unfortunately, Lucio’s 84th-minute strike ended up sending Liverpool crashing out of the Champions League, and Houllier’s substitution had played a big role in the defeat.
Leverkusen would eventually lose 2-1 to Real Madrid in the final, in a game that saw Zinedine Zidane score one of the all-time great European goals.
In the Premier League, it was an impressive campaign for Liverpool, as they finished second behind a formidable Arsenal side.
They beat bitter rivals Man United both home and away, won 3-1 at Everton and thrashed Leeds 4-0 at Elland Road, in a season full of good results.
Thompson did a very fine job in temporary charge, but there will always be a niggling feeling that the Reds may have won something had Houllier not had his much-publicised health problems.
One thing’s for sure, we would certainly take a repeat of those two scorelines against Dortmund when Klopp takes on his former side in the next couple of weeks.