Remembering Liverpool’s 3 previous Champions League semi-finals

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Liverpool are in their first Champions League semi-final in a decade, having experienced both joy and misery at this stage before.

It has been 10 long years since we could look forward to such a night.

Liverpool have played in three Champions League semi-finals in the past, all against Chelsea, and there has been drama, ecstasy and heartbreak in abundance.

 

Liverpool vs. Chelsea – 2005 (Liverpool won 1-0 on agg.)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND. TUESDAY, MAY 3rd, 2005: Liverpool's Luis Garcia celebrates scoring the opening goal against Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final 2nd Leg at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The march to Champions League glory back in 2005 remains the most thrilling ride in the Reds’ history, and the semi-final triumph over a title-winning Chelsea outfit was unforgettable.

It may not have been the easiest tie on the eye, but there have been few more nerve-wracking occasions at Anfield than the second leg.

The first game at Stamford Bridge was a war of attrition, and bar one glaring miss by Frank Lampard, neither team ever looked like scoring.

It was perfectly poised for the return fixture, and the atmosphere on Merseyside remains the greatest ever in the eyes of many supporters.

Luis Garcia’s early ‘Ghost Goal’ ended up being the difference, but Chelsea‘s dominance on the ball was almost unbearable to watch as the match progressed.

Eidur Gudjohnsen’s last-gasp miss remains a heart-stopping moment to this day, but Rafa Benitez’s men held on to reach their first European Cup final since 1985.

The small matter of Istanbul happened next…

 

Liverpool vs. Chelsea – 2007 (Liverpool won 4-1 on pens)

Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt (center), John Arne Riise and Jose Reina (left) celebrate after winning the match on penalties

Two years after that glorious night, Liverpool and Chelsea again found themselves up against each other in the semis, at a time when their rivalry was one of Europe’s most bitter.

Many fancied the west Londoners to get their revenge, but the Reds thrived as underdogs and Benitez out-thought Jose Mourinho tactically.

This time, Chelsea managed to take a lead into the second leg, with Joe Cole’s strike putting them in control, especially with Liverpool failing to score an away goal.

The unrivalled Anfield noise didn’t disappoint again, and when Daniel Agger produced a perfect finish midway through the first half, scenes of unbridled joy took place in the stands.

Both teams had chances to win it before extra-time was required, and similarly the tie could have been sorted prior to a penalty shootout. Dirk Kuyt hit the crossbar and also had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside.

Penalties were called for, however, and while Bolo Zenden, Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard and Kuyt all scored, Lampard was the only Chelsea player to convert his effort.

Kuyt struck the decisive spot-kick after Pepe Reina denied Geremi, and a second final in three years beckoned.

Sadly, it was payback for AC Milan.

 

Liverpool vs. Chelsea – 2008 (Chelsea won 4-3 on agg.)

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 10, 2008: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard MBE and Chelsea's Frank Lampard during the Premiership match at Stamford Bridge. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Five words to send a chill down your spine: John Arne Riise’s own goal.

When Kuyt, so often Liverpool’s big-game player, scruffily fired the Reds in front in the first leg, a hugely anticipated final against Man United felt likely.

Benitez’s side looked to have got half of the job done, but Riise’s stoppage-time howler undid all their hard work, as the left-back stooped low and headed the ball into his own net.

It was a killer blow in the tie, but Liverpool did draw 1-1 in normal time at Stamford Bridge, with Fernando Torres levelling up Didier Drogba’s opener.

Chelsea just seemed to have a little more left in the tank in extra-time, though, and Lampard’s penalty was added to by another Drogba goal.

There was still time for Ryan Babel to give Liverpool hope with a long-range effort—one of the Dutchman’s rare shots that didn’t land in the crowd—but they couldn’t find a third on the night.

The hope will be that Klopp’s Reds can emulate their 2005 counterparts on their way to a sixth European Cup this season.

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