Without a doubt, Liverpool Football Club is one of the most historic and successful in the beautiful game’s history. Since the Reds inception in 1892, the men from Merseyside have enjoyed success at home and abroad. That success includes winning the English top-flight title on 19 occasions and the European Cup/Champions League six times, amongst numerous other trophies.
However, Liverpool has almost become synonymous with the European Cup because of their regular success in the competition over the years.
Liverpool Third On The List
Only Spanish giants Real Madrid and Italian behemoths AC Milan have won the competition more times than Liverpool. The Reds are also the most successful English club in European football competitions, winning 14 European trophies in their history.
First success European Cup success in 1976/77
Liverpool’s first successive foray into the European Cup was in 1977 when they faced German giants Borussia Monchengladbach in the final of the competition held in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
Liverpool took the lead on 28 minutes through stalwart midfielder Terry McDermott. However, the German team drew level on 52 minutes through an effort from Danish icon Allan Simonsen. Parity would not last, though, as tough centre-half Tommy Smith restored the lead just after the hour mark.
The men from Merseyside sealed victory eight minutes from time, as Phil Neal scored from the penalty spot. The goal was Neal’s fourth of the competition, putting him level with star striker Kevin Keegan in that year’s scoring charts.
Liverpool became only the second English club to win the European Cup. The victory also kick-started a run of six straight English triumphs in the competition.
Liverpool retain the European Cup
Just a year after first winning the European Cup, Liverpool were back in the final, this time against Belgian outfit Club Brugge at Wembley. The Reds had seen off the likes of Benfica and 1977 final opponents Monchengladbach to book their place in the final against the Belgian underdogs.
The game’s only goal arrived on 64 minutes through a well-taken effort from Scottish legend Kenny Dalglish. The forward had replaced Kevin Keegan the previous summer and certainly didn’t disappoint in the Reds attack.
The result started a run of six consecutive European Cup finals that produced 1-0 results, five of which were won by English teams.
The third triumph in 1981
Liverpool once again triumphed in the European Cup in 1981 in the Parc des Princes, as the Reds recorded a 1-0 win over Real Madrid in the final. Full-back Alan Kennedy popped up in attack to fire home on 82 minutes after a mistake by a Los Blancos defender.
The victory saw Liverpool boss Bob Paisley become the first manager ever to win the European Cup three times with one club. Liverpool midfielder pair Terry McDermott and Graeme Souness were the joint top goalscorers with Bayern Munich striker Karl Heinz-Rumminegge in that season’s competition, having scored six goals apiece.
Trophy won on penalty kicks in 1984
Liverpool were back in the final once again in 1984, as the Reds faced Roma at the Giallorossi’s own stadium, the Stadio Olimpico. Despite the partisan setting, Liverpool once again triumphed and brought the trophy home to Merseyside.
Full-back Phil Neal opened the scoring on 13 minutes, as he poked home after a scramble in the penalty box. The Italian team were back level on 43 minutes, as forward Roberto Pruzzo looped a header over Reds goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar.
The pair could not be separated by either 90 minutes or extra time, so went to the dreaded penalty shootout. Liverpool claimed a 4-2 victory in the shootout, with full-back Alan Kennedy scoring with the decisive spot-kick. The victory was the seventh European Cup won by English teams in eight seasons.
The miracle of Istanbul
Liverpool had to wait over two decades for their next European Cup win, and boy, was the wait worth it. The 2005 Champions League final against Italian giants AC Milan will go down as one of the most memorable in the history of the competition.
Rafa Benitez’s team were a goal down in the first minute, as veteran defender Paolo Maldini produced a brilliant volleyed finish from an Andrea Pirlo free-kick. The Rossoneri doubled their lead on 39 minutes as Milan hit on the counter with Kaka’s pass finding Hernan Crespo, who fired home. The pair combined once more just before half-time, as Kaka put Crespo through on goal and the Argentinian forward produced a delightful chip over the outrushing Jerzy Dudek.
The game looked as good as over at the break. The Liverpool fans didn’t give up and sang their famous club anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ throughout the interval. The players didn’t give up either, as the Reds were back in the game on 54 minutes, as Steven Gerrard headed home from a John Arne Riise cross. Two minutes later, the comeback was on, as substitute Vladimir Smicer drove a low effort past Dida in the Milan goal.
The incredible comeback was complete on the hour mark, as Liverpool’s driving force on the night Gerrard was brought down in the penalty area by Gennaro Gattuso. Gerrard stepped up from the spot himself and saw Dida save his spot-kick, only for Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso to score with the rebound. The goal meant that Liverpool had scored three goals in six minutes.
After the excitement of the first hour, there were no goals in the last half-hour or extra-time, so the game was decided by a penalty shootout. The Reds came out on top 3-2 in the shootout courtesy of Dudek saving Andriy Shevchenko’s effort.
Liverpool’s fifth European Cup triumph meant that they got to keep the trophy, with a new trophy made for season 2005/06.
Klopp’s team made it six in 2019
Liverpool’s most recent Champions League triumph came in 2019 when Jurgen Klopp’s Reds saw off Tottenham 2-0 at Atletico’s Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano.
The Reds were big favourites to win the final and took the lead after just two minutes. The officials adjudged that Moussa Sissoko had handled the ball in his own penalty area. Mohamed Salah made no mistake with the spot kick.
Liverpool was relatively comfortable for the rest of the game, and substitute Divock Origi secured the victory on 87 minutes by firing past Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to send the Reds fans into delirium.
Near misses in previous European Cups
While Liverpool has won the European Cup on six occasions, the men from Merseyside have also finished as runners-up in the competition four times. Their first defeat came in season 1984-85 against Juventus when they lost 1-0 at Heysel.
Their second final defeat came in 2007, when they suffered a 2-1 loss against Milan, as the Rossoneri got their revenge for the final defeat two seasons earlier. The next two defeats both came against Real Madrid, firstly in a 3-1 defeat in Kiev and a 1-0 loss against Los Blancos in Saint-Denis last season.
Liverpool are a hard team to write off
The Reds seem to have a special affinity with the Champions League. Even when Liverpool are not firing in the league the team and the fans will expect to reach the latter stages of European football’s elite competition in most seasons.
The men from Merseyside are hard to write off, especially in the Champions League. Who knows, maybe it won’t be long at all until they claim their seventh European crown.