On this day in 2005 Rafa Benitez’s men overcame Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 on their road to Istanbul.
Facing the winners of Group B, Bayer Leverkusen, in the last 16 was probably the best possible outcome for Liverpool who finished runners up in their group. With the likes of Inter and AC Milan, Lyon and Arsenal all being eligible opponents for the Merseyside outfit, a tie against the side that finished fourth in the Bundesliga the previous season was ostensibly the easiest of all the teams that topped their respective groups.
The first leg of the tie was to be played at Anfield and Liverpool were dead set on making their home advantage count. Even without the suspended Steven Gerrard, the Reds made easy work of Klaus Augenthaler’s Leverkusen side with Luis Garcia opening the scoring on 15 minutes after getting on the end of a great Igor Biscan through ball. John Arne Riise doubled the hosts lead on 35 minutes through a trademark free kick. It wouldn’t be until a dramatic final few minutes that the game would next see some goals as Dietmar Hamann netted a free kick of his own to make it 3-0. Unfortunately, a mistake from Jerzy Dudek saw Brazilian striker França pull one back for the German side at the death. Aside from that minor blemish the Reds enjoyed another great European night at Anfield, as they took a 3-1 advantage to the Bay Arena.