On this day in 2005 the people of Liverpool witnessed the miracle of Istanbul.
After an arduous uphill battle to earn the right to reach the Champions League final Liverpool faced one final hurdle before they could be crowned European champions for a fifth time. Facing AC Milan at the Attaturk stadium in Turkey, Liverpool were massive underdogs going into the match.
As overwhelming favourites to lift the trophy Milan quickly lived up to their billing as the superior team with captain Paolo Maldini scoring after a mere 50 seconds. Things went from bad to worse for Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool as they were denied a penalty, a play from which Milan countered and scored through Chelsea loanee Hernan Crespo. It wasn’t long before Milan were three ahead with Crespo getting his second on the night to leave Liverpool with a mountain to climb in the second half.There’s no telling what lifted Liverpool’s spirits during that halftime break, whether it was the rousing rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone or a significantly motivational speech from Benitez we may not know but as the second half began the Reds looked invigorated and full of fight. This culminated in an early goal in the second half with Steven Gerrard heading home a John Arne Riise cross to make it 1-3. Two minutes later Vladimir Smicer smashed a shot home from 20 yards to bring the deficit down to one and then, just six minutes after they were 3-0 down, Gerrard won a penalty and the opportunity for Liverpool to equalise.The penalty was taken off Luis Garcia and given to Xabi Alonso, a decision that proved very wise as Milan keeper Dida saved the initial shot but couldn’t stop Alonso’s second, seeing Liverpool make it 3-3.The scored remained 3-3 after 90 and 120 minutes thanks to some super-human goalkeeping from Jerzy Dudek against Andriy Shevchenko, seeing the game go down to penalties. After further heroics from Dudek in the shootout, saving the deciding penalty after Hamann, Cisse and Smicer all converted to hand Liverpool their fifth European Cup in dramatic fashion.