Liverpool defeats Dortmund in “Istanbul 2005” v2.0
The Champions League finale in 2005 is probably the proudest moment of any living Liverpool fan today. It was against AC Milan on a beautiful night in Istanbul. The Merseyside club were three goals down by halftime and no-one gave them a chance. AC Milan was blessed with talents such as Shevchenko, Crespo, Kafu and Maldini looked 45 minutes away from a glorious champions league, but it was the belief and immense support of the fans that gave Liverpool the drive and they made a glorious comeback, managing to force the game to penalties and clinching the cup by a legendary performance from then goalkeeper Dudek.
The game last Wednesday was a season benchmark for the Reds. Being mid-table in the league and with no hope of winning any silverware domestically, the only tournament they have a chance in is the Euro Cup. The draw saw them face possibly the strongest team in the tournament, the German club Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool did well to get a 1-1 draw from the first game away in Dortmund. The starting lineup was fairly normal with Mignolet in goal with the back four of Clyne, Lovren, Sakho and Moreno. In front of the back four the two central midfielders were James Milner and Emre Can. In front of Milner and Can, the three attacking midfielders were Lallana, Firmino and Coutinho with the young prospective Divorick Origi as the lone striker. The game started really fast with German side Dortmund pressing high up, giving Liverpool a hard time attacking, and their pressure paid off well. Just in the fifth minute Shinji Kagawa played a brilliant pass to Gonzalo Castro who lofted the ball up behind Liverpool defenders leaving the in-form striker Aubameyang one on one with Mignolet. Although Mignolet did a fantastic job by saving Aubameyang’s attempt, the ball bounced and fell in front of Henrik Mkhitaryan who netted the ball (Liverpool 0 – 1 Dortmund, 5’ Mkhitaryan). Both Milner and Sakho did a poor job, just watching the attack rather than defending the Armenian midfielder. Liverpool fans' dreams of a comeback were crushed on 9th minute. Reus dribbled past the Liverpool midfield passing a long ground pass to Aubameyang. This time, the Gabonese striker scored comfortably against the Belgian goalkeeper (Liverpool 0 – 2 Dortmund, 5’ Aubameyang). This meant that Liverpool had to score three goals to qualify for the semifinal and from a team who conceded twice in first ten minutes against an extremely inform German club. This seemed highly unlikely. Liverpool started playing much more offensively with Origi getting close to scoring twice in the next ten minutes. Liverpool’s offensive gameplay meant that Dortmund got more counter attacking chances, coming very close to capitalizing these two times. In the next 20 minutes. With Adam Lallana missing the clearest chance of the game, the first half ended with a two goal lead for Dortmund. The Red’s came out of the halftime break highly motivated and two minutes after the kickoff Divorick Origi scored a simple goal by outpacing Borussia defenders (Liverpool 1 – 2 Dortmund, 48’ Origi). Liverpool’s hopes were crushed again 10 minutes later by Marco Reus scoring yet another “Reussian” goal (Liverpool 1 – 3 Dortmund, 57’ Reus). Liverpool now had to score three goals in 30 minutes and with the way things were going, this seemed very unlikely, The Liverpool Manager, Jurgen Klopp must have also realized this, and to change the flow of the game, he brought on Joe Allen for Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge for Roberto Firmino. This change pushed Milner to the wing, where he plays the best. The fruits of this change started to bear three minutes later. After a swift one-two right outside the box with Milner, the Brazilian talent Coutinho scored a brilliant goal, giving Liverpool fans hope again (Liverpool 2 – 3 Dortmund, 66’ Coutinho). After this, Liverpool started pushing their players forward towards a goal, which seemed extremely hard with Dortmund dismissing their attempts with ease. Liverpool took several corners which were all blocked in the front post and this made several fans very angry at the corner-taker, James Milner. This front post corner tactic eventually worked out with Liverpool defender Sakho heading it in in the 77thminute (Liverpool 3 – 3 Dortmund, 77’ Sakho). This was the ultimate redemption for Sakho, who was at fault for the first two goals. The next 13 minutes were one of the tensest ever in Anfield history. Liverpool started to push all of their players forward. One goal meant that they would qualify for the semi-final and they had nothing to lose. The moment all Liverpool fans were waiting for came in the 91st minute. James Milner crossed it in for the Croatian defender Dejan Lovren, who headed it in for the corner of the goal, impossible for the German goalkeeper to save. This was what Liverpool fans missed in the past ten years, and was a brilliant game that will remain in the memories of many Liverpool fans for a long time.
Liverpool Player Ratings:
Clyne: Average as usual, 6
Moreno: Average, 6