One of the most famous European nights at Anfield: LFC vs Chelsea, 2005
ESPN's Tony Evans brings back memories of Liverpool vs Chelsea, Champions League semifinal, May 3, 2005
"The old-time supporters were cynical. The Anfield atmosphere was good, but such wild nights were seemingly a thing of the past. Seats had killed the Kop, with the swaying, seething and screaming frenzy of the past somewhat muted in the new age. They were wrong. Liverpool's 2004-05 Champions League had more than its share of memorable matches. Steven Gerrard's last-gasp goal against Olympiakos in the group stage sparked crazed celebrations, sending the home team into the knockout round in the most unlikely of circumstances.
"Then the quarterfinal brought Juventus to Anfield. It was an emotional night: the first meeting between the two sides since the Heysel Stadium disaster 20 years previous, when 39 fans died in a tragedy precipitated by Liverpool supporters. Rafa Benitez's team surged forward in a whirlwind attacking start that stunned the Italian giants and continued the improbable advance toward Istanbul.
"The semifinal paired Liverpool with Chelsea. Jose Mourinho had lobbied for the job at Anfield and been spurned, but in his first season in west London, he led the Blues to the title. Chelsea were heavy favourites, too: the first leg at Stamford Bridge was a 0-0 draw and set up a titanic clash in front of the Kop. The famous stand rose to the occasion. The craving for success was all-consuming at Anfield, and the packed stadium was pulsing with excitement. Liverpool attacked the Kop. Four minutes into the game, Gerrard flicked the ball into the Chelsea area, Milan Baros helped it on, and Luis Garcia touched it over Petr Cech.
"William Gallas charged back and cleared the ball, claiming it had not crossed the line, but the crowd were already going wild. The referee awarded a goal, and while Chelsea raged, Anfield bounced. The "ghost goal" gave Liverpool a crucial advantage, but Mourinho's team began to turn the screw. Chelsea finished 37 points ahead of their rivals in the Premier League and were a much better side, but on this night, it was more than 11-on-11. All around Anfield, the supporters screamed themselves hoarse beseeching their team to hold on to the slender lead.
"Chelsea had one last chance when, in stoppage time, Eidur Gudjohnsen shot across the Kop goalmouth. A gasp of fear ran down the huge stand, but the ball went wide. Liverpool had reached Europe's biggest game for the first time in two decades. At the end, Mourinho stood in the centre circle and stared at the Kop, his hand cradled reflectively under his chin. The scene before him was one of wild celebration."
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