Liverpool vs Spurs

I think it is only fitting in the year that Tommy Smith passed away we can start with a look back at what was his and probably Liverpool's finest achievement. I am of course referring to 1977 and Liverpool's very first European Cup win.. The match was played in Rome. the opponents were Borussia Monchengladbach and the final score was 3-1. Terry McDermott opened the scoring, some bloke from their side equalised then Tommy Smith playing his 600th match for Liverpool soared like an (unlikely looking) eagle high above the Borussia defence and headed the ball into the net to restore the lead and take the game by the scuff of the neck very much like Gerrard did in Istanbul some years later. The win was  sealed late on with a penalty scored by Phil Neal after a foul on Kevin Keegan.

Embed from Getty Images

That was the moment Liverpool came of age and the start of an amazing run of achievements that firmly established them at the top of Europe's elite. Tommy Smith was very much a player of his time. A rugged, tough tackling enforcer which made him a bit of a Marmite figure. If he was playing these days he would probably be sent off during the warm up. Though, after that final, sales of Marmite on Merseyside went through the roof.

The second European cup followed swiftly a year later in 1978 when Liverpool beat Club Brugge of Belgium 1-0 in the final in Berne to become the first English team to win the European cup in successive years. The only goal of  a game dominated by Liverpool was scored by Kenny Dalglish (Sir Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish MBE). The goal was a delightful little chip over the goalkeeper after a clever through ball from Graeme Souness who was Tommy Smith's spiritual successor in the team.

Embed from Getty Images

In 1981 Bob Paisley became the first and only manager to win the European cup three times as          English clubs completed a fifth straight win after two wins by Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980. Yes you read that right Nottingham Forest also won the European cup two years in succession. But, this is not about them, this is about Liverpool who beat Real Madrid 1-0 in the final in Paris when Kennedy (Ray) threw the ball to Kennedy (Alan aka Barney Rubble) on the left and he ran into the penalty beat a defender and struck the ball past the goalkeeper. What we wouldn't give these days for a quality marauding left back who could run up and down the wing for 90 minutes...…;-)

Embed from Getty Images

The fourth win was in 1984 when Liverpool played Roma in err Rome (Well UEFA did their best to rig it but they failed). Despite playing at home and being overwhelming favourites Roma were unable to beat a patient and resolute Liverpool side who even had the better chances to win the game. In the event the match finished 1-1 even after extra time. Phil Neal scored first for Liverpool but some bloke in the Roma side then equalised. This meant that the final was to be decided on penalties. Cue another iconic Liverpool moment when, with Liverpool already leading 3-2 on penalties, Bruce Grobbelaar's nerves got the better of him as he realised too late that he really should have taken a toilet break before the shoot-out. Grobbelaar's knees starting to wobble and buckle under the strain and this reminded the next Roma penalty taker Graziani that he too needed the loo and in his haste he smacked the ball over the bar. Alan Kennedy then stepped up to score his penalty and Liverpool had won the shootout 4-2.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Everyone remembers the Fifth of course against Milan which has become the legend  known simply as "the miracle of Istanbul". At half time the match was over Liverpool 3-0 down, effectively dead and buried and being given a footballing lesson by a superior Milan side. I even turned the telly off and decided I was going to get hammered but then I thought no Liverpool must regain some self respect in the second half and anyway true fans never quit even when their team is down and seemingly out. Best footballing decision I ever made.

Embed from Getty Images

The comeback was started by Gerrard of course who did a much better impression of an eagle than Tommy Smith had all those years earlier. Smicer then scored again quickly and "the look" appeared on the faces of the Milan side. You know the look I mean. The one worn more recently by Messi and Suarez. Inevitably Liverpool were awarded a penalty duly despatched at the second time of asking by Alonso and the comeback was complete. A very nervy extra time followed and then an even nervier penalty shoot-out but the result was seemingly written in the stars. It ended in victory for Liverpool when Jerzy Dudek did his best Grobbelaar  impersonation and despite his wobbly legs saved Shevchenko's penalty to win the cup and complete the most dramatic comeback in European Cup history. I still got hammered though.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

I don't think there could ever be a more unlikely and dramatic turnaround in a Champions league match than that night. Oh wait a minute....

Embed from Getty Images

And now we come to the sixth. Will this be won in a conventional manner by a striker scoring a trademark goal as did Dalglish, by an inspirational leader like Smith or Gerrard, by a fullback scoring an unexpected goal as with Kennedy and Neal, or even by a goalkeeper taking matters into their own hands (or legs) as with Grobbelaar then Dudek? I don't really care though who makes the difference or how they do it. I just want to see a performance that sums up why I love Liverpool and LFC. I want the players to be brave and to show the heart, commitment and never say die attitude reminiscent of the best Liverpool teams of the past and which epitomises the people of Liverpool. I want them to play for each other as a team but with that bit of individualism, skill and flair that lifts the your spirit and gets you out of your chair screaming at the top of your voice. I want them to show the same passion that we the fans show them. If they do all that, then together we will win not just the game, the Champions league and the Cup but we will win in every sense of  the word.  And so we move on to lucky 7...…...

***********************************************************************************************************
Bonus point questions:
1. LFC’s Result, win or loss (1pt)
2. Final Score, must have # 1 correct to be eligible and PK winner will be award one extra goal. For example if LFC wins on PK’s after playing to a 2-2 draw the final score would be 3-2. (1pt)
3. First LFC goal scorer (1pt)
4. Total LFC shots on target (1pt)
5. TLBN MOTM as selected by the Scottish one (1pt)

Bonus of the Bonus section
6. 4th LFC goal scorer (4pts)
Powered by Blogger.