For a fifth season in succession, the European Champion Clubs' Cup remained in England, with Bob Paisley's Liverpool FC beating Real Madrid CF at Paris's Parc des Princes thanks to Alan Kennedy's late strike.
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Liverpool FC 1-0 Real Madrid CF
Parc des Princes, Paris
The European Champion Clubs' Cup stayed in England for a fifth consecutive year in 1980/81, only it swapped the trophy cabinet at Nottingham Forest FC for the one at Liverpool FC. Holders Forest fell victim to FC CSKA Sofia in the first round, leaving centre stage to four clubs that had won the competition 13 times between them: Real Madrid CF, Internazionale FC, FC Bayern München and Liverpool.
The Merseysiders started as they meant to go on. After scoring eleven goals against FC Oulu, they enjoyed convincing wins over Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen FC and CSKA. Semi-final opponents Bayern would be less inclined to roll over. Buoyant after a 6-2 quarter-final triumph over FC Baník Ostrava, Rummenigge and Co were further boosted by a 0-0 draw in the first leg at Anfield. A fortnight later, though, Ray Kennedy's strike in a 1-1 draw was enough to send Liverpool through on away goals.
Elsewhere, a meeting of super powers determined the identity of the other finalist. Madrid had already outclassed Limerick FC, Kispest Honvéd FC and FC Spartak Moskva, and got to add Inter's name to that list with a 2-1 aggregate success. But the Spanish team did not possess the wherewithal to finish the job, while Bob Paisley's did. Full back Alan Kennedy took a break from his defensive duties to grab an 81st-minute winner - and make his manager the first coach to achieve a hat-trick of victories with the one club.