A return to the scene of their first European Champion Clubs' Cup triumph proved to be auspicious for Liverpool FC, though it took a penalty shootout for them to overcome AS Roma after a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico.
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AS Roma 1-1 Liverpool FC (aet, Liverpool win 4-2 on penalties)
(Pruzzo 43; Neal 14)
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Liverpool FC returned to the scene of their first European Champion Clubs' Cup triumph to lift the trophy for a fourth time in 1983/84. Key to their success was Welsh international Ian Rush. Although he failed to register against Odense BK in the first round, his predatory instincts settled three difficult away ties in the Reds' favour. Rush got the only goal of the double-header with Athletic Club Bilbao in the second leg at San Mamés, then consolidated 1-0 Anfield wins with one and two-goal salvoes at SL Benfica and FC Dinamo Bucuresti.
The Romanian side had upset holders Hamburger SV in the second round, yet Rush's brace eased any Liverpool nerves and secured their fourth final appearance in eight years. Remarkably, this was very nearly an all-British affair, with Dundee United FC 90 minutes away from joining them. The Scottish champions beat AS Roma 2-0 in their semi-final first leg at Tannadice Park - only to lose 3-0 to Niels Liedholm's team in Rome. The veteran Swedish trainer had assembled a stellar cast including Brazilians Falcão and Toninho Cerezo, and Italians Bruno Conti and Roberto Pruzzo.
But playing the final on home turf at the Olimpico proved a double-edged sword. While Pruzzo was able to equalise Phil Neal's early strike, the longer the match went, the more the Italian side struggled under the weight of expectancy. So, come penalties, it was Roma - and not Reds goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar - who were really wobbling. Conti and Francesco Graziani missed, leaving Alan Kennedy to convert the winning spot-kick for Joe Fagan's side. For the first time, the competition had been decided by the 'dreaded lottery'.