Liverpool FC have fond memories of Istanbul following their 2004/05 final triumph but return there to meet Beşiktaş JK in desperate need of a win.
Two teams with just a point and a goal between them after the first two UEFA Champions League matches meet at the Inönü Stadium knowing that defeat would leave their qualifying prospects in jeopardy. For Liverpool FC, they hope a return to Istanbul will help them rediscover the form that took them to their triumph in the 2004/05 final.
• Beşiktaş JK's fourth participation on Europe's grandest stage has started poorly with a 2-0 defeat at Olympique de Marseille preceding a 1-0 home defeat against FC Porto on Matchday 2. At the onset of the campaign, the Süper Lig runners-up had hopes of improving on their previous group finishing positions – two thirds and a fourth – but to do that they have to find a higher gear.
• However, their history against English teams does not suggest a match with Liverpool can be the catalyst for Ertuğrul Sağlam's side to improve upon their UEFA Champions League record. In five previous home games against opponents from that country they have not registered a victory and have only scored once.
• The sequence began in the 1982/83 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round when they drew 0-0 with holders Aston Villa FC, a scoreline repeated in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League group stage against Leeds United AFC. In the away game against Leeds, they were defeated 6-0: their heaviest loss in UEFA competition.
• In the UEFA Champions League group stage three years later they succumbed 2-0 at home to Chelsea FC; a fixture played in Gelsenkirchen after Istanbul was deemed an unsuitable venue following terrorist attacks on the city. In the UEFA Cup group stage in the past two seasons, Beşiktaş have faced Bolton Wanderers FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC in Istanbul, drawing 1-1 and losing 2-0 respectively. In three away games against English opponents just one result lifts an otherwise gloomy picture – the 2-0 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in 2003.
• It was in Istanbul, at the Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadium, that Rafael Benítez's men produced a stunning comeback against AC Milan in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final. Trailing 3-0 at half-time, they fought back to 3-3 through goals from Steven Gerrard, Vladimír Šmicer and Xabi Alonso before prevailing 3-2 on penalties.
• Similar inspiration has been in short supply for Liverpool this season. They gained a point from their trip to Porto on Matchday 1 thanks to Dirk Kuyt's close-range header, though ended the night with ten men, and then lost 1-0 at home to Olympique de Marseille.
• Confronting Turkish opponents away from home has not been such a happy experience for Liverpool with a 1-1 draw against Galatasaray SK in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League improving a record which would otherwise show three defeats from three. They were second best in a 1-0 away defeat by Trabzonspor in the 1976/77 European Champions Clubs' Cup second round. A 3-0 win in the Anfield return helped them progress on their way to their first continental crown.
• Last season Liverpool lost 3-2 to Galatasaray in the group stage, the same score by which they won the home game. That was one of only three defeats the club have suffered in 15 UEFA Champions League away games, a run which does not include the finals in 2005 and 2007.
• During his time as Valencia CF coach, Benítez guided his team past Beşiktaş en route to their 2004 UEFA Cup triumph. They won 3-2 at home and 2-0 away in the third round, then followed that by defeating another Turkish opponent, Gençlerbirliği SK, in the fourth round, overturning a 1-0 away loss with a 2-0 home win.