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Liverpool memories raise Güneş' expectations

Trabzonspor AŞ pulled off "a miracle" by beating Liverpool FC in 1976 and as the Black Sea team revisit Anfield, coach Şenol Güneş told UEFA.com "a big upset" may be looming.

Şenol Güneş is eager to show how far Trabzonspor have come since 1976
Şenol Güneş is eager to show how far Trabzonspor have come since 1976 ©Getty Images

As Trabzonspor AŞ head for Anfield for Thursday's UEFA Europa League play-off opener against Liverpool FC, memories are flooding back for coach Şenol Güneş. The 58-year-old played in goal for the Black Sea side when – fresh from becoming the first team from outside Istanbul to win the Turkish title – they met the same opponents in the 1976/77 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round.

A Cemil Usta strike gave Trabzonspor a 1-0 victory in the first leg, but while they lost the second 3-0 on Merseyside, Güneş tells UEFA.com "a big upset" could be in the offing this time – provided, of course, they bring their wet-weather boots.

UEFA.com: What did that 1-0 win against Liverpool in 1976 mean to Turkish football?

Şenol Güneş: We had beaten a world football institution. It gave us great belief and we were very proud. That victory was like a miracle back then. Trabzonspor were a newly emerging club on the European stage, while Liverpool were a big club from England – from the birthplace of football.

UEFA.com: What do you remember about playing at Anfield?

Güneş: It was exciting and fascinating. In those days Turkish football was not so advanced in terms of infrastructure and facilities. The first steps were just being taken. Early in the morning of the matchday, we went to see the state of the pitch. It was sunny and the surface was dry. However, when we got to the stadium in the evening, it was wet and slippery. We were 3-0 down within 20 minutes. Back then we didn't know people watered pitches before the game – we saw that for the first time at Anfield. The boots we had were not suitable for a wet pitch.

UEFA.com: How good was that Liverpool side?

Güneş: Liverpool were the best team in Europe that year. They had excellent players – goalkeeper Ray Clemence and midfielder Terry McDermott were leading names, while Kevin Keegan was fantastic. Tools of mass communication were not so widespread in those days and Trabzon is quite a long way from Liverpool, but we knew Bob Paisley was a well-respected coach.

UEFA.com: Can Trabzonspor spring a surprise 34 years on?

Güneş: We aim to cause a big upset. We are playing against a team that perhaps ought to be in the UEFA Champions League, but nowadays you can get any result in football. In order to be a big club, you need to work hard enough to spring surprises. That's what we are doing. It's like a final for us. I desperately want my team to carry on in Europe. If we can reach the group stage and get to the last 32, I will consider that a success.

UEFA.com: Trabzonspor took the Turkish Cup last year and recently won the Turkish Super Cup: what are the targets for this season?

Güneş: Winning the title is, of course, one of our targets, but especially fighting for a Champions League place. I want Trabzonspor to be an ever-present in European competition. We want to be a competitive brand that gets impressive results, to be able to use our home-grown players, to play brave, entertaining and attacking football with principles.