In their first UEFA Europa League final, Liverpool can match Sevilla as four-time winners of this competition; UEFA.com recalls their three successes in the UEFA Cup.
Article top media content
The first leg was abandoned after 27 minutes due to bad weather and replayed the following day, by which time Bill Shankly's Reds had the measure of their opponents. They won 3-0, and Ray Clemence saved a Jupp Heynckes penalty. Heynckes struck twice in the first half of the return leg, but Liverpool steadied themselves to win their first European trophy.
"I rallied the troops and it was a good tactical game after that," recalled defender Tommy Smith of that second leg. "[First-team coach] Joe Fagan wasn't one to go overboard with congratulations, but he grabbed hold of me at the end and said: 'Smithy, that's the best game you've ever played, son'. With him saying it, I think that's gospel."
The Reds came from behind in both legs to win their second UEFA Cup, with the bulk of the side that would go on to win the European Champion Clubs' Cup in each of the following two seasons. Three goals in the space of seven second-half minutes turned the tide at Anfield, and Kevin Keegan got his fourth final goal to steady any nerves during the rematch in Bruges.
"The Kop and the supporters were magnificent that night," recalled midfielder Jimmy Case of the first leg at Anfield. "Throats must have been red-raw with cheering. But you know what? I believe those fans liked to see us with our backs to the wall because they knew we could win."
2001: Liverpool 5-4 Deportivo Alavés (aet)
(Babbel 4, Gerrard 16, McAllister 41p, Fowler 73, Gelí (og) 116; Alonso 27, Moreno 48 51, Cruyff 89)
At 2-0 up inside 20 minutes – and 3-1 up by the break – Gérard Houllier's side might have felt the game was over in Dortmund, but unheralded Alavés conspired to make it a classic final, Jordi Cruyff's late strike taking the Reds to extra time at 4-4. Weakened by two red cards, Delfí Geli's own goal stopped the clock for the Spanish side after 116 minutes.
"It was arguably the most exciting European final ever – until Istanbul," recalled Gary McAllister, with a nod to Liverpool's 2005 UEFA Champions League final success. "I thought the way we started we were going to win very comfortably. Credit to them though – they came back and it was maybe a bit cruel on them to lose."