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Champions League Finals: Liverpool Vs AC Milan 2005

Updated on April 27, 2012

Road To The Final

Group Stage

Milan comfortably qualified from their group, losing just 1 game and coming top of the group ahead of Barcelona. On the other hand, Liverpool only just got through the group stage, qualifying for the second round on goal difference ahead of Olympiacos.

Second Round

Both teams easily made it through the second round, Milan beating Manchester United 1-0 home and away, 2-0 on aggregate, and Liverpool beating Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 home and away, winning 6-2 on aggregate.

Quarter Final

The Quarters were just as straightforward for the Italians, but not so for the English. Milan defeated their city rivals Inter Milan 5-0 on aggregate, while Liverpool scraped through 2-1 against Juventus.

Semi Final

Both found the Semi Final a lot trickier than previous rounds: Milan only got through on away goals against the Dutch PSV Eindhoven, and Liverpool sneaked a 1-0 win to English rivals Chelsea through a very dubious goal.

The line-ups.
The line-ups.

The Game

Arguably the greatest ever Champions League Finals, this really was a game of two halves.

The first half was all Milan's, and they got off to a flying start their captain Paolo Maldini opened the scoring inside the first minute. The half only got worse for LIverpool as Hernan Crespo scored 2 more before 45 minutes were up.

At half-time the score was 3-0 and Milan had all but won the greatest prize in football. Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, would have to come up with something special.

He decided to change something. He brought on a Dietmar Hamann, a midfielder, for Steve Finnan, a defender, and changed the formation to a more attacking 3-5-2 as they would have to go all out or they had no chance of pulling back 3 goals against one of the best defences ever.

What happened next was one of the most incredible few moments in any match ever.

In the space of 7 crazy second-half minutes Liverpool scored 3 goals; first, captain Steven Gerrard headed in. Just minutes later, Vladimir Smicer reduced the deficit to 1. 3 minutes after that,Gerrard was fouled in the box and LIverpool were awarded a penalty, with the chance to complete the best comeback ever.

Xabi Alonso, Gerrard’s midfield partner, stepped up to take it: Saved! But he squeezed in the rebound. 3-3!


So the game would need another 30 minutes to decide the winner.

Both teams had many chances to win, but were so tired after 90 minutes of exhausting football that they couldn't take full advantage of these.

The best chance of the period fell to Andriy Shevchenko, one of the best strikers around at the time. He took a shot; Dudek, the Liverpool goalie, saved it but the rebound fell straight back at his feet 6 yards out. Incredibly, Dudek saved again and tipped it over the bar.

That was the final chance of the game.


So after 120 minutes of exhilarating football, the biggest trophy in European football would come down to 10 kicks from 12 yards.

After 2 penalties each the score was 2-0 to Liverpool.

Tomasson scored for Milan. Then Riise missed, giving them a way back into the shoot-out.

Kaka took full advantage, and scored to make it 2-2.

Smicer scored to put Liverpool back in front at 3-2.

Shevchenko stepped up knowing he had to score or Liverpool would win. Dudek pulled off his second save of the shoot-out and Liverpool became European Champions!

Serginho (miss)
Hamann (scored)
Pirlo (saved)
Cisse (scored)
Tomasson (scored)
Riise (saved)
Kaka (scored)
Smicer (scored)
Shevchenko (saved)

Greatest Champions League Final Ever?

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    • RevaxMike profile image

      RevaxMike 5 years ago from Darlington

      I still can't believe we beat that Milan side full of legends with a Liverpool team that isn't even as good as the 2012 crop. Shevchenko, Gatusso, Inzaghi, Pirlo, Kaka, Crespo, Maldini, Nesta.

      Gerrard, Alonso, Hyppia, Carragher.

      Odds were stacked against us.

    • Donnacha C profile image

      Donnacha C 5 years ago from Ennis, Co Clare, Republic of Ireland

      and 7 years later it's still breaks my heart....good article tough, and Milan got their revenge in 2007

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      For me, this was the best game of football I'd ever seen, obviously because of what happened, but also what was at stake. I even got a free driving lesson out of it, because I booked my lesson at half time, and my instructor said that I could have a free lesson if Liverpool won the game, sounded silly as they were 3-0 down at the time. But they did, so I was one happy camper.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I did not remember this one in full. Your article was great! I fully enjoyed the read and to be honest, I do not usually read sport articles, although I do like football (I still can't call it soccer ...).

      Thanks for the write, cheers!

    • internpete profile image

      Peter V 5 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

      what a fun look back at a great game!