The spirit of Istanbul lives on.
Jurgen Klopp has revealed how he used Liverpool’s dramatic comeback in the 2005 Champions League final to inspire his players to victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League.
Things looked bleak for the Reds when Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the Bundesliga side a 3-1 aggregate lead inside 10 minutes.
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Divock Origi reduced the deficit minutes after half-time but Marco Reus quickly re-established Dortmund’s two-goal advantage.
But goals from Philippe Coutinho and Mamadou Sakho led to a nail-biting finish, and Dejan Lovren sealed a 5-4 aggregate win when he headed home James Milner’s cross in the 91st minute.
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Liverpool and Europe are a perfect match, and Thursday’s contest will go down as one of the finest in the club’s history.
In 2005, the Reds trailed AC Milan 3-0 at half-time. Klopp immediately got a sense of deja vu.
“I told the lads, I was not there but a few Liverpool players who are a little bit older and work now as experts for television, they were 3-0 down at half-time but won a Champions League final,” the German said afterwards, per Liverpool’s website.
“So even when it’s not really likely, it is for sure possible and we should try it.
“Then that was the moment in football – and in life – when you have to show character. That’s what the lads did and it was pretty cool to watch.
“In the end, to come back in a game like this against this highest quality opponent and to win, you need a little bit of luck, but I think everybody who was part of the game, who saw the game, has to say at the end it was deserved.”
Rightly so. Liverpool got off to a bad start but they were the better team and created numerous chances. Thomas Tuchel’s side simply posed a serious threat on the counter-attack.
Though Klopp used that night in Istanbul as a source of motivation, he doesn’t want it to draw comparisons with Thursday’s game. For a start, Liverpool didn’t end the night hoisting a trophy.
"The players did it, it was not the team of Istanbul," the former Dortmund boss continued. "It’s easy to say it. I’m a football fan so I saw the game [in 2005] and to be honest at half-time I did not think, 'Oh it looks like Liverpool will strike back'.
"I only told them that it’s possible, but it’s much more difficult to do it than say it. They showed that they have potential, real potential, and I’m completely happy.”
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