Liverpool's last semi-final vs Barcelona was delayed because of Phil Mitchell

Liverpool team group

Liverpool have reached the Champions League semi-finals for the second consecutive season.

After navigating the task of Bayern Munich in the round of 16, they breezed past Porto with a convincing 6-1 win on aggregate, setting up a massive clash with Barcelona.

The Blaugrana have looked particularly dangerous in Europe this season and are fresh from dumping Manchester United out of the competition.

They certainly aren't the Barcelona of old, but with Lionel Messi producing one of the best seasons of his career, Liverpool face an uphill challenge to make the final.

You could even argue that it would be harder than the final itself, with both Ajax and Tottenham in rather unfamiliar territory as far as their recent history in Europe is concerned.

Liverpool and Barcelona's last semi-final

However, Liverpool fans will be reasonably buoyed by their record against the Catalan side, having memorably defeated them in the Champions League 12 years ago.

Supporters will fondly remember John Arne Riise and Craig Bellamy - golf celebration and all - scoring at the Nou Camp to come back from a 1-0 defeat on Merseyside.

But as far as semi-finals are concerned, you need to rewind even further and go back to 2001, when Liverpool and Barcelona were fighting for a place in the UEFA Cup final.

Liverpool v Barca

Phil Mitchell causes delay

The game wasn't particularly memorable and finished goalless, but will continue to be remembered for a bizarre piece of trivia that involves BBC soap opera EastEnders.

That's because the BBC remarkably negotiated a delayed kick-off in Spain, so viewers could find out who shot Phil Mitchell without having to miss the start of the football.

The match was due to kick off at 20:00 BST, but was moved back to 20:10 in order to accomodate the special 40-minute episode that revealed the mystery. 

BBC Sport's Mike Hales explained: "We asked both sides nicely and they agreed to start later because of EastEnders.

"It is a well-known programme so the Spanish realise it was important for the BBC. The nation will be on the edge of its seat."

The previous episode had seen Mitchell, played by Steve McFadden, return from hospital and claimed to know the identity of the would-be assassin. 

Gary Lineker's TV transition

Thankfully, though, viewers torn between the storyline and watching the football had the opportunity to watch both and frankly, there was more action at Albert Square.

Liverpool fans would probably take another 0-0 draw in this year's semi-final, allowing them to take Barcelona back to Anfield and inflict another defeat, just as they did in 2001.

However, they'll be no Phil Mitchell to delay the drama this time around.

Who do you think will win the Champions League this season? Have your say in the comments section below.

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