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Liverpool's 10 greatest comebacks of all time

To mark the 19-year anniversary of the 'Miracle of Istanbul', Sports Mole counts down Liverpool's 10 greatest comebacks ever.

Few clubs in world football boast a reputation quite like Liverpool's - 19-time English title-winners, six-time Kings of Europe and a club with a globally renowned fanbase, stadium and history.

While all of those titles add to the allure of the Merseysiders, it is the manner in which they have achieved many of them that has ensured that they remain steeped in the memories of football fans around the world.

Liverpool have made a particularly welcome habit of staging incredible comebacks when they need them most, often in front of a raucous Anfield crowd and sometimes in neutral or enemy territory - albeit still roared on by their travelling fans.

A succession of the club's most notable names have overseen some of the most memorable nights in Liverpool's history, and perhaps the most fondly-remembered and famous such night occurred 19 years ago today.

Now known as the 'Miracle of Istanbul', Liverpool lifted their fifth European Cup in the most dramatic fashion as Rafael Benitez's massive underdogs toppled an AC Milan side littered with some of the greatest names of their generation.

Not only did they pull off a major upset, but they also did it from three goals down at half time with a second-half blitz that stunned the world of football and remains one of the great games in Champions League history.

Having been on the brink of elimination in the group stage earlier in that tournament, before upsetting the odds on a number of occasions before even making it to Istanbul, a Liverpool side that only finished fifth in the Premier League that year ended up getting their hands on the biggest club prize in European football, this time for keeps.

But where does that rank amongst Liverpool's greatest-ever comebacks?

Here, Sports Mole takes a trip down memory lane to rank the 10 best turnarounds they have ever produced.

10. Manchester City 2-3 Liverpool (Premier League | October 5, 2008)

This fixture was by no means as decisive and important as it would become later in the Premier League era when Liverpool visited Manchester City in October 2008, just a couple of months after the hosts had been bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group that has since turned them into a footballing superpower.

However, it was still an important result in a season which saw Liverpool come close to winning the Premier League title. Rafael Benitez's side had taken 14 points from the 18 on offer during an unbeaten start to the season, but looked set for their first defeat of the campaign when they fell two goals down courtesy of strikes from Stephen Ireland and Javier Garrido.

Cue Fernando Torres at the peak of his powers to wipe out that lead with a second-half brace before Dirk Kuyt notched a 90th-minute winner to secure all three points.

Liverpool went on to lose just one of their opening 27 league games and only twice all season, yet they still missed out on the title to Manchester United.

9. Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle United (Premier League | April 3, 1996)

The greatest Premier League match of all time? Even 28 years after it took place, you will still find this iconic contest near the top of any list detailing the competition's most memorable games.

As a game, few can match it, but as a comeback there are better, hence why it only comes ninth in the list. Liverpool actually took the lead in this match, with Robbie Fowler netting after only two minutes, but by the quarter-hour mark they trailed to goals from Les Ferdinand and David Ginola.

Fowler then doubled his personal tally before Faustino Asprilla restored Newcastle's lead just three minutes later, but three minutes after that Stan Collymore levelled things up once again.

Collymore would have the last laugh too, firing home a dramatic winner in stoppage time to send Newcastle boss - and Liverpool legend - Kevin Keegan slumping over an advertising hoarding as Anfield went wild.

The only downside for Liverpool was that it edged the Premier League title further in the direction of Manchester United as the Magpies blew a 12-point lead that season.

8. Liverpool 3-1 Saint-Etienne (European Cup | March 16, 1977)

A match of huge significance in Liverpool's history - Bob Paisley's side looked destined for elimination in the third round of the European Cup when Saint-Etienne scored a crucial away goal in the second leg at Anfield, cancelling out Kevin Keegan's freak early opener on the night and making it 2-1 on aggregate.

The hosts needed two goals to progress against a Saint-Etienne side that had only conceded once in their previous nine European outings and was considered one of the best teams on the continent at that stage.

Ray Kennedy got them on their way with a 59th-minute goal before super-sub David Fairclough sealed Liverpool's progress with only six minutes of normal time remaining.

The noise in the stadium that night has gone down in history and arguably contributed more than any other game to the legendary reputation of European nights at Anfield.

The Reds went on to lift the first of their six European Cups that year and have not looked back since.

7. Arsenal 1-2 Liverpool (FA Cup final | May 12, 2001)

The first ever FA Cup final held outside England proved to be one of its most memorable ones too as Michael Owen almost single-handedly fired Liverpool to glory at the Millenium Stadium.

Liverpool were second best for much of the contest against an Arsenal side that would go on to win the double the following season, and it looked as though the Gunners would lift the trophy when Freddie Ljungberg gave them the lead after 74 minutes.

Cue the boy wonder Owen to enhance his burgeoning reputation with two goals in the final seven minutes, the first an instinctive poacher's effort and the second showcasing his pace and deadly finishing ability.

The trophy was part of a treble for Liverpool that season as they also lifted the League Cup and the UEFA Cup, while Owen picked up the prestigious Ballon d'Or thanks largely to his heroics in Cardiff.

6. Liverpool 3-2 Club Brugge (UEFA Cup final | April 28, 1976)

Before Saint-Etienne, there was Club Brugge as the standard-bearer for European nights at Anfield.

The UEFA Cup final was played over two legs in 1976, and Liverpool got off to a nightmare start in the first at Anfield as Club Brugge scored twice in the opening 15 minutes - a big enough mountain to climb without the added disadvantage of them being away goals.

However, in a template of what was to follow in future European comebacks Liverpool came roaring back in the second half, scoring three times in the space of six minutes to turn the tie around.

Ray Kennedy scored a stunner to begin the recovery and created a second for Jimmy Case, before Keegan netted from the penalty spot to complete the turnaround. Keegan scored again in a 1-1 second-leg draw in Belgium to ensure that the trophy came back to Merseyside.

5. Liverpool 3-1 Olympiacos (Champions League | December 8, 2004)

We are already well into some of the greatest moments in Liverpool's history, and this will not be the last you see of a certain Steven Gerrard on this list.

Liverpool went into their final group game of the 2004-05 Champions League needing to beat visiting Olympiacos by two clear goals to reach the knockout rounds, and that task was made even harder by Rivaldo's 26th-minute free kick.

Some less familiar saviours played a crucial role for Liverpool on that night, with Florent Sinama-Pongolle pulling one back shortly after half time and Neil Mellor putting Liverpool ahead in the match with nine minutes of normal time remaining.

Both goals were merely appetisers for the main course, though, with Mellor teeing up Gerrard to thump a half-volley for the ages past the keeper.

It was a goal Anfield will never forget, and one which became of even greater significance considering what happened in Istanbul in the final of that year's competition.

4. Liverpool 3-3 West Ham - Liverpool win 3-1 on penalties (FA Cup final | May 13, 2006)

Of all Gerrard's Liverpool heroics - and there are a lot - this is perhaps the match in which he had the biggest individual impact.

The 2006 FA Cup was not the most prestigious trophy he won with the Reds, but it is arguably the one match which best sums up his Liverpool career, ahead of even the 2005 Champions League final.

Five years on from Owen's winner against Arsenal, Liverpool returned to the Millenium Stadium again and played out another classic FA Cup final, this time against underdogs West Ham.

The Hammers took a two-goal lead through a Jamie Carragher own goal and Dean Ashton strike, but Gerrard set up Djibril Cisse to halve the deficit before the Liverpool skipper got his own name on the scoresheet to level things up 10 minutes into the second half.

A freak Paul Konchesky goal saw West Ham restore their advantage 10 minutes later and that looked as though it would be enough to hand the club their first FA Cup title since 1980.

That was until the ball bounced out to a cramp-ridden Gerrard, who lashed an incredible first-time 35-yard strike into the bottom corner to force extra time and penalties, which Liverpool won courtesy of three saves from Pepe Reina.

The match has now gone down in folklore as 'the Gerrard final' and ranks among the best in the competition's long and illustrious history.

3. Liverpool 4-3 Borussia Dortmund (Europa League | April 14, 2016)

Quite possibly the greatest match in Europa League history, and one which would be good enough to top the list for most clubs in the world.

A 1-1 draw in the first leg in Germany set the scene as Jurgen Klopp welcomed his former club Borussia Dortmund to Anfield, although it soon looked like being an unhappy reunion when away goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inside the first 10 minutes suddenly left the Reds needing three goals.

Divock Origi - a name you will hear again soon in this countdown - pulled the first of those back shortly after half time, but Marco Reus then restored Dortmund's two-goal lead and appeared to seal their place in the semi-finals of the competition.

Liverpool needed three goals in the final half an hour, and not for the first time the Kop seemed to suck the ball into the back of the net. Philippe Coutinho got the first in the 66th minute, Mamadou Sakho pulled another one back 11 minutes later and then Dejan Lovren completed the job in the 91st minute.

Liverpool went on to reach the final in Klopp's first season at the helm, but defeat to Sevilla ensured that he had to wait another three years for his first trophy as manager.

2. Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (Champions League | May 7, 2019)

There have been countless memorable moments at Anfield which have contributed to the stadium's mystique, but this match tops the lot.

Liverpool had been well beaten 3-0 by Barcelona at Camp Nou six days earlier, with Lionel Messi weaving his magic with a brace including a stunning long-range free kick which brought up his 600-goal milestone for the Spanish giants.

Only a minor miracle would see the Reds qualify for a second successive Champions League final, and their task was made even more difficult by the fact that star forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were absent.

If anyone could pull it off, though, it was likely to be Liverpool and Origi got Klopp's side off to a perfect start with a goal inside seven minutes, although they still needed three more goals going into the second half.

Klopp's decision to bring on Georginio Wijnaldum in place of Andrew Robertson at the interval proved to be a masterstroke; the Dutchman scored nine minutes after his introduction and then again two minutes later to level things up on aggregate and leave Liverpool needing only one more goal to pull off one of the greatest European comebacks ever.

Cue the iconic moment of the contest as a 20-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold took a quick corner which Origi swept home in the 79th minute, sending Anfield into raptures and crowning the most memorable night in the famous stadium's history.

Football's greatest ever player Lionel Messi was left shell-shocked, while even Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, who knew all about Anfield, could not quite believe what had just taken place.

1. Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (Champions League final | May 25, 2005)

From the greatest Champions League semi-final comeback of all time to the greatest Champions League final of all time, number one on this list simply could not have gone to any other match.

The 'Miracle of Istanbul' is arguably the best and most dramatic Champions League final ever and tops the list when it comes to the many incredible nights Liverpool have enjoyed throughout their entire history too as they brought home their fifth European crown in the most remarkable fashion.

Rafael Benitez's side, who only finished fifth in the Premier League that season, had already upset the odds to make it to the Ataturk Stadium, beating heavy favourites Juventus and Chelsea in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

A showdown with a star-studded AC Milan side boasting a plethora of football's all-time greats was the reward as the likes of Cafu, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Jaap Stam, Kaka, Clarence Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo, Hernan Crespo and Andriy Shevchenko took on a Liverpool team with nowhere near that quality.

The gap threatened to be exposed in brutally humiliating fashion throughout the first half; Maldini scored within the very first minute before Liverpool's defence was sliced open as Crespo added two more, having also seen an effort cleared off the line.

It looked as though Liverpool's best bet would be damage limitation at the halfway stage, but the fans were still in full voice and their hair-raising rendition of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' in the face of potential embarrassment filtered into the dressing room and inspired the players.

Gerrard was the embodiment of that and pulled the first back in the 54th minute, Vladimir Smicer made it 3-2 two minutes later and then three minutes after that Xabi Alonso completed the comeback by scoring the rebound from his saved penalty.

The five-minute blitz shook AC Milan to their core, but there was still work to do for Liverpool and without some heroic defending from Jamie Carragher and a logic-defying double-save from Jerzy Dudek to thwart Shevchenko from point-blank range, the Reds would have never made it to penalties.

Dudek provided more memories in the shootout itself, channeling his inner Bruce Grobbelaar with the 'spaghetti legs' from the 1984 European Cup final as Milan missed three of their five penalties - Shevchenko again the man denied by Dudek for the decisive spot kick.

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