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From Gladbach to Dortmund & United – 6 Liverpool memories in the UEFA Cup

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Liverpool are back in the second tier of European football for the first time in eight years in a competition that holds plenty of fond memories from the club’s history.

The Reds have lifted the UEFA Cup (now known as the Europa League) on three occasions and got their first taste of continental success when they picked up that trophy in 1973.

Since then, Liverpool have gone on to become European royalty and have been crowned champions of Europe on six occasions, the most recent of which coming in 2019.

A disappointing 2022/23 campaign means Jurgen Klopp‘s side won’t get the opportunity to make it seven this season, but the manager does have a chance to add a new trophy to his CV.

Here, we’re taking a look back in time at some of the most memorable moments Liverpool have had in the UEFA Cup.

 

Treble winners in Dortmund

Steven Gerrard , Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler celebrate winning the 2001 UEFA Cup (Action Images/Darren Walsh Digital)

Liverpool’s dramatic UEFA Cup final win over Alaves capped one of the most prolific seasons in the club’s history.

The 2001 showpiece had it all. Nine goals and two red cards across 117 pulsating minutes that ended with the winning ‘golden goal’ scored by an opposition defender.

Robbie Fowler looked to have scored the winner until a late Jordi Cruyff header took the game beyond the 90 minutes with the score at 4-4.

Delfi Geli’s headed own goal became the first and last European final to ever be decided by a ‘golden goal’ and it sent Liverpool home with the final trophy of a historic treble season.

 

Gerrard’s Napoli hat trick

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, November 4, 2010: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard MBE celebrates with team-mates David Ngog and Jonjo Shelvey after scoring an equalising goal against SSC Napoli during the UEFA Europa League Group K Matchday 4 match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As far as impact substitutions go, this was a pretty good one.

The skipper didn’t start the 2010 group-stage clash with Napoli but with his side having fallen behind early on, Roy Hodgson called upon his talisman at the interval.

Steven Gerrard levelled the scoring with just a quarter of an hour left to play before a late spot-kick and delightful subsequent chip saw him take home the match ball and all three points.

It was one of just many occasions in which Gerrard rescued the side throughout his Liverpool career and a perfect illustration of why he is one of the greats.

 

Anfield fightback against Auxerre

Liverpool's Mike Marsh scores the second goal

Liverpool are famous for making the unlikely happen when it comes to European nights at Anfield and the 3-0 victory over Auxerre in 1991 was no exception.

The Reds headed into the return leg of their UEFA Cup second round tie 2-0 down to the French outfit, but an inspired second-half fightback from Graeme Souness’ side secured progression into the next round.

Jan Molby converted from the penalty spot to halve the deficit within five minutes before Mike Marsh struck his first Liverpool goal to equalise inside half an hour.

The late breakthrough came courtesy of Mark Walters as he finished off a well-worked move to send the hosts into the next round.

 

Lovren seals miraculous turnaround

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, April 14, 2016: Liverpool's Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring the dramatic fourth goal against Borussia Dortmund in injury time to seal a 4-3 (5-4 aggregate) victory during the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On the subject of famous European comebacks, there aren’t many more memorable than the 4-3 victory over Klopp’s former team Borussia Dortmund en route to the 2016 Europa League final.

The Reds found themselves up against an excellent Bundesliga side in the infancy of the Klopp era and Marco Reus’ strike shortly before the hour left Liverpool requiring three unanswered goals.

Philippe Coutinho began that process with a tidy finish before the magic of The Kop took over, with Mamadou Sakho setting Liverpool on their way to an inevitable winner 10 minutes later.

Dejan Lovren headed home a James Milner cross in injury time and bedlam ensued at Anfield, with the Reds heading to the semi-final in the most unlikely of circumstances.

 

The first European triumph

Tommy Smith with UEFA Cup trophy, 1973 (via www.imago-images.de/Imago/PA Images)

Liverpool have a storied past as far as European competitions go, but that continental pedigree truly began in 1973.

Back then, the UEFA Cup final was played over two legs and the Reds raced to a 3-0 advantage over Borussia Monchengladbach in the first of those at Anfield courtesy of a brace and assist from Kevin Keegan.

Bill Shankly‘s side were forced to hold on somewhat in the second leg in Germany when Jupp Heynckes produced two first-half goals to test Liverpool’s resolve.

“Now for the big one” was Shankly’s request upon picking up the club’s first piece of European silverware and fans weren’t made to wait long for that to become a reality.

 

The only European meeting with Man United

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 16, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the first goal against Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool met their bitter rivals from down the M62 in Europe for the first time back in 2016 in what promised to be an enthralling two-leg contest.

The Reds took a 2-0 lead to Old Trafford but saw their advantage halved by an Anthony Martial penalty during the first period.

A piece of magic from Coutinho on the stroke of half-time led to pandemonium in the away section and back on Merseyside as Klopp’s side all but booked their place in the last eight with a crucial away goal.

The second half became something of a non-event, exactly what Liverpool needed it to be, as the side’s European campaign began to catch fire.