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Champions League

Liverpool’s best Champions League moments

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Liverpool are one of the true heavyweights of European football, and they’ve proved that with consistently brilliant performances in the continent’s elite competition.

The Reds were kings of Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, winning the European Cup on a whopping four occasions and, since the tournament has been renamed the UEFA Champions League, they’ve followed up that success with two triumphs in 2004/05 and 2018/19.

To celebrate their incredible history in the competition, we’ve decided to rank Liverpool’s best moments in the UEFA Champions League since its rebrand in the early 90s.

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A UEFA Champions League semi-final against Premier League rivals Chelsea at Anfield?

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Chelsea and Liverpool have had many battles down the years, but the 2005 semi-final clash was probably their most memorable and possibly their most controversial too.

The game would be decided by a sole Luis Garcia ‘ghost goal’ – aptly named
as such because William Gallas cleared the ball just before it crossed the line.

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With no goal line technology to rely on the goal was given and Anfield erupted.

From one magic night at Anfield, to another.

Heading into their final group stage game of their 2004/05 Champions League campaign Liverpool were in need of a minor miracle to qualify for the knockout rounds – and they got it.

After going behind in the first half, the Reds needed three goals to edge into the round of 16 at Olympiakos expense. The first two would come from Florent Sinama Pongolle and Neil Mellor, before captain fantastic Steven Gerrard latched onto a knock down header to slam home one of the best goals ever seen at Anfield.

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Cue Andy Gray screaming ‘WHAT A HIT SON! WHAT A HIT!’ and cue one of the most remarkable Champions League runs in the competition’s storied history.

Anfield has been the venue for an astonishing number of memorable Champions League moments, but this is perhaps the pick of the bunch.

Up against the greatest footballer of all time (Lionel Messi) and three goals down after a thumping defeat at Camp Nou a week prior, it’s fair to say that Liverpool’s chances of reaching the 2018/19 final were slim at best.

And yet, they pulled it off.

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An early goal from Divock Origi was followed up by a second half brace from Gini Wijnaldum, before Origi popped up again from a quickly-taken corner to seal a 4-0 win and the Reds’ place in yet another Champions League final.

Liverpool would face off against surprise finalists Tottenham Hotspur at the Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid after knocking out Barca in the semi-finals.

Any early nerves were calmed in the opening two minutes when Mohamed Salah converted a penalty, and then in the second half the club’s sixth European triumph was sealed by Origi.

Of course Istanbul is number one.

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It’s the quintessential UEFA Champions League game.

It’s the most famous win in Liverpool’s long trophy-laden history.

Down 3-0 at half-time to a quite astonishingly good AC Milan team – which included Andrea Pirlo, Kaka and Paolo Maldini to name a few – the Reds looked set to go back to Anfield empty handed.

In the second half, however, Liverpool were able to miraculously turn the game on its head. Three goals in six minutes from Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso shellshocked Milan and made it 3-3, before penalty heroics from Jerzy Dudek sealed the win for Liverpool.

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Follow the Reds wherever they may go with Expedia® Live and book your travel to the game. Nothing beats being there.



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Champions League

Kylian Mbappe ruled out of Bayern Munich first leg through injury

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Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed that Kylian Mbappe is expected to miss three weeks with the thigh injury he picked up against Montpellier on Wednesday.

The superstar forward had a day to forget as he missed a penalty, then failed to convert a re-take, before limping off the pitch after just 21 minutes.

After the game, manager Christophe Galtier suggested he did not believe Mbappe’s injury was ‘anything to worry about’, but the club have now confirmed just how long they expect to be without the forward.

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“After examinations, Kylian Mbappé suffers from a lesion of the left thigh at the level of the femoral biceps,” a statement read. “His duration of unavailability is estimated at three weeks.”

For PSG, it means they will have to cope without Mbappe for a number of high-profile games, including the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 clash with Bayern Munich on February 14 at the Parc des Princes.

Ligue 1 games against Toulouse, Monaco and Lille will also come too soon for Mbappe, who may be eyeing Le Classique against Marseille on February 26 for his return.

Before then, however, Mbappe will also miss a Coupe de France meeting with fierce rivals Marseille on February 8.

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Elsewhere, Neymar also missed the Montpellier game with muscle fatigue, but Galtier will expect to have the Brazilian available for the big games coming up in the coming weeks.



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Will Kylian Mbappe be fit to face Bayern Munich after injury scare?

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There are three players at Paris Saint-Germain that the fans never want to see get injured.

They are of course, Neymar Jr, Lionel Messi, and Kylian Mbappe. One of the latter two is probably at the top of the list, depending on who you ask.

Unfortunately for PSG, it is Mbappe that has picked up an injury at a crucial juncture in the season, after limping out of the 3-1 win over Montpellier in Ligue 1.

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It has led to a mild panic among PSG’s supporters over his chances of facing Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16 – so will Mbappe be fit?

The good news is that PSG coach Christophe Galtier has played down the severity of the injury, which means it is not going to be months out for Mbappe. That being said, they have got a very busy few weeks coming up.

“Kylian took a blow behind the knee and on the muscle,” Galtier explained. “Is it a contusion or a hematoma? We do not know yet. Regardless, it does not seem very serious. With the sequences of matches, we preferred not to take any risks. There’s not too much to worry about.”

As is to be expected, PSG are top of Ligue 1, but their lead over Marseille is only five points after 21 games. They are also facing Marseille in the Coupe de France, and also have a trip to Monaco in the league ahead of the first Champions League round of 16 leg against Bayern Munich.

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Even if Mbappe was to be fit enough to return against Bayern, he would still miss the following fixtures:

That question can’t be answered definitively at this stage, but Mbappe has 13 days to recover from the injury before taking on Bayern on Valentine’s Day (February 14).

If the injury proves to be more serious than expected, with Mbappe ruled out, PSG follow the first leg against Bayern with Ligue 1 matches against Lille, Marseille and Nantes.

As you would expect, Mbappe has been prolific this season. Amongst all the transfer talk and rumours of fallouts with the club, it can be easy to forget just how many goals he scores.

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He has netted 13 times in Ligue 1 this season, along with two assists. His Champions League form was great too, scoring seven times in the group stages and getting three assists too. In between all of that, he scored five times at the 2022 World Cup, netting a hat-trick in a final that ended in defeat against Argentina.



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Why Man City fans boo the Champions League anthem

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Manchester City have been regulars in the Champions League for many years now following their 2008 takeover and they even reached the final in 2021, which was lost to Chelsea.

Despite this, they have an odd relationship with the tournament.

They have never won it, despite it so blatantly being the missing jewel in their crown. As well as that, their fans always boo the UEFA Champions League anthem when it is played before their matches.

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They are not the only club in Europe too have done this, but they are the most prolific with it.

The booing stems back to the 2011/12 season. City were playing against Porto and Mario Balotelli was racially abused by the fans. Porto were fined €20,000. A month later though, City were playing against Sporting CP and were fined €30,000 for being 30 seconds late onto the pitch.

The relationship soured further when City were set to play CSKA Moscow away from home, but the Russian club were ordered to play behind closed doors following racial abuse by fans. That means City fans could not go either even though thousands had flights, tickets and accommodation already paid for. Some CSKA fans were also then allowed into the stadium.

The next incident was in 2017 when City were set to play Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine. The game was ordered to be played behind closed doors so City fans did not make arrangements, and then just weeks before the fixture, the decision was reversed, at which point it was too late for fans to go.

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Alongside all of this was the fact that City have been regularly investigated and once found guilty of breaking UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. They were fined £49m in 2014 and made to name a smaller Champions League squad than usual as punishment.

They were found guilty of another breach in 2020 and were banned from the tournament for two years, which was then overturned on appeal.

Overall, many City fans feel they have been targeted by UEFA for their newfound wealth which comes from outside of Europe.

City had just one campaign in the old European Cup back in 1968/69, in which they were knocked out in the first round. That was it until the investment from Abu Dhabi arrived and they qualified for the Champions League in 2011. Despite going on to win the Premier League title in 2011/12, they were knocked out in the group stage that year and also the following year.

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They have made the group stage every single season since. In 2013/14 and 2014/15, it ended at the Round of 16, whilst 2015/16 was a run to the semi-finals. The next four seasons did not go beyond the quarter-final stage before reaching the final for the first time in 2020/21.

That felt like a major opportunity for City to finally realise their European dream, despite UEFA’s perceived adversity towards them. But Kai Havertz’s goal was enough to secure the win for Chelsea

Last season, they were knocked out in the semi-finals by Real Madrid after chucking away a commanding lead in dramatic late fashion.



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