Sport Soccer

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Revealed: The eerie similarities between now and Liverpool's 2005's triumph in Istanbul

Mark Critchley

Published 18/05/2016 | 15:38

Can Jurgen Klopp emulate Rafa Benitez in 2005?
Can Jurgen Klopp emulate Rafa Benitez in 2005?

Superstitious Liverpool supporters may have been wondering whether they put on the right pair of socks, got out of the correct side of bed and whether they saw one magpie or two and this morning, with just hours until Jürgen Klopp’s side take on Sevilla in this year’s Europa League final.

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It can turn your stomach, this biding of time before kick-off, just as it did to a Liverpool-supporting substitute teacher of mine 11 years ago who, on the morning of the 2005 Champions League final, threw up in a tutor room bin.

However, thinking back to that night in Istanbul and the season that preceded it could offer even some of the Kop’s queasiest of stomachs comfort. As alluded to by Steven Gerrard, there are a number of uncanny similarities between Liverpool’s current campaign and that memorable season.

In 2005, a newly-appointed manager, Rafael Benitez, made up for his side’s indifferent league form with progression in cup competitions – initially, by reaching the League Cup final in February.

Liverpool finished with runners-up medals in that competition, just as they did after their penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester City at Wembley this year.

Snap back to 2005, Liverpool recovered from that disappointment to reach a European final and that, for now, is where the similarity ends. We all know how the rest of the story goes.

And, if Klopp’s men beat Sevilla to win the club’s fourth Europa League title, the parallels may not end there.

Eleven years ago, despite failing to earn a place in the Premier League’s top-four, Liverpool qualified for the following season’s Champions League through the back door. Since the Europa League holders are now granted an automatic group stage place in the premier competition, that could well happen again this time around.

It may all sound farfetched but – and this is where it gets a bit ‘meta’ - another set of eerie coincidences were passed around between Liverpool supporters before Istanbul, which convinced some that their name was always on the trophy, even when 3-0 down at half-time.

After all, in 1981, Prince Charles got married; Ken and Dierdre were also married; there was a new Doctor Who; Liverpool finished 5th in the league, with 17 wins; Crystal Palace and Norwich were relegated and Liverpool won the European Cup.

And then, in 2005, Prince Charles got married; Ken and Dierdre were also married; there was a new Doctor Who; Liverpool finished 5th in the league, with 17 wins; Crystal Palace and Norwich were relegated and Liverpool, eventually, won the European Cup.

(© Independent News Service)

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