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UEFA Europa League

Revisiting Liverpool’s UEFA Europa League triumph in 2000-01 season

Published at :April 13, 2024 at 5:19 PM
Modified at :April 13, 2024 at 5:19 PM
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(Courtesy : Liverpool)

Syed Talib Haider


The Reds have lifted 3 UEFA Cups (now UEL) in their history

Almost a couple of decades ago from now, Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool went on an amazing run to lift the UEFA Cup (now Europa League). The 2000-01 UEFA Cup run, as it was known then, was a rollercoaster ride of resilience, dramatic encounters, and a touch of Anfield magic. Let’s revisit this iconic season, where Liverpool emerged victorious after a nail-biting final that went down in UEFA Cup history.

The most decorated English club almost went on an unbeaten run, if not for a single defeat, en route to their final victory over Alaves. They did not put their foot down throughout the campaign.

First round

The Reds started their campaign against Romanian side Rapid Bucuresti. A 1-0 victory in Romania, followed by a goalless stalemate at Anfield in the 2nd leg ensured Liverpool moved on to the next round.

Second round

The second round saw Liverpool face a challenge from the Czech Republic – FC Slovan Liberec. The Reds won the 1st leg at Anfield with a short 1-0 scoreline. However, in the 2nd leg, the Czech club did not make it easy for their opponents from the Merseyside. The match ended 3-2 in favour of Liverpool but it was nervy.

Third round

The challenge intensified in the third round as Liverpool faced another established European name – Greek giants Olympiacos. A thrilling 2-2 draw between the two sides in Greece in the 1st leg had both clubs’ fans at the edge of their seats. But the Reds wrapped their qualification for the next round in style at home. Liverpool comfortably won 2-0 on the day in front of the Kop, breaking thousands of travelling fans’ hearts.

Fourth round

Only Roma handed a defeat to Liverpool throughout that campaign but even that was not enough to stop the Reds marching on to the final of the UEFA Cup. The 2-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico, in the 1st leg, helped Liverpool win the tie as they succumbed to a nervy 1-0 loss in the reverse leg. They qualified for the last eight on an aggregate score of 2-1.

Quarter-final

Liverpool’s quarter-final clash against FC Porto was a more controlled affair compared to their other battles. A scoreless draw away in Portugal left the tie open, but Liverpool took charge at Anfield. Goals from Danny Murphy and Michael Owen in the first half secured a comfortable 2-0 victory and a convincing 2-0 aggregate win, propelling them towards the semi-finals and their eventual UEFA Cup triumph.

Semi-final

Liverpool locked horns against Louis van Gaal’s Barcelona in the semi-final. The initial encounter at Camp Nou ended in a 0-0 draw. The game was more Liverpool showing their defensive prowess.

However, returning to their fortress at Anfield for the second leg, the Reds seized the opportunity. With a nerve-wracking penalty converted by Gary McAllister, Liverpool secured a slender 1-0 triumph, earning a hard-earned advancement to the final of a tiresome European Cup competition.

Final

The final against Deportivo Alaves was held at Westfalenstadion in Dortmund. And it was a nail-biter! After a high-scoring 4-4 draw in regulation time, the golden goal rule came into effect in extra time. In a dramatic twist, Delfi Geli of Alaves unfortunately deflected the ball into his own net, handing Liverpool a historic and unlikely 5-4 victory.

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