British club Liverpool beat Italy’s AC Milan in a penalty shoot-out in Istanbul to win the 2004/05 Champions League after one of the most dramatic finals ever seen. It was Liverpool’s fifth victory in Europe’s premier football competition.
Led by Spanish coach Rafael Benitez, Liverpool’s advance to the final was a major surprise as they overturned the established order of Europe's footballing elite, beating Juventus and Chelsea in the previous two rounds.
The achievement was even more remarkable for Liverpool after an indifferent season domestically in which they only finished in fifth position in the English Premier League.
Liverpool fought back from three goals down at half time in Istanbul to level the match at 3-3. It was an amazing turnaround, with Liverpool looking outclassed in the first half, but showing immense character in the second. When it came to the deciding penalty shoot-out, the emotional tide of the match was with Liverpool and they won 3-2.
The victory was a stunning triumph for Benitez, who only became Liverpool coach at the start of the 2004/05 season. He was previously coach of Valencia whom he led to the Spanish title in 2001/02 and 2003/04, a season in which the club also won the Uefa Cup.
In just three years at the club, the 45-year-old was Valencia's most successful manager in their 85-year history.