Anfield nights Liverpool won't want to repeat against Napoli

Anfield nights Liverpool won't want to repeat against Napoli

The stage is set for another famous Anfield night on Tuesday, with Liverpool’s Champions League knockout round qualification on the line as they play host to Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli.

After some terrible away performances, losing three out of three on the road, Jurgen Klopp’s men are in quite a precarious position heading into the group’s final fixtures.

With PSG likely to secure qualification by defeating Red Star Belgrade, Liverpool must get their noses ahead of Napoli in the group table with either a 1-0 victory or a win by at least two clear goals.

Against such quality opposition, it won’t be easy, but the Reds have masses of history when it comes to rallying themselves to deliver at home on a European night.

The win over Olympiakos, defeating Chelsea in 2005, last season’s gazumping of Manchester City and more, there’s a plethora of goals, moments and wins to choose from when wanting to raise a fond smile of days gone by.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always to the way fans want. Let’s have a look back to a few examples where it didn’t.

Liverpool (0) 0-2 (3) Benfica, 8 March 2006

Less than 12 months on from completing one of the biggest upsets in European Cup history to wrestle old big ears away from AC Milan in Istanbul, the Reds were unceremoniously dumped out in the last 16 by Benfica.

Having got through a group containing Real Betis, Anderlecht and Chelsea, Rafa Benitez’s men found themselves paired with Benfica, a challenge that many thought would be navigated fairly easily.

However, after losing 1-0 in Portugal to a 84th minute Luisao goal, a tougher task than expected faced Liverpool come the return leg on Merseyside.

With Peter Crouch and Fernando Morientes utilised in a two-man strikeforce, first-half chances aplenty came and went before Simao unleashed a rocket to beat Pepe Reina after 36 minutes.

The aerial dominance of Liverpool’s frontmen continued to help the hosts create chances, but the visitors held on determinedly and found themselves two goals to the good in added time when Fabrizio Miccoli romped home an overhead kick.

Liverpool 1-3 Chelsea, 8 April 2009

With the wounds still fresh from Chelsea finally getting one over the Reds in Europe by virtue of a Champions League semi-final win the previous season, Anfield expected a Liverpool side challenging for the title to swing the bragging rights back in their favour as the two met in the 2008/09 quarter-finals.

Heavily considered to be European specialists at this point in Benitez’s reign, a Liverpool side containing the likes of Steven Gerrard, Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher, Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres were well liked to overcome Guus Hiddink’s Blues.

It looked like it’d go that way as Fernando Torres struck after just six minutes, side-footing past Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal.

However, that merely invigorated Chelsea, who put together a magical attacking display to come away from Anfield as 3-1 victors thanks to a Branislav Ivanovic brace combined with Didier Drogba’s second-half goal.

It looked like mission impossible for the Reds to come back in the second leg and it proved so, drawing 4-4 in an exhilarating affair that saw Liverpool go 2-0 up early on. Unfortunately, the damage had been done at Anfield.

Liverpool 1-1 Basel, 9 December 2014

The freshest of the recent Anfield European wounds, Liverpool’s much-hyped return to the Champions League under Brendan Rodgers went down like a lead balloon as they crashed out of the competition in the group stage.

Despite being out-classed by Real Madrid twice, drawing away to Ludogorets and being defeated in Switzerland, other results left Rodgers’ men left with the task of beating Basel in the return fixture to quality. Simple enough, you’d have assumed.

Wrong.

A Liverpool team lacking in defensive cohesion and attacking flair were 1-0 down after just 25 minutes. Rodgers was hugely criticised for leaving the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic on the bench, Raheem Sterling the only player in the side containing any sort of pace.

Markovic did, of course, come off the bench and look bright, only to be ridiculously sent off for an outstretched hand hitting Behrang Safari.

Steven Gerrard’s 81st-minute free-kick got the home side level and set up a grandstand finish, only for Basel to keep their nerve and keep Liverpool out – Jordan Henderson’s curling effort dropping just wide of the post in injury time.