Was Liverpool’s miracle in Istanbul the greatest UCL final ever?

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Liverpool is genuine royalty on the European stage. With six European cups to the club’s name, there have been many famous nights in the history of the Reds. This year, however, Jurgen Klopp’s side were knocked out in the round of sixteen by Real Madrid. The defeat ended their hopes of returning to Istanbul – the scene of Liverpool’s fifth UEFA Champions League triumph 18 years earlier. Liverpool will not have the chance to create another unforgettable night in the Turkish city. But was the 2005 victory the most extraordinary UCL final ever?

Istanbul could produce another magical night

Istanbul produced a miracle when Liverpool came back from three goals down to topple a great AC Milan side in 2005. It was a remarkable occasion that is unlikely ever to be topped.

This year Manchester City have the chance to win their first-ever European title in the same venue where Liverpool performed their miracle. In Champions League winner odds, City are offered at 2/9 to defeat Inter Milan in the final. Pep Guardiola’s side are expected to complete the job without added drama. In Manchester City vs Inter betting they are offered at 2/5 to win the tie in the standard 90 minutes.

The Ataturk Stadium is set to host another magical night, but it will surely not better the Reds’ crowning moment. Liverpool produced arguably the greatest comeback of all time, on the grandest stage in club football. Few finals can rival that fateful night, both in terms of entertainment and sporting achievement.

There have been other UCL finals in the past that have featured an abundance of drama, a high level of quality on the pitch and fascinating switches in the game state throughout. What are the great European Cup finals that rival the miracle of Istanbul?

Manchester United vs Bayern Munich (1999)

When comparing the great finals to Liverpool’s remarkable feat, Manchester United’s 1999 triumph comes to mind. Liverpool’s bitter rivals also produced a thrilling comeback in the final of the UCL. However, their achievement was perhaps less impressive due to the quality of their squad.

United were aiming to complete a treble victory – the circumstances were much different from an underdog Liverpool side toppling one of the greatest club teams ever – and were perhaps even expected to achieve victory against Bayern Munich.

United fell behind but scored two goals in added time of the second half, to swing the outcome of the contest. Liverpool’s North West rivals certainly made headlines and created a night that will never be forgotten. However, the circumstances are not at all comparable to the 2005 final. United’s night is remembered as a strong achievement, but not quite a miracle like Liverpool’s Istanbul success.

There have been no other dramatic comeback victories in the final of the UCL that can be compared to Liverpool’s remarkable night in 2005. United’s result was impressive but they had many advantages that the Liverpool team did not. Rafael Benitez’s side did not have a stunning bench to turn to, or world-class stars all over the pitch.

The footballing gods seemed to be with Liverpool on that night. The triumph was somewhat of a fairytale, logically that level of fightback should never have happened, and that is why it is known as a footballing miracle. It is certainly the greatest UCL final ever and one of the most magnificent games in the history of the sport.

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