This week’s fixture sees AC Milan visit Anfield for the first time ever in a competitive setting, with the two drawn together in the UEFA Champions League Group B.
Despite this, the two sides’ fortunes have intertwined in significant and historic football moments.
The two outfits have only met twice, despite sharing 13 European Cups between them – both in finals of the same competition.
Most recently, Milan triumphed in Athens in the 2007 edition. Pippo Inzaghi scored twice for La Rossoneri as Dirk Kuyt’s consolation proved insignificant.
However, the most famous of their two encounters came at Istanbul in 2005. Milan’s star-studded outfit raced into a three-goal lead before half-time, leaving Liverpool desolate of energy and confidence.
Paulo Maldini’s first minute strike and Hernan Crespo’s double stunned Rafael Benitez and his coaching team, prompting him to substitute Harry Kewell and Steve Finnan for Vladimir Smicer and Dietmar Hamann.
Talisman Steven Gerrard’s powerful header brought Liverpool back into it, citing Clive Tyldesley’s famous, ‘oh, hello, here we go!’ commentary.
Smicer fired a driven shot past Dida to bring Liverpool one closer just two minutes later, before Steven Gerrard was fouled cheaply in the area by Gennaro Gattuso.
Xabi Alonso stepped up, missed, but converted the rebound to ensure the miracle comeback was completed.
Liverpool endured a siege-like onslaught from Milan but were eventual winners on spot-kicks after heroics from Jerzy Dudek.
And starting with the Pole, here are the eleven and subs that played for Liverpool that night, and where they are now.
Jerzy Dudek signed for Liverpool in 2001, alongside Chris Kirkland in a bizarre double goalkeeper signing under Gerard Houllier.
He will go down in history, being the keeper to deny Andriy Shevchenko, but, as many would have expected, his career peaked in that very moment.
He was replaced by Pepe Reina immediately, and sold to Real Madrid in 2007, where he would retire.
Upon finishing his footballing career, he began rally driving, competing in the 2014 Volkswagen Cup, and now works as a UEFA ambassador.
The Northern-Irish right-back is regarded as one of the most underrated players to pull on a Reds shirt this century.
Always dependable, he arrived in Merseyside in 2003 from Fulham, having played in every division in English football.
He was an early casualty and makeweight for Rafa Benitez in Turkey, leaving the field after half-time in place of Didi Hamann – yet to no fault of his own.
After leaving Liverpool in 2008 after the Reds signed Philip Degen, his career finished in poor fashion at Espanyol and Portsmouth.
He quickly settled into a non-footballing life, working in property. However, it was released in 2020 that his business had entered liquidation, and he was forced to sell some Istanbul and general football memorabilia.
Ah, the Rolls-Royce. Sami Hyypia was simply a bargain signing in 1999, costing just £2.6 million from Dutch side Willem II.
Immediately settling as a leader under Gerard Houllier, he was named captain before bequeathing to Steven Gerrard. As was his character, he did so unceremoniously and with honour.
He was a key figure in the build-up to Istanbul, scoring against Juventus in the Quarter-Final and defending resolutely against Chelsea in the next round.
Hyypia had four more years at Anfield before leaving for Bayer Leverkusen, where he would become manager.
He was sacked and appointed by Brighton, with whom he left in 20th position in the Championship. Another dismal spell with FC Zurich has seen Hyypia out of the management game since 2015.
He was last known to be assistant manager at FC Haka in his native Finland but left after three months in 2020.
‘Carra’ has gone on to have one of the best careers out of football throughout this squad, working regularly as a pundit for Sky and forming a high-profile partnership with former rival Gary Neville.
His footballing career is not to be sniffed at, though. 737 appearances for Liverpool, and a starring role in the UEFA Champions League final.
Passion and Carragher had become synonymous in the nine years he had been a first team regular before Istanbul, but the two had never synced so perfectly than on that night.
Proper defending. Tackles, blocks, charges. Carra did it all. He left everything on the pitch that night, including his dodgy temper with Jerzy Dudek before the penalty shoot-out.
Eight years later he retired in front of an adoring crowd, and immediately took work with Sky. He also helps fund local activities with his charity ‘the 23 foundation’ and writes a weekly column in the Mirror.
If you’re not a hardcore Reds fan or aren’t old enough to remember Djimi Traore, you would likely know him from taunts made by Liverpool supporters – ‘even Djimi Traore won a Champions League!’.
Traore was more than just a pirouetted own-goal merchant, though. He made a vital block on the line to deny Andriy Shevchenko – without which we wouldn’t be writing this article.
Traore arrived four years prior, again under Houllier, for £550,000 but never flourished until Benitez arrived.
He left the Reds a year after the Champions League success, joining Charlton Athletic as the first of a flurry of clubs before he ended his career.
Portsmouth, Rennes, Birmingham, Monaco and Marseille preceded his move to Seattle Sounders in 2013, where he remained as an assistant manager until just a month ago.
John Arne Riise
Thunderbolt, crackerjack, belter. Onomatopoeic word association with John Arne Riise and his magic left foot.
Despite missing a penalty in the shoot-out, Riise’s blushes were spared by Dudek and his teammates as the Reds lifted number five.
Riise arrived again in 2001, part of Houllier’s revolution, originally as a left midfielder. He made his impact in style with destructive finishes against Manchester United and Bayern Munich.
During the Champions League winning campaign, Riise scored the fastest League Cup final goal ever against Chelsea. Despite this, Jose Mourinho picked up his first trophy in English football with a 3-2 win.
He played for 12 years after Istanbul, having lengthy spells at Roma and Fulham before playing in Cyprus, India and Norway.
He joined Maltese club Birkirkara in 2019 as sporting director, leaving for personal reasons after jus three months. Later that year he made his first foray into coaching when he was appointed in his current role as head coach of Norwegian third division side Flint Tonsberg.
One of the three goal scorers that night, Alonso wrote his name into Anfield folklore with the very strike of his rebounded penalty past a despairing Dida.
Joining the ‘Rafaloution’ in 2004, Alonso was one of four Spaniards in the match day squad in Istanbul.
He played a starring role for the Reds under Rafa before he somewhat inexplicably wanted to replace Alonso with Gareth Barry.
A year later he departed for Real Madrid, with whom he again picked up the famous trophy, and later Bayern Munich.
Alonso now manages his boyhood club Real Sociedad’s B side in the Segunda divisions, despite being heavily linked with the vacancy at Borussia Monchengladbach this year.
Arguably Liverpool’s greatest player of the modern era, captain fantastic was immortalised by lifting Liverpool’s fifth in Istanbul.
Having been arduously linked with a move to Chelsea the summer prior, Gerrard’s U-Turn to remain at Anfield may have yielded one of the most extraordinary sporting achievements in modern memory.
Making his debut in 1998, Gerrard was already the established star and skipper by Rafa Benitez’s arrival in 2004.
His last-minute strike against Olympiakos secured the Reds passage to the last 16 after their disappointing start to the group stages, but it still wasn’t his most memorable moment in the campaign.
Gerrard’s powerful looping header over Dida reignited the Reds revival, with his whirlwind arms birthing the travelling Scousers belief from ashes.
Post-Istanbul, Gerrard repeatedly carried his Liverpool sides to relative success, including a blasted equaliser against West Ham in the following year’s FA Cup final.
He left for Los Angeles Galaxy in 2015 after a mixed season under Brendan Rodgers but returned to Anfield in 2017 in a coaching capacity.
His Under-18 side, featuring Curtis Jones and Neco Williams, were successful – which earned him a move to Glasgow giants, Rangers.
Since joining, he has led the Gers to their 55th league title, and to the latter stages of the Europa League.
Harry Kewell was always a case of what could have been.
A dynamic, skilful winger who arrived from Leeds in 2003, Kewell never fulfilled his Anfield potential after taking the famous number seven.
His first campaign was decent, scoring seven times as the Reds finished third, including a beautiful first-time finish against Merseyside rivals Everton.
2004/05 was a shocker of season for the Aussie though – scoring just once, and it was represented after he was pulled after 23 minutes in Istanbul.
Kewell stayed with the Reds until 2008, but his career at Anfield concluded as it began. Marred with injury.
He moved to Galatasaray for three years before joining Melbourne Victory for a season. A spell in Qatar preceded his final club, Melbourne Heart (now known as Melbourne City) where he retired in 2016.
Kewell has been an ambassador for the Asia Cup since retirement, alongside a number of brands including Jeep and Politix Menswear in his native Australia.
But his name remains well-known in England for his managerial exploits in the lower leagues with Crawley Town, Notts County, Oldham Athletic and now Barnet, where he now plies his trade in the fifth tier of English football.
Luis Garcia had a relatively low-profile role in the final in Istanbul, but his efforts in the preceding rounds have written him into Liverpool legend – and maybe Chelsea’s too.
Joining from Barcelona in the summer of ’04, he immediately became a fans favourite with his skilful, intricate dribbling and clear enjoyment on the field.
He had a nomadic career after his success at Anfield, which included wonder-strike against Juventus, and the famed ghost goal against Chelsea in the Champions League run-in.
But despite leaving as surplus to requirements in 2007, he is still a much-loved figure across Merseyside.
He rejoined Atletico Madrid on departure before enjoying spells in Greece, Mexico and India. He retired in Australia in 2016 aged 35.
Since retiring from playing Garcia has moved into the broadcasting world as a football pundit across various television networks including beIN SPORTS USA, TV3 Ireland and Sky Sports.
He also works as an after-dinner speaker on a circuit with other Reds’ legends.
Baros was the last active player in the starting eleven until recently, hanging up his boots in 2020 aged 39.
His Anfield career was certainly mixed, and somewhat streaky. Despite ending with 19 goals in 68 league appearances for the Reds, most of those were scored in braces or, in one case, a hattrick.
He arrived in 2001 but was unable to play regularly until the next campaign due to work permit issues.
Under Benitez, he’d just come off a golden boot winning Euro 2004 campaign, meaning his revitalisation looked inevitable.
In truth, he hit 13 goals – the club’s joint top scorer – but he never really showed the true dynamism he had the potential to show.
He was substituted after 85 minutes in Istanbul, and apparently dented the trophy after dropping it in celebration.
Baros moved to Aston Villa for £6.5 million after the win, before joining Lyon and subsequently Portsmouth on loan.
After leaving Galatasaray in 2013, Baros returned to his hometown club Banik Ostrava. He would finish his professional career there, despite interludes with Antalyaspor Slovan Liberec and Mlada Boleslav.
The scorer of the second goal in Istanbul, Smicer left Anfield immediately after the win in Instabul to join Bordeaux.
He would retire with his hometown club, Slavia Prague. He then unsuccessfully ran as a political candidate for Vize 2014, whose manifesto focused on battling child obesity in Czech Republic.
Now living in Prague, Smicer has recently opened a hotel in the city called the Dancing House Hotel.
He also represents the Liverpool legends teams in exhibition games and works as a club ambassador.
‘Der Kaiser’ spent seven years at Anfield and was a game-changing substitution in Istanbul.
His presence allowed Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso more freedom thus a change of shape, ensuring the Reds’ comeback was completed.
After leaving Anfield he had a strange exit. Having signed a pre-contract with Bolton Wanderers, he had a change of heart, signing for Manchester City.
He had a spell as player-coach of MK Dons, before retiring in 2011 and joining Leicester City as a first-team coach.
Hamann has now stopped coaching and now works in the media as a highly respected pundit for a number of broadcasters including LFC TV, Sky Sports, RTE and the BBC.
Akin to Kewell, Cisse is a case of ‘what if’ at Anfield.
After joining from Auxerre for a club record £14 million, high expectations were placed on the Frenchman’s shoulders. After all, he had scored 30 goals the season prior.
But after a freak accident against Blackburn in October, Cisse was sidelined until April.
He came on for Milan Baros in the final, scoring a penalty which helped the Reds lift their fifth title.
Cisse was constantly linked with moves away, but the next campaign he blossomed with 19 goals in all competitions.
He departed after this though, joining Marseille despite breaking his leg once again. Spells with Sunderland and QPR followed in the Premier League, including scoring in the famous ‘Aguero’ game for the latter.
Cisse still plays in the lower reaches of the United States with ‘Panathanaikos Chicago’, after spells in Russia, Switzerland and Italy.
In other ventures, he has his own clothing range and fragrance ‘Mr Lenoir’. He’s had acting experience, as well as featuring on the French equivalent of the Masked Singer this year.
Rafa Benitez’s first signing at Anfield, Josemi was a staple of the Spanish revolution at Anfield.
Joining for around £2 million from Malaga, he would make seven appearances in the run-in to Istanbul.
He’d never truly establish himself at Anfield though and was swapped for Villarreal’s Jan Kronkamp the following January.
After a lengthy career in Spain, Greece and India, he retired in 2016 and returned to former club Malaga as a match delegate.
Biscan joined the Reds in a £5.5 million deal in 2000, having been scouted by Barcelona, Milan and Bayern Munich – but in a brutally honest interview just last year, he admitted he was never good enough to play for Liverpool.
Despite this, his final year at the club was a considerable improvement on the previous four. Under Benitez he excelled in defensive midfield and was a key part in securing the Reds a place in the final.
His marauding performances in the knockout rounds still see him earn praise today. After the final though, his contract was terminated.
He joined Panathanaikos before finishing his career with five years at his hometown club, Dinamo Zagreb.
Four years later he began his managerial career, winning the Croatian second tier with Rudes before joining Rijeka.
In 2019, he joined Croatia as Under-21 manager, whom he remains with since.
The man famous for being Michael Owen’s makeweight, Nunez never got going at Anfield despite scoring in a League Cup final.
Arriving in 2004, he injured his knee in his first Anfield training session, leaving him out of action for three months.
He left after the Istanbul win (not getting off the bench in the process) to join Celta Vigo.
Spells at Murcia, Apollon Limassol, Huesca and Deportivo led to him finishing his career with four years at Recreativo.
The last heard from Nunez is that he began a career in law but remembers his one season at Anfield fonder than any other.
The only player in the squad now playing at the top level, Scott Carson has had quite the journey since leaving Anfield.
Aged just 20, Carson started several matches before playing Juventus in the Champions League Quarter Final.
He remained on the bench on the day, and wouldn’t play
Several loans later, he departed to West Bromwich Albion on a permanent deal, eventually travelling to Turkey before joining Derby County for six years in 2015.
He joined Manchester City on loan last season, before joining on a free transfer this summer.