After considerable stress, Real Madrid and Liverpool have reached the Champions League final.
While it promises to be a thrilling fixture in Kiev on 26th May, nothing will come close to the comedic brilliance of the last time these two European giants met…
The year was 2014 and Brendan Rodgers was steering the Anfield ship.
Upon their return to Europe’s premier club competition, Liverpool were drawn in a group with Ludogorets, Basel and the mighty Real Madrid.
Having come so close to Premier League glory the season before, Rodgers decided to prioritise a league clash with Chelsea over a trip to the Bernabeu.
The Northern Irish manager made seven changes to his starting XI in a move that took everyone by surprise…
Let’s break this down player by player…
Simon Mignolet — terrible then, terrible now.
Javier Manquillo — The Madrid-born right-back was 20-years-old when he was tasked with containing Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and co…
Kolo Toure — Everyone’s favourite cult hero had played under a minute of league football when he was thrust into the starting line-up.
Martin Skrtel — One of very few regular starters at the time.
Alberto Moreno — More comedian than footballer.
Lucas Leiva — Loved the club and always put a shift in but let’s be honest, he was limited in terms of ability.
Emre Can — This was his first season with Liverpool, before he got good…
Joe Allen — The Welsh Xavi, say no more.
Adam Lallana — Again, it was his first season with Liverpool and he was still finding his feet in the famous red shirt.
Lazar Markovic — Liverpool’s forgotten man; he’s still technically on their books today.
Fabio Borini — A forward who was scared of goals; these days you’ll find him playing at full-back for AC Milan every now and then.
You have to admit, it’s an absolute work of art.
So how did they get on? Probably got thrashed 5-0, right?
Well, no actually.
Real Madrid won 1-0 courtesy of a 27th-minute Benzema goal but Liverpool’s misfits more than held their own.
Toure somehow pocketed Ronaldo, Lallana played like a man possessed, and Mignolet denied James Rodriguez with a genuinely superb save.
Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling came off Liverpool’s stacked bench and Lallana nearly nicked a late equaliser which would have shaken the Bernabeu to its core.
Whatever happens in Kiev, never forget Rodgers’ masterpiece.