Kennedy the hero as Reds beat Madrid

27 May 1981

 It was perhaps fitting that a left-back with a knack for the unpredictable emerged as the man to secure Liverpool's third European Cup triumph in just five years at the expense of Real Madrid in Paris.

 After what proved to be 83 minutes of dour deadlock, it was Alan Kennedy who threw off his defensive shackles to latch on to his namesake Ray's throw-in and power in from the flank before unleashing a fierce left foot drive that flew into the far corner of the net.

 It was a moment of inspiration that effectively won the cup for the Reds and ensured that a season that had looked like being one of frustration following a fifth place finish in the league, ended in triumph.

 It meant Liverpool became the only British side to have won the European Cup three times and ensured that the trophy would remain in England for the fifth straight year.

 But for all the post-match glory and celebrations the match itself was a rather forgettable affair.

 It was billed as one of the most mouthwatering European Cup finals in years and yet, as is so often the case in clashes between two heavyweights, it rarely lived up to expectations.

 The Reds edged what was an insipid first period in which Kennedy (Ray), Terry McDermott and Kenny Dalglish all went close to giving Liverpool the advantage.

 However, it was Madrid who had the best chance to gain the initiative just after the interval when Camacho broke the offside trap and beat Ray Clemence to the ball, only to see his lob drop inches over the crossbar.

 It was a miss he would later rue as the man the fans nicknamed Barney Rubble came up with the all-important strike to settle the contest and begin a happy habit of scoring important cup final goals.

 Reflecting on his late winner, Kennedy explained how he was just delighted to be in the starting XI after injury had looked set to rule him out of the clash at the Parc des Princes.

 "It was great moment to be picked in Paris because I didn't expect it," he said.

 "Richard Money and Colin Irwin had done so well in the semi-final second leg that I thought I was a bit lucky to come straight back.

 "I was happy enough just to be on the teamsheet at that point so to score was brilliant.

 "People said to me: ''What are you doing shooting form there?' But I was a typical get your head down and run type of player and so when Ray had the ball I just started running.

 "When I got in behind I probably should have crossed it but I just got my head down and hit it. Maybe the keeper should have had it but I didn't care. I ran towards the fans and just kept going. I would have kept going from pure adrenalin but there was a huge moat around the pitch!

 "Terry Mac (McDermott) and David Fairclough caught up with me and the first thing they said to me was: 'Did you mean it?'

 "I just replied: 'Does it matter!'"