UEFA Cup won for second time

UEFA Cup won for second time9 May 1976

With just three games of the 1975-76 remaining Bob Paisley's Liverpool were on the verge of greatness.

A two-legged UEFA Cup final was to be played either side of the last league match of the season, with the Reds needing to beat Wolves at Molineux to secure the title for a record ninth time.

It was an exciting time to be a fan, but as the players made their way to the Anfield dressing room after the opening 45 minutes of their first-leg clash with FC Bruges, the double dream appeared to be in tatters.

The Belgian side had surged into a 2-0 lead with a powerful first-half display to leave the home side's hopes hanging by a thread.

Bob Paisley responded by replacing his leading scorer, and the hero of the semi-final win over Barcelona, John Toshack, with midfielder Jimmy Case.

It would prove to be an inspired move as Liverpool, roared on by a vibrant Kop, stormed back with Ray Kennedy reducing the arrears on 59 minutes.

The goal seemed to rattle the visitors and within two minutes of their reprieve, the home side were level, with Case the man on target.

Having re-ignited their hopes with a quick-fire double Liverpool went on to turn the tie on its head; Kevin Keegan's penalty capping the recovery to make it three goals in an astonishing five minutes.

It ensured the Reds would take a slender 3-2 lead to Belgium and marked yet another sensational European night in L4.

Speaking after the match, Case explained Paisley's decision to bring him into the action.

"It wasn't that Tosh was playing badly, but manager Bob Paisley and the coaches felt something had to be changed, the pattern had to be altered," said Case.

"The Kop and the supporters were magnificent that night. Throats must have been red-raw with cheering. But you know what? I believe those fans liked to see us with our backs to the wall because they knew we could win."

On the subject of his equalising goal, he said: "I thought for a split second that the (Ray Kennedy's) shot was going in, but suddenly the ball rebounded and was coming my way. It could have hit my thigh and run out of play, but I jumped instinctively and side-footed the ball into the net."

Six days later the Reds mounted another late comeback to clinch the title with a 3-1 win at Wolves to set them up for their 59th and final match of a marathon season.

FC Bruges stood in the way of a repeat of the league and UEFA Cup double achieved under Shanks just three years earlier. But the Belgian side struck a blow to Liverpool's hopes with just 10 minutes on the clock courtesy of Raoul Lambert's cool penalty.

Suddenly the game plan to keep things tight and silence the home crowd had gone out of the window and the Reds set about attacking the hosts knowing that they had to score to avoid defeat on the away goals rule.

It was an anxious time for the travelling support...well for four minutes anyway.

That's how long it took for the Reds to hit back with Kevin Keegan firing in from 20 yards after Emlyn Hughes had touched a free-kick into his path.

It put Liverpool 4-3 ahead on aggregate and although the home side would come close to levelling in the second-half, Paisley's men held on to claim a hard-fought victory and the second UEFA Cup title in our history.