You can't have a conversation with former Liverpool attacker Luis Garcia without discussing the night indelibly linked with his name – the 2005 Champions League semi-final against Chelsea.

On May 3 that year, Anfield was transformed into an arena of noise, as fans acutely aware how close their team were to a European Cup showpiece produced an atmosphere to rival any ever witnessed.

A solitary, much talked about, heavily debated strike by Garcia just four minutes into the second leg narrowly carried the Reds past their Barclays Premier League rivals and to the miracle of Istanbul.

Naturally, as Kopites prepare for another crucial home clash against the Blues - with Brendan Rodgers' side five points clear of their opponents at the summit - memories drift back to that evening.

Garcia is no different and who could possibly blame the Spaniard for taking the chance to reflect once more on a match which has immortalised his name in the Liverpool history books?

He explained to the Liverpool Echo: "From the moment I walked out on the pitch before kick-off that night, the atmosphere was electric.

"What was amazing was that the fans kept it going for the whole game. That was one of the biggest and most enjoyable games I ever played in.

"Of course, scoring that goal makes you remembered for your whole life. It was fantastic to be able to give the people that moment of happiness.

"I heard that even this week [Jose] Mourinho was still saying it didn't cross the line. What I do know is that I think it was better for Chelsea that the referee awarded the goal rather than give us a penalty and send off their 'keeper."

And the 35-year-old has no doubt that the thousands of supporters who will stream into the stadium this Sunday can power their heroes on to produce a positive result as they search for a 12th straight win.

"The most important time you feel that incredible Anfield support in matches is when you are struggling and up against it," Garcia continued.

"When you don't know what to do and the other team is pushing you, that's when you really feel the power of the crowd. They help you to keep working and go forward.

"The fans will be there for the team again on Sunday. This is the most important game of the season and they will help them get the victory they need."


The retired Garcia made a poignant return to his former club on Monday, donning his boots and tying up his laces before running out on the Anfield turf and showing little depreciation in his class.

His comeback was to participate in the 'Celebration of the 96' charity encounter, which pitched a team of local Liverpool legends against a squad of international ex-Reds.

Fans treated the diminutive Spaniard to a thunderous welcome when his name was read out ahead of kick-off - and, on a personal level, he was delighted to reconnect with supporters he loves.

"It was beautiful to be back," Garcia added. "It's unbelievable the feeling you have when you step on that grass.

"I enjoyed it so much to be back playing in front of 44,000 fans with all the legends around. You wouldn't get a crowd that big for a charity game at any other club around the world.

"I miss many things - living in the city, the club and the people - so having the chance to play here again was great.

"It's always been like this with the fans here. The people have always treated me so well. They are always in touch with me through Twitter and Facebook and I can feel that support from far away.

"I always watch all the Liverpool games. I know they still sing my song. I always put the surround sound on my TV so I can hear that clearly in my house!"