Jamie Carragher and Xabi Alonso look back on being part of Liverpool's miracle of Istanbul in 2005 and think: "How lucky were we to be involved?"
Monday marks the 15th anniversary of the Reds’ fifth Champions League triumph, one achieved against the tallest odds.
Rafael Benitez’s side found themselves 3-0 down at half-time against a rampant AC Milan team contesting their second final in three years.
But an unthinkable second-half comeback – centred on three goals in six minutes – reignited Liverpool’s chances of glory.
Jerzy Dudek preserved those hopes with an inexplicable double save from Andriy Shevchenko and repeated the trick in the subsequent penalty shootout, denying two spot-kicks to help secure Old Big Ears.
Ahead of the anniversary, Carragher and Alonso reunited via video call to watch the highlights of that night in a special feature that will be available to view in full on LFCTV GO from Monday.
“I remember watching the great AC Milan teams in the late ‘80s and the early ‘90s, then it was Ajax, then Juventus came along. I never thought I could play at this level,” says Carragher.
“I knew all the players, all the legend players, and I never thought I was good enough to play at this level. So, for me to be involved in that…
“You talk about players who won it, I talk about players – maybe great players – who never won it. And you think, ‘Wow, how lucky are we that we were involved in something so special?’
“And we didn’t just win it – we played in a final that will be remembered forever. That makes us doubly lucky, I suppose.”
The drama at the Ataturk Stadium represented a remarkable end to Alonso’s debut season with Liverpool, the playmaker having signed from Real Sociedad the previous summer.
The Spaniard completed the comeback in the game by converting on the rebound when his penalty kick – the first of his professional career – was stopped by Milan goalkeeper Dida.
“For me, everything was happening so quickly,” Alonso recalls.
“It was my first year at Liverpool, playing the Champions League in my first year and being in the final, getting to that stage and winning the most historic trophy, something was happening in my mind that was kind of unreal, what was happening.
“To have that involvement in the final and knowing you will be part of the history of the club, at that moment it was like too many things happening for me.
“It’s so remembered – that night, that final, that miracle. Wherever I’ve been, in Spain or the world, they remember. It has become an iconic football final and Champions League final. Some finals, two years later not that many people remember.
“But this one, everyone – wherever I’ve been – it’s so remembered.”
Watch Carragher and Alonso's Istanbul 2005 watchalong exclusively on LFCTV GO from Monday morning.
Join now and claim your first month's access for free. You can also cancel at any time.