Amazing, astounding, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, extraordinary, hair-raising, heart-stirring, magnificent, marvellous, miraculous, moving, overwhelming spectacular, spine-tingling, striking, stunning, stupefying, stupendous, wonderful.

Pick your own word to describe what 500 million people around the world have witnessed here in Istanbul tonight.

What the hell - pick a few. No single word can describe the greatest comeback ever known in world football.

Liverpool's amazing European Cup adventure ended in triumph in Istanbul on Wednesday night as 40,000 scousers painted the city red on what must go down as the greatest ever victory in the club's illustrious history.

Nothing might ever beat the joy of 1977 when Bob Paisley's team first lifted the greatest trophy in club football but this win, ending as it did a 21-year wait to bring the cup back to Speke airport, is nothing short of miraculous.

Three-nil down at half-time, many fans wanted the game to end there and then to save further humiliation.

Those fans hadn't counted on Rafael Benitez's half-time team talk though. Whatever he said in that dressing room turned the whole history of this great club around. Benitez and his class of 2005 have written their own names into the history books.

No matter what happens to Jerzy Dudek, Steve Finnan, Sami Hyypia, Jamie Carragher, Djimi Traore, Luis Garcia, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, John Arne Riise, Harry Kewell, Milan Baros, Djibril Cisse, Dietmar Hamann and Vladimir Smicer later on in their careers, no one will ever be able to take away the fact that they were the men who won the European Cup for keeps here in Turkey. Twenty-eight years after Emlyn Hughes first lifted the trophy for Liverpool, the Reds will never have to hand the cup back. As five-times winners, UEFA have awarded the cup to Liverpool to keep. A new one will have to be made.

In the terraces, there were tears of joy from some fans who made up the greatest show of support on foreign soil since Liverpool took 40,000 fans to Dortmund for the UEFA Cup final in 2001. If there are supporters like this anywhere else in the world, we've yet to meet them. With defeat staring us in the face, the Liverpool fans took it upon themselves to lift their heroes for the last time this season and boy did it work.

Benitez himself was cool as hell. It was if he knew all along just how it would pan out. Even at 3-nil, he didn't panic. He didn't throw Cisse straight on as most of us would have. He waited and he got his reward at the end.


The Spaniard has captured the imagination of Liverpool fans all over the world this season and while he might be the first Anfield boss since Shankly to have neither risen up through the ranks of players or staff, he's quickly learned just what matters most to the people who turn up to cheer on the club. The league title may be our bread and butter but no set of supporters in the world revere the European Cup and the fantastic nights that come with it quite as much as Liverpool's.

The celebrations have started in Istanbul. On Thursday, when the team parade the Cup through the streets, they'll be even bigger.

Liverpool FC - Kings of Europe. How good does that sound?

Full details of the homecoming parade will be published on the website on Thursday morning.