This month marks ten years since that incredible night in Istanbul. And to celebrate our fifth Champions League triumph, Rafael Benitez – our boss on that occasion – has overseen his own tribute.
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A decade ago, a 3-0 deficit to AC Milan at half-time was wiped out within six second half minutes, as Steven Gerrard – with a great header – Vladimir Smicer, and Xabi Alonso levelled the final, before the trophy was clinched with a fantastic performance in the penalty shootout.
Staggeringly, Benitez has somewhat replicated that second-half performance, as his Napoli side bagged a treble in the same amount of time, and amazingly, against the same opponents in a Serie A clash at Stadio San Paolo on Sunday. However, their opponents had no reply.
The achievement may strengthen some fans’ believe that he – rather than Brendan Rodgers – is the right man to take us forward. However, the length of time since that victory should highlight how our football has moved on. And whilst Benitez’s European record is the envy of many managers, it was the Northern Irishman that took us closer to claiming our first Premier League title.
It is always a danger for people to return to a place where they achieved so much – Kenny Dalglish may testify to that – so perhaps whilst we should enjoy what Benitez did, we now need to look forward to what Brendan can do.