Liverpool Are Unwelcome European Champions (to UEFA anyway)

 by Martin Belam, 25 May 2005

Astonishing scenes tonight in the Champions League Final in Istanbul. Winning the 50th European Champions Cup is an achievement in itself, but Liverpool coming back from 3-0 down after 42 minutes was nothing short of a footballing miracle.

I can't be the only person who got a wailing text message from a mate who had given up watching at half-time, only to find they had missed the most sensational of European Cup Final comebacks. I also felt for the guy who called into Radio Five Live's 606 phone-in show asking how he was going to explain to his seven year old son whom he had sent to bed at half-time because "the match was over" that Liverpool had, in fact, won.

Liverpool have also set two records which I'm sure will fuel pub quizzes for years to come.

Due to the contractual obligations to show the match at a TV friendly time in Western Europe, and the match going to extra time, I believe that Liverpool are the first team to start playing a European Cup final on one day (the 25th), and not win it until the next (past midnight on the 26th local time)

Secondly, and somewhat less impressively, they will be the first team to lift the European Cup and not have the opportunity to defend it the following season. Next season's Champions League will feature plenty of teams who are not even the champions of their own league, but will not feature the Champions of European club football.

At the moment anyway

Alan Green had it spot on during 606 this evening - UEFA will expect Liverpool to turn up and play the Super Cup against CSKA Moscow as a curtain raiser for the Champions League draw next season, and they will expect Liverpool to turn up to FIFA's revamped club championship next season as Champions of Europe. Can they really not find a place for them in next season's Champions League?

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