When Liverpool Beat Roma To Win The European Cup
Liverpool play Roma at Anfield next week in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final and it’s not the first time they’ve met in the latter stages of a European competition. Liverpool beat the Serie A side on penalties to win the 1984 European Cup. Mark Lawrenson was part of the Liverpool team that won in Rome that night and he’ll be this week’s guest in the Boot Room on Premier League Live with Sky Sports.
Mark will look back on the 1983/84 season, a campaign that saw Liverpool win three trophies under Joe Fagan who replaced Bob Paisley in the summer of 83. Paisley was a hard act to follow considering he had won six league titles, three European Cups, three League Cups and the UEFA Cup in his nine years as manager. Mark gives us an insight to what it was like when they found out that Fagan was coming in as manager and how popular he was with the players.
Liverpool started the season as league champions and were drawn to play Danish club Odense in the first round of the European Cup. There was little room for error in the old format of the competition, something Liverpool experienced in 1978 when their bid for three in a row was ended by Nottingham Forest in the first round. Liverpool beat Odense 6-0 on aggregate so next up was Athletic Bilbao. The second round tie proved to be a lot more difficult after the first leg finished 0-0 at Anfield. Liverpool were faced with the difficult task of going to Spain but an Ian Rush goal in the second half was the difference.
Mark Lawrenson recalls how tough it was in Spain that night:
That win in Spain was in November 1983 but Liverpool's next European game was until March. Ian Rush was on target again in the next round when they beat Benfica 1-0 in the first leg and Liverpool were even more impressive in Lisbon, winning the second leg 4-1. A few days later Liverpool drew 0-0 with Everton in the League Cup final at Wembley.
The replay was played at Maine Road and Graeme Souness scored the only goal of the game to give Liverpool a third League Cup title in a row, and first piece of silverware under Joe Fagan. Souness was the centre of attention when Liverpool beat Dinamo Bucharest 1-0 in the first leg of the semi final at Anfield. Souness came in for some rough treatment from Lica Movila but it was the Romanian who came off the worst and suffered a broken jaw.
Mark Lawrenson remembers what was waiting for Liverpool and Souness when they travelled to Bucharest for the second leg: Liverpool won the second leg 2-1 to advance to the final where they would meet Roma in Rome. Liverpool turned their focus back to the league and they were crowned First Division champions on the penultimate weekend of the season. Joe Fagan's had a League Cup and First Division title under their belts as they prepared for the European Cup final at the end of May. There were two weeks between their last league game against Norwich and the final in Rome.
The squad went to Israel for the week and played a game against the national team before arriving back in Liverpool. Mark talks about the build up to the final on how they even practiced penalties before the final but they hadn't been too successful with them. We'll hear how he dealt with the pressure of preparing for the biggest game of his career and the game itself which finished 1-1. He'd be the first to admit it wasn't a classic and there was a feeling that they were heading for a penalty shootout. Steve Nicol missed the first penalty but Phil Neal scored his to cancel out Roma's opening spot kick before Bruno Conti missed for the Italian side.
A lot of people will remember the miss from Francesco Graziani because of Bruce Grobbelaar:
It was quite the season for Liverpool in Joe Fagan's first season in charge and you can hear the full Boot Room interview with Mark Lawrenson this Saturday on Premier League Live with Sky Sports.
We're on todayfm.com from 12.15 to bring you commentary of West Brom and Liverpool and we'll be on Today FM from 2.00 with commentary of Watford and Crystal Palace.