Champions League

Liverpool can match Man Utd's Champions League record by beating Benfica

Jamie Spencer
Liverpool are aiming to reach their 12th European Cup/Champions League semi-final
Liverpool are aiming to reach their 12th European Cup/Champions League semi-final / Visionhaus/GettyImages
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Liverpool stand to become only the second English club to reach 12 European Cup or Champions League semi-finals if they hold on to their quarter-final aggregate lead against Benfica as expected.

The Reds opened up a 3-1 advantage from the first leg in Lisbon last week and are firm favourites to progress to the next round with the second leg at Anfield on Wednesday night.

Since first entering the European Cup under the guidance of Bill Shankly in 1964, Liverpool have been in 11 semi-finals to date. In 67 years of European football, only Manchester United (12) have been in the last four of the continent’s premier club competition more often. But Jurgen Klopp would see the club equal that high bar this week.

Liverpool have translated their semi-final appearances into more trophy wins, going on to lift the European Cup on six occasions between 1977 and 2019. In contrast, United’s semi-final appearances have yielded fewer titles – three from 1968 to 2008 – and fewer finals (5).

Liverpool’s first European Cup semi-final came in their very first season in Europe – Shankly’s side reached the last four but were narrowly beaten by holders and eventual champions Inter.

The club never actually went as far again until they won it for the first time in 1976/77, bizarrely failing to progress beyond the early rounds unless they lifted the trophy in subsequent seasons in 1977/78 and 1980/81. Their 1983/84 triumph came after successive quarter-final exits.

Following the competition re-brand in 1992, Liverpool reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in 2004/05, again eventually going on to win the overall competition thanks to the iconic Istanbul comeback. Further Champions League semi-final appearances followed in 2006/07 and 2007/08, before waiting another 10 years until 2017/18 and 2018/19 to get there again.

Overall, in nine of the previous 11 seasons when Liverpool have reached the semi-finals, they have also gone on to reach the final as well. If they get through to the SFs this season, they already know that tricky underdogs Villarreal are waiting for them.

Liverpool’s European Cup/Champions League semi-finals

  • 1964/65 – Inter – lost (3-4 Agg)
  • 1976/77 – Zurich – won (6-1 Agg)
  • 1977/78 – Borussia Monchengladbach – won (4-2 Agg)
  • 1980/81 – Bayern Munich – won (1-1 Agg – away goals)
  • 1983/84 – Dinamo Bucharest – won (3-1 Agg)
  • 1984/85 – Panathinaikos – won (5-0 Agg)
  • 2004/05 – Chelsea – won (1-0 Agg)
  • 2006/07 – Chelsea – won (1-1 Agg – penalties)
  • 2007/08 – Chelsea – lost (5-7 Agg)
  • 2017/18 – Roma – won (7-6 Agg)
  • 2018/19 – Barcelona – won (4-3 Agg)

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