Returning Gerard Houllier inspired the Reds to produce one of the greatest Anfield nights

The flags are out in force prior to kick-off and an impressive mosaic on the Kop heightens the sense of occasion. An electric atmosphere greets the players as they emerge onto the field and the noise inside Anfield reaches a crescendo with the first appearance of Gerard Houllier on the Liverpool bench since his heart operation.

Amid a frenzied atmosphere, with unbelievable noise resounding from all corners of the ground Roma kick-off attacking the Kop.

3 mins: As expected the opening exchanges are frantic but roared on by an exuberant crowd Liverpool seem to have the bit between their teeth.

5 mins: Smicer forces Antonioli into the first save of the match with a rasping drive from 25-yards that the Roma keeper can only push around the post.

6 mins: PENALTY! Riise whips in the resultant corner, a scramble ensues and as Murphy tees up a shot from just inside the box he's felled by a challenge from Assuncao. The referee has no hesitation in correctly pointing to the spot.

7 mins: GOAL! Liverpool 1 v 0 AS Roma Litmanen keeps his cool and sends Antonioli the wrong way, calmly dispatching his kick into the bottom left hand corner of the Anfield Road goal.

9 mins: Liverpool continue to pile on the pressure and Antonioli is unable to hold a long-range thunderbolt from Gerrard but the visitors manage to clear the danger.

15 mins: Roma come forward in a rare attack but Batistuta is flagged offside before his acrobatic overhead kick goes wide of Dudek's goal.

19 mins: The white-hot atmosphere shows no sign of subsiding and the home fans are off their feet again as Riise flashes a left-footed shot at the Roma goal.

26 mins: As the game finally begins to settle down Roma look to be growing in confidence but are yet to test Dudek.

28 mins: Riise shoots high over the bar with a hopeful punt from outside the box after Gerrard's determined interception sparked another promising Liverpoolattack.

35 mins: Roma threaten with an in-swinging free-kick that causes confusion among the Reds defence and Carragher turn the ball behind to clear the danger. From the resulting corner Dudek comes out to collect and misses the ball completely but fortunately Liverpool quickly clear their lines.

39 mins: Heskey goes close with a far post header from Carragher's searching cross.

41 mins: Assuncao blazes a 30-yard free-kick into row Z of the Kop.

Half-time - Liverpool 1 v 0 AS Roma

45 mins: Roma a double substitution at the break replacing Batistuta with Montella and Lima with Delvecchio.

47 mins: Totti curls a shot into the arms of Dudek from the left edge of Liverpool's penalty area.

53 mins: Roma break menacingly and Totti is denied an equaliser only by the legs of Henchoz.

59 mins: Gerard Houllier is up on his feet as Liverpool press forward in search of a vital second goal and the crowd respond with a deafening chant for the manager.

60 mins: News from Istanbul, Luis Enrique gives Barcelona the lead. Meaning a 1-0 win will be sufficient for Liverpool to progress.

61 mins: Riise goes close

62 mins: Tomassi, sent off at Anfield last season, receives yellow card following a foul on Litmanen.

63 mins: GOAL! Liverpool 2 v 0 AS Roma Murphy swings the subsequent free-kick into the Roma danger zone and Heskey rises to glances a header past Antonioli.

65 mins: Xavier has name taken for a foul on Candela.

67 mins: With Roma now needing to score Totti and Montella combine well in the Liverpool penalty box but can find no end product to their silky skills.

73 mins: Murphy's snap shot from distance

78 mins: Riise shoots left-footed into the arms of Antonioli from the edge of the Roma box.

79 mins: Emerson shoots over from close-range after latching on to a Delvecchio centre.

87 mins: Liverpool send on Biscan for Litmanen.

88 mins: Samuel is booked.

89 mins: McAllister comes on for Smicer.

Full-time - Liverpool 2 v 0 AS Roma


Liverpool: Dudek, Carragher, Xavier, Hyypia, Henchoz, Gerrard, Murphy, Riise, Smicer, Heskey, Litmanen. Subs - Arphexad, McAllister, Barmby, Baros, Biscan, Wright, Diomede.

AS Roma: Antonioli, Lima, Aldair, Assuncao, Totti, Emerson, Panucci, Tommasi, Samuel, Batistuta, Candela. Subs - Pelizzoli, Zago, Montella, Zebina, Cassano, Delvecchio, Guigou.

Referee: Rune Pedersen (Norway)

Attendance: 41,974 Man-of-the-Match: Emile Heskey

Phil Thompson said the mere presence of the returning Gerard Houllier inspired both the team and the fans to produce one of the greatest night's Anfield has ever witnessed.

The Reds assistant boss said the decision for Houllier to return was taken by the man himself on Wednesday afternoon.

Thompson said: "It was decided this afternoon and was special. He gave the players a pep talk at the hotel this afternoon and we talked about it. Gerard said 'I fancy this!'

"He did his team talk which I was grateful for! He was ready and it was a very emotional night for him, the players and the fans. It was great for him and I was very pleased.

"It gave everyone a lift because Gerard inspires the players and the fans. If there was any night he was going to come back it was this one. Gerard has always said when these players want something badly they go and get it.

"They produced a fantastic performance and we've knocked out one of the best teams in Europe. I said at the start that Roma were my tip to win the European Cup so what we've achieved is magnificent.

"Gerard was fine and we knew it would be an emotional night. Gerard has always known when the time was right for him to come back and tonight was that night.

"This was a special atmosphere only Anfield can produce. This was St Etienne part two and the fans cheered every tackle and it's one of the greatest night's in this football club's history."

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