Quotes after the game

We have assembled various people's reactions to this magnificent game.

Lubos Michel referee:

"I believe Chelsea would have preferred the goal to count rather than face a penalty with just ten men for the rest of the game. If my assistant referee had not signalled a goal, I would have given a penalty and sent off goalkeeper Petr Cech.

The volume of the Anfield crowd cut communications between Michel and Roman Slysco, the linesman who gave the goal.

Michel added: "Roman beeped me to signal the foul by Cech, but I didn't know that till later. It was the noise from the crowd that stopped me hearing it. I have refereed at places like Barcelona, Ibrox, Manchester United and Arsenal. But I've never in my life been involved in such an atmosphere. It was incredible."

I did not need the signal from Roman, though. I had already seen the foul and played advantage. There was no doubt in Roman's mind about the goal and he was in the best position to see. I chose him to be part of our team and I trust him. He is a heart surgeon and mistaken decisions are not allowed in his job. There was not even need to confer. He signalled the goal and sprinted back to the half-way line."

Jose Mourinho:

"I felt the power of Anfield, it was magnificent. I felt it didn't interfere with my players but maybe it interfered with other people and maybe it interfered with the result. You should ask the linesman why he gave a goal. Because, to give a goal, the ball must be 100 per cent in and he must be 100 per cent sure that the ball is in. My players say it was not a goal. I haven't seen it on television but other people say you can't say for certain it was a goal. Only one person decided the future of the teams and of players who have never played a Champions League final. So it's very strange. It was a goal from the moon or the Anfield Road stand, I don't know where. But I respect that, I make mistakes, players make mistakes and he made a mistake. That's life."

Luis Garcia:
"Football wise, it was the happiest night of my life. The joy was enormous, incomparable. The goal, the people, qualification. It was all a dream. I got on well with Mourinho when we were both at Barcelona but I know a lot of people are happy my goal knocked his side out of Europe.

To start with, you thinking the business of "never walking alone" is beautiful and nice but you begin to see that it is really like that. It's fantastic to be able to give the people at the club this moment of happiness."

Rafael Benitez:
"I had 20 Spanish friends who came to the game against Chelsea and they were delighted with the atmosphere. I read the Spanish newspapers and saw the talk in the Spanish chat-rooms on the internet. People were writing about what an amazing occasion it was, one they would never forget."

When I was coach of Valencia, we played Celtic in the UEFA Cup and the atmosphere was great but this was even better. I will never forget this game. It was good on television but when you are in the ground, hearing it, it's fantastic."

Rafa on Garcia's goal:

"My secretary, Sheila, was right in line with the shot and she says it was a goal. That's good enough for me."

Rafa on how he celebrated the win over Chelsea:

"I didn't get much sleep on Tuesday night. I went for a drink with some friends and supporters after the match. We were in the Pan American Bar on the Albert Dock. I was there until 2am, but I was drinking coke. It was a great night."

Rafa on what reaching the Champions League really means:

"The final means much more than the money. A player will go 'OK, Liverpool are in the final of the Champions League, they are a big club' and he will want to come here. The most important thing above everything else is we've recuperated the prestige of the club. Maybe people are seeing Liverpool can rule Europe again.

We can attract players in England, but maybe the biggestimpact is in Europe where people will say Liverpool are at the top again. That's important. The result is significant for many others reasons, including the sponsorship situation and the signing of players. This will make it easier for us. Maybe I will now have more money, certainly more than a week ago. This time last week we knew if we finished fifth and lost to Chelsea, we'd have less money."

Gerard Houllier:

"On Tuesday night I was like a fan of the club. I was really happy they got qualification. Anfield gives you goose pimples. That stadium gives you additional energy."

Dietmar Hamann:

"We have had some tremendous games at Anfield and as everyone says European nights are always special whoever we play, but this certainly goes down as one of the best or the best ever atmosphere I've played in or have been in and that includes the World Cup Final.

You play in front of your own fans at Anfield but in the World Cup it was quite far away from Germany so we didn't have too many supporters there. This was totally different as we played in front of 45,000 with 38,000 of them your own fans and everybody wants the same result, to win and go through to the final.

The atmosphere from the word go was electric and with the early goal everybody just seemed to explode at the same time. It was unbelievable the support they gave us and I think everyone who was at the ground on Tuesday will remember it for a long time.

The fans have had great times here in the 70's and the 80's and Liverpool have won the European Cup four times. It showed how much it means to the fans that they are desperate to get the glory days back they showed it on Tuesday. The team responded and it's a great achievement for everybody connected to Liverpool FC."

Steven Gerrard:

"At the end I felt like jumping in and celebrating with the fans. They're the best in the country by a mile and I just hope they enjoy the final as much as they have this evening. There is no doubt we have the chance to become legends at the club - and we want to grab that. Now we are in the final with a chance for history. It will be tough against Milan. But you can be sure we are up for it and we will fight incredibly hard to bring the cup back for the Liverpool fans."

John Arne Riise:

With just seconds remaining of arguably the most tense occasion in Liverpool history, Chelsea's Icelandic striker could have cruelly dumped the Reds out of the competition when a gilt-edged opportunity fell to him just yards from goal. It was a heart-stopping moment for everyone of a red persuasion but fortunately Gudjohnsen dragged his shot wide and Liverpool made it through to their first European Cup Final for 21 years.

"When Gudjohnsen had that chance at the end I was s***ing myself. If he had scored I would have started crying. I would have retired on the spot or maybe even shot myself", said an emotional Riise, who then treated the crowd to a celebratory strip-show during manic moments that followed the final whistle.

I didn't know what I was doing, I just kept giving the fans everything I had on. I can't remember if they started calling for me to do it or not, but I had said to the players before the game that if we won I'd strip off and give all my clothes to the fans. I suppose I was lucky to escape with my modesty intact. I didn't intend stripping off that much, but they kept yelling for more and I threw them everything I could.

It was the greatest night ever. You should have seen the dressing room, it was unbelievable. I could have cried. In fact I was crying one minute and laughing the next- and I wasn't the only one. The crowd were fantastic, there was no way I could have run like that for 96 minutes if I hadn't been feeding off the crowd. But I think we were probably making even more noise than they were when we got back to the dressing room. It was amazing."

Xabi Alonso

"Liverpool's fans definitely intimidated Chelsea at Anfield and I think they can do exactly the same to Milan in Istanbul," he said. "The Italian fans will give their team really good support, but I believe our fans will make more noise. I want to thank the fans for playing such a big part in helping us reach the final. I just hope we can repay them by becoming European champions.

The fans have been unbelievable to me as well, and I will never forget the scenes in the home game with Chelsea. I wasn't even playing, yet the Kop were chanting my name. I've had a great reception from everyone at Liverpool since arriving here last summer, but that was something special.

As I sat there in the directors' box, I found myself joining in. I couldn't help it. I was excited and got a bit carried away, and I ended up singing along.

I must admit I was getting a bit emotional by that stage, and when the final whistle went, I just had to get on the pitch. It wasn't easy, though. I tried to climb over the front of the press box but could tell there was no way through all the fans in the seats below. So I turned and sprinted down the stairs and out through the players' tunnel.. I had to be out there, because I wanted to share the moment with my team-mates. I just wanted to say thank you, because they promised me a Champions' League final and were as good as their word."

Jamie Carragher:

Chelsea have bought great players and have an excellent manager, but you can't buy fans like ours. That atmosphere was better than anything I've known and I've been involved in some great nights recently. The games against Roma, Juventus and Olympiakos were unbelievable, but that was something else.

"Even when we were warming-up 40 minutes before the game, the crowd was as noisy as it's been for a long time. Normally you can hear DJ George playing his records, but even he was drowned out by the singing. We knew then it was going to be a special night.

"We all knew what it was going to be like and it gave us a hell of a boost. No disrespect to Chelsea, but their supporters aren't like ours. We've got a working class support while the majority of fans at the game last week are probably a bit more well-to-do.

In my opinion, clubs which have that traditional core of working class fans are always going to be more passionate about football. They get involved in the game a lot more and create a much better atmosphere. I'm not trying to be disrespectful to them when I say that, I think it's just a fact which is proven by other grounds across the country, and there's none better than our fans or Anfield on a European night."

Liverpool restricted Chelsea to very few chances on the night, but did have to survive a nervy finish when Eidur Gudjohnsen smashed the ball wide of goal in the final minute.

"The most worrying part was the six minutes of injury-time, but I think the referee is a mate of Mourinho's and he certainly gave them plenty of extra-time to get an equaliser."

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