Rafa Benitez believes Liverpool have the ability to win the Champions League against the odds this season, reminiscent of how the side he managed in 2005.
The Reds famously won the competition that year in Istanbul, the home of this season’s final, despite being handed almost impossible situations to battle against.
Ties against Juventus and Chelsea, before the historic final with AC Milan, saw Benitez’s name forever etched into the club’s history books.
For Liverpool this season, though, the situation is remarkably similar, and Benitez believes his old club can still win the competition.
Jurgen Klopp has had to deal with injuries throughout most of the campaign, and in most quarters they are not expected to win European Cup number seven, but Benitez isn’t among them.
“For sure,” Benitez told the Daily Mail, when asked if Liverpool can win the Champions League this season. “Liverpool has the potential and the manager, it’s not a problem.”
He added: “People talk about Istanbul, like we were lucky. But we were not lucky to win the Champions League because we played against Juventus [in the quarter finals], that was a top side and they played 5-3-2.’
“I put Xabi Alonso with Antonio Nunez, so imagine with Luis Garcia and Milan Baros.
“What we did was change the system because they were playing with Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Alessandro Del Piero up front and Pavel Nedved behind.
“So, we put the three centre backs and the two wings back and we played 5-3-1-1 against a 5-3-2.
“Tactically we had to adapt to a very difficult opponent and then, because we did well, the confidence was growing and growing.
“And we played Chelsea, at this time it was the best team maybe in Europe for sure in England [but] our team had so much confidence that tactically we could manage. We were a team with belief.
“I think Liverpool can do the same and go to the final obviously. AC Milan was a great team [in the final] but the team was growing in confidence because, in these knockout competitions we could do it.”