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The Greatest Comeback: Dennis Taylor’s 1985 World Snooker Championship triumph or Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League win?

| 14.06.2020

Who’ll make it into the semi-finals?

We’ve seen some huge names drop by the wayside in our Greatest Comeback tournament so far. And now we’ve reached the last of the quarter-finals, will only one place remaining in the final four.

After knocking out Barcelona’s 6-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the opening round, Dennis Taylor’s 1985 Snooker World Championship final win goes up against Liverpool’s Champions League comeback against AC Milan.

Who will reach the semi-finals? That’s down to you.

Dennis Taylor’s 1985 World Snooker Championship win

Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor

The likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were no match for Coalisland’s Dennis Taylor in their opening clash. Taylor triumphed with a whopping 69.4% of the vote, sending the La Liga giants packing.

He was up against Steve Davis in the 1985 World Snooker Championship final. Many expected Davis to win comfortably. He was the world number one, having won three of the last four world championships.

Taylor didn’t have anything like that pedigree – he’d only ever reached the final before in 1979, when he was beaten by Terry Griffiths.

The match started as many expected it to go on, with Davis 8-0 up after the start of the season session. He then had the change to go nine up, only to miss a thin cut on the green ball. That signalled a shift in momentum, with Taylor winning six of the next seven frames to make it 7-9 at the end of the first day.

The second day say Taylor level the scores at 11-11, then again at 15-15, but he’d not been ahead at any stage of the match. Davis then went up 17-15, taking him just one frame away from a fourth world title. But Taylor wasn’t done, taking frame 33 and then making a break of over 50 to take it to a deciding frame.

That final frame was an epic – lasting over an hour to take the match past midnight. With four balls left to play, Davis led 62-44. Taylor needed all four of them to win and potted the brown, blue and pink, which meant the championship rested on the black ball.

Both players passed up several chances to win, but when Davis overcut the black, Taylor made no mistake to complete one of the great comebacks.

Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League final win against AC Milan

Rafael Benitez Champions League

Like Taylor, Liverpool cruised into our quarter-finals. They won 68.7% of the vote against Cleveland Cavalier’s turnaround against Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals.

Liverpool had it all to do in the 2005 Champions League final, when they came up against AC Milan.

That Milan team was stacked with world-class talent – Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Andrea Pirlo, Kaka and Andriy Shevchenko were just a handful of the names in the starting XI that night.

As daunting as the Reds’ task was, it almost immediately became more difficult when Maldini scored just a minute into the game.

Liverpool’s plans were in disarray, with Harry Kewell’s early injury not helping matters. Vladimir Smicer replaced the Australian, but Rafa Benitez’s side struggled to get into the game.

Hernan Crespo made it 2-0 after 39 minutes, before racing on to a jaw-dropping Kaka pass to make it 3-0 before the interval.

The game seemed to be done and dusted at that point. Dietmar Hamann came on for Steve Finnan at half-time as Benitez changed the shape, seemingly in a damage-limitation exercise.

But his team, and Steven Gerrard especially, had other ideas. Gerrard headed in to give Liverpool a lifeline after 54 minutes, setting an astonishing turnaround in motion.

Smicer quickly grabbed another goal. Now Milan were rocking. Gennaro Gattuso brought down Gerrard in the box, with Xabi Alonso stepping up to take the penalty. His effort was saved, but he tucked away the rebound. Within six minutes, Liverpool had fought back from 3-0 down to make it 3-3.

Both sides had chances to win it, with Jerzy Dudek making a miraculous double-save to deny Shevchenko.

It went to penalties and Dudek proved to be the hero. He did enough to put off Pirlo, then saved the final penalty from Shevchenko to complete the miracle of Istanbul.

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Daniel Anwar

Daniel has written about sport for Coral, Squawka, FourFourTwo and the Premier League, among others.