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Liverpool's Champions League history: How many European titles have they won?

19:43 GMT+3 25/05/2018
Steven Gerrard Liverpool Champions League 2005
The English club are one of the most successful teams to take part in the vaunted European tournament, enjoying success in three different decades

Liverpool have a long and illustrious history in the Champions League and they will attempt to add to that rich tapestry when they face Real Madrid in the 2018 final on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp's men are the latest in a celebrated line of players to propel the club into the final of Europe's premier club competition, following a tradition laid down by teams led by Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez.

The Merseyside outfit boasts an impressive record in Champions League finals, tending to win those that they manage to reach, but they come up against the most successful team to grace the tournament when they take to the pitch in Kiev.

Ahead of the game, Goal takes a look back at the Reds' history in the Champions League, how many titles they've won and finals they've lost.

How many Champions League titles have Liverpool won?

Liverpool have reached the final of the Champions League (or European Cup as it was previously known) a total of seven times, emerging victorious on five occasions.

That makes them one of the most successful teams in the history of the competition, putting them level with Bayern Munich and Barcelona in terms of titles won. Only AC Milan (seven) and Real Madrid (12) can claim to be more successful than the English club.

In a British context they are the undisputed European kings, boasting two more titles than bitter rivals Manchester United and three more than Nottingham Forest.

The Reds' first ever European title came in 1977 when they defeated Borussia Monchengladbach in Rome and they defended the title the following year by overcoming Club Brugge in Wembley.

Their next triumph came three years later in 1981 as they beat Real Madrid in Paris and they won it for the fourth time in 1984 by beating Roma on penalties in Rome. 

Liverpool lost to Juventus in the final in Brussels the following year in a game that was tragically overshadowed by the Heysel Stadium Disaster, which resulted in a five-year ban from European competitions for English clubs, with the Merseyside outfit serving six years.

In 2005 - 20 years after their last appearance - the club reached the Champions League final, coming out on top against AC Milan. They came up against the Rossoneri again in the 2007 final, but lost out on that occasion.

Liverpool Champions League final appearances:

Year Result Venue
1977 Liverpool 3-1 Borussia Monchengladbach Stadio Olimpico, Rome
1978 Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge Wembley Stadium, London
1981 Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid Parc des Princes, Paris
1984 Liverpool 1-1 Roma (4-2 pens) Stadio Olimpico, Rome
1985 Juventus 1-0 Liverpool Heysel Stadium, Brussels
2005 AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (2-3 pens) Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul
2007 AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool Olympic Stadium, Athens

1977 European Cup final (first title)

Liverpool 3-1 Borussia Monchengladbach (Rome, May 25, 1977)

Bob Paisley was the man who guided Liverpool to their first ever European Cup as they reached the final of the 1976-77 competition, the year after they won the UEFA Cup.

The format of the premier club tournament was totally different during that time, featuring fewer teams and a series of knock-out games, and the Reds overcame Crusaders, Trabzonspor, Saint-Etienne and FC Zurich en route to the final, where they met Borussia Monchengladbach.

Paisley's team, which boasted the talents of Kevin Keegan, Emlyn Hughes and Ray Clemence among others, comfortably won the game 3-1.

Terry McDermott scored the opener, which was cancelled out by Allan Simonsen, but Tommy Smith restored the lead shortly after. The game was put beyond doubt in the closing 10 minutes after Keegan was fouled in the box by Gladbach captain Berti Vogts and Phil Neal scored the subsequent penalty to seal glory.

1978 European Cup final (second title)

Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge (London, May 10, 1978)

Paisley's Liverpool emulated European greats such as Real Madrid, Benfica, Ajax and Bayern Munich when they retained the European Cup in 1978.

As reigning champions the Reds received a bye in the first round of the competition, but they had a difficult path to the final nonetheless, coming up against Dynamo Dresden in the second round and Benfica in the quarter-finals, while the semi-finals saw them renew acquaintances with Borussia Monchengladbach, who they met in the previous year's final.

The Reds came up against Club Brugge in the final and the Belgian outfit had shown their credentials by beating Atletico Madrid and Juventus in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

A single goal separated the sides at Wembley, with Kenny Dalglish hitting the back of the net mid-way through the second half to grant the Reds their second European Cup.

1981 European Cup final (third title)

Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid (Paris, May 27, 1981)

Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest had usurped Liverpool as England's top team in 1978-79 and 1979-80, but the Reds were soon back at the summit of European football in 1981.

Having overcome Oulun Palloseura, Aberdeen, CSKA Sofia and Bayern Munich, Liverpool set up a final encounter with behemoths Real Madrid, who were appearing in their ninth European Cup final - though, notably, for the first time since 1966.

The game took place at Parc des Princes in Paris, with just under 50,000 fans in attendance. Liverpool's squad included the likes of Dalglish, Phil Thompson and Graeme Souness, while Madrid featured Vicente del Bosque and Uli Stielike in their squad, as well as Englishman Laurie Cunningham.

As with their previous European Cup final in 1978, the game was decided by a solitary second-half goal, with Alan Kennedy scoring in the 82nd minute.

It was a historic occasion as Liverpool became the first British club to win the European Cup three times and Paisley became the first manager to win the competition three times.

1984 European Cup final (fourth title)

Liverpool 1-1 Roma (4-2 on pens) (Rome, May 30, 1984)

In 1984 Liverpool returned to the site of their first ever European Cup triumph as they sought to clinch the trophy for the fourth time, but their task was made all the more difficult by the fact that the other finalists - Roma - had home advantage. 

Joe Fagan took over as manager following Paisley's retirement in 1983 and the team was evolving, with the likes of Ian Rush, Ronnie Whelan and Bruce Grobbelaar complementing the old guard.

The Reds took an early lead at the Olimpico thanks to Neal, who had also previously scored in the 1977 final, but Roma equalised before half-time through Roberto Pruzzo. The sides could not be separated after 90 minutes and extra time, so penalties were required to decide the winner.

Things weren't looking good for Liverpool when Steve Nicol missed the first penalty and Agostino Di Bartolomei scored his, but Grobbelaar's famous theatrics in goal - which involved wobbling his legs - appeared to have an effect on the Roma players as Bruno Conti and Francesco Graziani fired their spot kicks over the bar.

Alan Kennedy, who scored the decisive goal in the 1981 final against Real Madrid, dispatched the winning penalty to clinch Liverpool's fourth European Cup.

1985 European Cup final: Heysel Stadium Disaster

Juventus 1-0 Liverpool (Brussels, May 29, 1985)

Liverpool reached their fifth European Cup final in 1985 as reigning champions and they found themselves up against Italian opposition once more, in the form of Giovanni Trapattoni's Juventus, who were equipped stars such as Michel Platini, Marco Tardelli and Zbigniew Boniek in their ranks.

However, the final was marred by a disaster that occurred prior to kick-off, which claimed the lives of 39 people, injuring hundreds more. Violent confrontations broke out between supporters and a fatal crush ensued.

Despite the distressing scenes around the stadium officials made the decision to go ahead with the game and Juventus won thanks to a Platini penalty.

As well as criminal proceedings against individuals, the aftermath of the disaster saw punishment meted out in the form of a ban on English clubs in general and Liverpool in particular. UEFA prohibited teams from England from competing in their competitions for a period of five years, while the Reds were barred for six years in total.

2005 Champions League final (fifth title)

AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (2-3 on pens) (Istanbul, May 25, 2005)

The ban that followed Heysel and a subsequent downturn in fortunes on the field in the 1990s and 2000s brought an end to Liverpool's period of European dominance, but they reached the top for the fifth time, when they won the Champions League under the stewardship of Rafa Benitez in 2005.

With the likes of Xabi Alonso, Jamie Carragher and captain Steven Gerrard leading the team, Liverpool progressed through a group containing Olympiakos, Deportivo La Coruna and 2004 finalists Monaco. The Reds defeated Bayer Leverkusen in the first knock-out stage before progressing past Juventus and Chelsea in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

Carlo Ancelotti's AC Milan - champions in 2003 - were waiting for them in the final and the Serie A giants were the clear favourites going into the game, with some of the best players in world football, including Paolo Maldini, Andrea Pirlo and Cafu, in their ranks.

And it looked as though the Rossoneri would run away with the trophy by half-time after they took a three-goal lead. Maldini netted within the first minute and Hernan Crespo bagged two in quick succession shortly before the interval.

What followed was one of the most memorable comebacks in the history of football. Gerrard pulled one back for Benitez's side on the 54th minute and Vladimir Smicer scored two minutes later. The Liverpool captain then won a penalty on the hour mark and, while Alonso's spot-kick was saved by Dida, the Spaniard scored on the rebound to level matters.

Having forced the game into extra time Liverpool subsequently managed to keep Milan scoreless and penalties ensued.

Just as Grobbelaar was hailed as the Reds' hero back in 1984, Jerzy Dudek came to their rescue in 2005, helping Serginho send his penalty over the crossbar before saving efforts from Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko.

2007 Champions League final

AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool (Athens, May 23, 2007)

Benitez guided Liverpool to the Champions League final for the second time in 2007 and, as luck would have it, they found themselves up against AC Milan once again.

The Merseyside outfit topped a group ahead of PSV, Bordeaux and Galatasaray before beating Barcelona, PSV and Chelsea in the knock-out stage to reach the final.

However, there was to be no repeat of their Istanbul heroics and the Italians were to have their revenge.

Filippo Inzaghi scored on the stroke of half-time to send the Rossoneri into the break with the lead and the Italy international struck again with just under 10 minutes left in the game.

Dirk Kuyt reduced the deficit on the 89th minute, but it was to be no more than a consolation goal for the Reds as Ancelotti and his side exacted revenge for 2005.