HISTORY has a wonderful habit of repeating itself in football as the sense of destiny carried Liverpool to another European trophy.
They returned to the scene of their greatest comeback to show exactly why Liverpool have, down the years, established themselves as a European super power. They simply never give up.
Another fightback, more extra time and an unlikely hero in the penalty shoot-out. The script was written in Liverpool’s Champions League final in Istanbul in 2005 and then repeated on another remarkable night.
Back then it was Jerzy Dudek who was the shoot-out hero, this time it was stand-in keeper Adrian who saved substitute Tammy Abraham’s penalty to break Chelsea ’s hearts and resistance.
Fourteen years ago, it was Steven Gerrard who led the rallying cry and reminded his team mates of Liverpool’s glorious European history to inspire the fightback against AC Milan from 3-0 down at half time.
This time it was Sadio Mane who scored twice as Liverpool came from behind at half time, took the lead in extra time and yet, in reality, Chelsea will count themselves desperately unlucky to lose the European Super Cup.
The debate always rages about the importance of this trophy - effectively a European Community Shield between the winners of the Champions League and Europa League - but if you put two lots of players together they forget all the talk and just rely on their winning instincts.
As the clock reached 1am on a balmy night in Istanbul, Liverpool lifted the trophy to the delight of their fans in the stadium as the fireworks lit up the sky in glorious red.
But neither Jurgen Klopp or Frank Lampard would have wanted extra time let alone penalties ahead of a long journey home with tough Premier League fixtures this weekend.
The players looked shattered, Liverpool dragging themselves around the pitch in celebration while Chelsea had long since disappeared back to the dressing room.
It was of course a night of pride for English football but a marathon epic. Chelsea bossed the first half as Olivier Giroud put them ahead after 36 minutes with a clinical finish as N’Golo Kante ran the midfield and Pedro smashed a shot against the crossbar.
Liverpool changed it at half time, Klopp bringing on Roberto Firmino for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the front three of Mane, Firmino and Mo Salah ready to cause havoc which is exactly what they did.
Mane levelled after 48 minutes as he began a move, Firmino nudged the ball past Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and then Mane bundled it home.
Liverpool could have won it in 90 minutes but for Arrizabalaga’s heroics to deny Virgil van Dijk and Salah with a stunning double save.
But it was Chelsea who began to look stronger. Mane restored Liverpool’s lead after 95 minutes but French referee Stephanie Frappart, the first female official to be in charge of a European final, awarded a penalty after Adrian clumsily fouled Abraham.
Frappart was excellent throughout, took charge and dismissed Liverpool’s protests before Jorginho slotted home. It was Chelsea who could have won it in extra time as Abraham and Mason Mount went close.
But it went to penalties and Firmino, Fabinho, Divock Origi, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Salah all scored while Jorginho, Ross Barkley, Mount and Emerson converted for Chelsea.
Liverpool keeper Adrian did not look great in the game, he is not in the same class as injured first choice Alisson and yet he produced the crucial save to deny Abraham with his legs.
And on nights like these, we only remember the heroic moments.