Alonso details why famous Liverpool Champions League exit holds "great memories"

Xabi Alonso raised eyebrows by snubbing the 2005 Champions League final as he named the greatest game of his career.

Instead of the so-called Miracle of Istanbul – where Liverpool came back from 3-0 down to triumph over AC Milan on penalties – the former midfielder chose a game which eliminated his side from the competition.

The match in question came in 2009, when Liverpool travelled to Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-finals faced with overturning a 3-1 deficit from the first leg.

What ensued was one of the most enthralling European games of the decade, with Liverpool surging to a 2-0 lead at half-time before a rollercoaster second half ended 4-4.

"One of the greatest I played, and I have great memories about the game, is not one when we won a trophy or even we won – it was a draw," Alonso told The Greatest Game with Jamie Carragher podcast.

"It was the 4-4 at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League quarter-finals.

"It was a game that I enjoyed so much because we lost the home game 3-1 and it was a big, big challenge for us to come back.

"We were specialists in comebacks and it was a big challenge to come back at Stamford Bridge.

"The feeling that I had at half-time, winning 2-0, they were so afraid that they could lose."

Fabio Aurelio's strike and Alonso's penalty fired Liverpool into the lead by half time, but Didier Drogba, Alex and Frank Lampard struck in the second half to put Chelsea in front.

Are you surprised by Alonso's remarks about the 4-4 draw? Have your say in the comments.

A box-office finish saw Liverpool take the lead once again through Lucas Leiva and Dirk Kuyt, only for Lampard to grab his second of the match with moments remaining.

Recalling the occasion, Alonso added: "I have a great feeling about that game, it was very thrilling.

"They scored more goals but we had the chance to get back in the game at 3-4 and at the end the draw.

"The pace, the intensity, I have great, great memories from that game.

"I remember as well, one or two days later, we went to the Hillsborough Memorial and we had such a special reception from everyone in the Kop.

"They felt that even though we didn't make the semi-finals, they were grateful and it became more special."

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