Liverpool’s Biggest European Wins

On the 14th of March, 2024, Liverpool put Czech side Sparta Prague to the sword 6-1 despite once again fielding a starting XI with a number of youngsters due to their lengthy injury list. That emphatic win at Anfield only just bettered the result they earned in the first leg when they won 5-1, giving them an overall aggregate scoreline of 11-2.

It was a good night for other English clubs too, as West Ham won 5-0 at home against Freiburg and Aston Vill beat Ajax 4-0. However, Liverpool sent out the clearest message with their gargantuan aggregate victory but how does that 11-2 compare to their biggest European wins of all time? And what is their largest margin of victory over one game on the continent?

Liverpool’s Biggest European Win Over Two Legs

StrømsgodsetLiverpool’s biggest-ever win over two legs came fully 50 years ago (well, fully as in, a few months less than!) when they humiliated Norwegian side Strømsgodset (or Strømsgodset Toppfotball to use their full name) 12-0! The minnows, from the borough of Gulskogen (population around 4,000), were well and truly outclassed but at least they got to enjoy a big night out at Anfield.

“Enjoy” may be the wrong word though as they were hammered 11-0 at Anfield (more on that below) before being beaten by a very respectable 1-0 scoreline on home soil. That 12-0 aggregate defeat came in the first round of the 1974/75 European Cup Winners’ Cup, a competition which was merged into the Europa League in 1999.

At this stage the Reds were just entering their era of domination and had won the English First Division, as it was then known, in 1972/73, finishing second in the following two seasons. After their demolition job against Strømsgodset they were surprisingly beaten by Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros in the next round, losing 1-1 due to the away goals rule. The following season they would win the UEFA Cup, however, before then winning the biggest prize of them all, the European Cup (now UEFA Champions League) in 1976/77 and 1977/78.

As for Strømsgodset, Phil Boersma certainly had a night to forget in the first leg as we shall see below. However, whilst they were pretty much out of the tie after just 42 minutes of the first leg, already 5-0 down, they were not the only team to take a beating in the opening round of the competition.

Danish side Vanlose lost 8-1 on aggregate to Benfica, whilst Real Madrid beat Icelandic outfit Fram 8-0, but the result from which Strømsgodset can take the most comfort is the one that Northern Irish club Ards had to endure. Classy Dutch giants PSV battered them 10-0 in Netherlands before winning 4-1 away, the 14-1 aggregate score being one of the heaviest in European history.

Liverpool’s Other Huge Two-Legged Wins

OPS logo Liverpool have won so many major European trophies – six Champions Leagues (including European Cups) and three Europa Leagues ahead of the 2023/24 season – and competed in Europe so frequently that it is no surprise they have recorded a good number of big wins on the continent. What is perhaps surprising, however, is that their second-best win is 11-2, and that they have achieved that on two occasions.

As noted above, they beat Sparta Prague by that margin in 2024 but they have also beaten Finnish outfit OPS by the same score. That win came in the more prestigious European Cup/Champions League, in 1980/81. This clash was far tighter than the one with Sparta Prague though and was in the balance at “half-time”.

The Finns, also known as Oulun Palloseura, managed to draw the first leg on home soil 1-1 and must have at least dared to dream they could nick a result in the return. However, that notion was soon wiped from their minds as both Terry McDermott and, unusually, Graeme Souness, rattled in trebles. Souness got the first after just five minutes and by the break, the Reds were four up and out of sight.

Don’t Dismiss Dundalk

Dundalk FC logoWhat about Dundalk (we hear virtually nobody screaming)? Well, the Reds did once batter Irish outfit Dundalk 14-0 over two legs. They won 10-0 on home soil before taking it easy on the Emerald Isle to ease to that 14-0 margin overall.

However, this was in the 1969/70 Fairs Cup, or Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Whilst some view that competition as a forerunner to the UEFA Cup, and thus the Europa League, it was not a UEFA-sanctioned competition. Impressive as the Reds were that night, supposedly with a young Gerrard Houllier watching on from the stands, we will, with a heavy heart (not really), dismiss Dundalk.

Liverpool scored inside the first minute at Anfield and added another four by the break. Five more goals followed in the second half before the 4-0 win in Ireland. However, as this was not a UEFA competition, it is typically not classed as a major European trophy and thus, we do not include it among the Reds’ records.

What is Liverpool’s Biggest Win Over One Leg in Europe?

UEFA Cup logoAs we have touched on, Liverpool’s biggest-ever win in any major European competition in a single game is the 11-0 success they managed against the Norwegian team Strømsgodset on the 17th of September, 1974.

The Reds raced into a 5-0 lead in the first half, scoring a penalty (Alec Lindsay) after just three minutes. A Phil Thompson strike was sandwiched between two own goals for the unfortunate Phil Boersma, whose Anfield dream quickly became a nightmare. Steve Heighway completed the first-half scoring after 42 minutes.

Godset, to use the Norwegians’ nickname, must have been pleased with their start to the second period and kept things to 5-0 until the 65th minute, when Peter Cormack made it six. Sadly for the away side, the final 25 minutes would be something of a rout, as Thompson got his second of the night, Emlyn Hughes made it eight, and Tommy Smith, Ian Callaghan and Ray Kennedy turned it from 8-0 to 11-0 between the 85th and 88th minutes.

Liverpool had nine different goalscorers on the night, with own goals from one player being the joint top-scorer. This may well be a European record, and certainly beats the Premier League high which is eight different scorers, recorded when Newcastle beat Sheffield United 8-0 in 2023.