This was a Champions League tie played not by modern millionaire footballers but by maniacs with what appeared to be a mutual desire to push the self-destruct button.
A tie as memorable for the madness as the moments of pure brilliance was settled by a quite superb Frank Lampard goal but almost won by a Liverpool side who dared to ignore their manager's decision to throw in the towel.
Rafa Benitez called time on this epic contest when he replaced the finest striker in the world with David Ngog. Only 10 minutes remained and, with Liverpool still needing three goals to reach the semi-finals, the Spaniard thought it prudent to save Fernando Torres for another day.
But two goals, the first a deflected strike from Lucas and then a thumping header from Dirk Kuyt, in two astonishing minutes suddenly left Benitez looking foolish and his team within touching distance of a comeback more extraordinary than Istanbul.