After 20 years off the major European football stage, Liverpool FC, under new Spanish manager Rafael Benitez, faced utter humiliation at half-time in the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul. Three goals down to the brutally efficient and talented AC Milan, the inexperienced new Liverpool - an uneasy mix of local heroes, young Spaniards and soon-to-be-outcasts - was staring down the barrel of a possible record European Cup final defeat in front of 40,000 of its own fans and a global TV audience of hundreds of millions. That is until six extraordinary minutes of second-half carnage, allied to Red courage and resolve, changed the very course of European football history and mapped a new direction for the future of a club with a magnificent European past.The Miracle of Istanbul offers an insight into the many foreign highs and domestic lows of the amazing 2004-05 Liverpool season, as well as mapping out key connections between the great Liverpool European legacy of the 1970s and '80s and the new Benitez era - via a detour of the ultimately doomed Gerard Houllier period of initial Continental Liverpool management. It also looks at some of the key players of the recent successful European campaign - Gerrard, Hamman, Carragher and the erratic Jerzy Dudek among them - and at the music and football cultures in the city that have uniquely shaped what is still known locally as the Liverpool Way. The book compares the new Liverpool manager with his key rivals: his Iberian 'cousin' Jose Mourhino at Chelsea and the fiercely competitive David Moyes at neighbours Everton. But it ends - as it must - on that glorious night of 25 May in Istanbul, with fans' recollections and memories. It also asks: exactly what does the 2005 European triumph mean for the city of Liverpool and for the future direction of Liverpool football club under its modest but impressive new Spanish leadership?