While city authorities have been implementing security and crowd control measures, bar owners have been making their own careful preparations.
“We are keeping a lot of stock of beer. We are of course happy about that,” Dogan Ozdemir, a 40-year-old bar owner in Beyoglu, the main nightlife district of Istanbul, told CNN Sport.
He doesn’t want a repeat of 2005 when in what is dubbed “the Miracle of Istanbul,” Liverpool came back from a three-goal deficit to nab the Champions League title from AC Milan, winning 4-3 on penalties.
Liverpool fans celebrated in bars and pubs until the morning after that famous win milking the alcohol stocks in the main commercial district of Istanbul dry.
“We started selling whatever we had left at that point — we ran out of beer, we gave them whiskey, we ran out of that we gave them vodka, we ran out of vodka, we gave them gin and finally they were drinking raki,” said Dogan referring to the Turkish anise flavored spirit.
Liverpool have reportedly taken 5,973 tickets for the final, while Chelsea asked for 1,314 at Besiktas’s 41,000 capacity stadium.
The Liverpool sign is up at Dogan’s bar and the bartenders will be serving in Liverpool jerseys.
Dogan has been a Liverpool fan since the 2005 win and later the transfer of Dirk Kuyt from Liverpool to Fenerbahce. But that’s not the only reason he is getting ready to host Liverpool fans.
As a part of the security measures city for Wednesday’s final, authorities have designated the main nightlife neighborhoods of Beyoglu and Besiktas between Liverpool and Chelsea fans respectively. And smack dab in the middle is the Vodafone Park Arena where the game will be played.
The Istanbul governorship has issued a statement detailing the security measures to be implemented including cutting traffic in the main arteries leading up to and around the stadium and the adjacent neighborhoods.
The city has also deployed rapid emergency response teams in positions throughout the city, while a crisis desk has been set up.
The security measures will be supported by helicopters in the air, boats and divers in the sea and special forces on land if needed, the Istanbul governorship said in the statement.
Across the stadium in the neighborhood of Besiktas that is home to the team of the same name pub manager Cem Duran is also stocking up, doubling his orders in anticipation of brisk sales.
He says he is happy to see the neighborhood designated for Chelsea.
“Liverpool scored eight goals against Besiktas a few years ago so I support Chelsea,” he said referring to the 8-0 whopping delivered against the Besiktas football club in a 2007 Champions League game.
But there is one player he’ll be rooting for in Liverpool.
“Mohammad Salah is playing. He is Muslim and so are we. So even though I don’t like Liverpool I want him to do well,” he said referring, to the Liverpool’s Egyptian international.
The game offers something for everyone.
“I’m getting ready psychologically. It’s going to be hard to communicate because of the language issue. We are going to obviously try to host them well,” said 23-year-old bartender Rozarin Alp.
She has “no interest in football whatsoever” but there is one thing she is looking forward to.
“As a feminist woman, I’m obviously looking forward to seeing a woman leading the game,” said Cem. “Will that help her control the crowd who come in to drink better? “I already do that,” she quipped.