The teams had qualified for the competition by winning their continent's primary cup competition. Independiente qualified by winning the primary South American cup competition, the Copa Libertadores. They won the 1984 Copa Libertadores defeating Brazilian team Grêmio 3–1 on points in the finals. Liverpool qualified by winning the primary European cup competition, the European Cup. They beat Italian team Roma 4–2 in a penalty shoot-out after the match finished 1–1.
Watched by a crowd of 62,000, Indenpendiente took the lead in the sixth minute when José Percudani scored. Liverpool had the better of the possession during the match but they were unable to convert their chances ad the match finished in a 1–0 victory to Independiente. The win was the Argentine's second triumph in the competition, and the fifth in a row by the South American team.
Indenpendiente qualified for the Intercontinental Cup as the reigning Copa Libertadores winners. They had won the 1984 Copa Libertadores beating Grêmio 3–1 on points over two legs in the finals. It would be Indenpendiente's sixth appearance in the competition. Their previous five appearances had resulted in one win in 1973 and four defeats in 1964, 1965, 1972 and 1974.
Liverpool had qualified for the Intercontinental Cup as a result of winning the 1983–84 European Cup. They had beaten Roma 4–2 in a penalty shoot-out after the match finished 1–1 to win their fourth European Cup. Liverpool were appearing in their second Intercontinental Cup. Their appearance in 1981 resulted in a 3–0 defeat against Flamengo. Liverpool were scheduled to appear in 1977 and 1978 but didn't compete. They declined to play in 1977 and were replaced by runners-up Borussia Mönchengladbach, while in 1978, Liverpool and Boca Juniors declined to play each other.
Before the match Liverpool lost defender Mark Lawrenson who had injured his hamstring in training. Gary Gillespie was his replacement. Liverpool kicked off the match, but they conceded a goal after six minutes. Claudio Marangoni sent a ball over the Liverpool defence for striker José Percudani, whose low shot beat the advancing Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar to give Independiente a 1–0 lead.
Despite being the better team for the majority of the match, Liverpool were unable to beat the Independiente defence, with their shooting in front of goal being the culprit. Both sides questioned some of the referee's decisions. Liverpool believed they should have had two penalties, while Independiente felt that the assistant referee decisions were questionable. Incidentally, the referee had served half of his two match ban handed out by the Brazilian Football Association.
Despite the defeat, Liverpool manager Joe Fagan could fault the effort his players had put in: "Independiente are a good defensive tactical team and we could find no way through, the weather was ideal, we were just as fit as they were. The South Americans have better ball control than we do. We were disappointed with the result but I wasn't disappointed with the display."