Liverpool have just kicked off their first European Champions League campaign in 6 years with a 2-1 win over Ludogorets at Anfield.
Liverpool’s last triumph in Europe was that unforgettable night in Istanbul back in 2005 when they came back from 3-0 down to defeat AC Milan in a dramatic penalty shootout.
So where are the 2005 Anfield heroes now?
Premier Sports Memorabilia has tracked down the players from the best ever Champions League Final below:
1. Jerzy Dudek – Real Madrid, retired 2011
Dudek is ranked 36 in the list of Players who shook the Kop. The Polish goalkeeper was a catalyst in Liverpool’s victory over AC Milan. His double save against Shevchenko in the extra time of the 2005 Champions League final made it possible for Liverpool to stage a successful come back. He received his second goalkeeper of the year nomination that year as a result of his performance in the penalty shoot outs when he saved two important penalties of Pirlo and Shevchenko because of which the Merseyside giants 3-2 on penalties.
Dudek ended his career at Real Madrid, where he didn’t get many opportunities. Dudek being an icon for Poland, played a crucial part as the ambassador of Euro 2012.
3. Steve Finnan – Portsmouth, retired 2010
Although Finnan’s career at Liverpool started with an injury, it didn’t take much time for him to become a firm fan’s favourite. He wasn’t involved in the spectacular come back of the final as he was substituted at half time after a thigh injury.
Finnan ended his career at Portsmouth in 2010. He wasn’t offered a new deal after the club got relegated to the Championship.
4. Sami Hyypia – Bayer Leverkusen, retired 2011
Sami gave ten wonderful years of his career at Liverpool and was loved by everyone at the Kop. Sami Hyypia supported Liverpool from his boyhood days and winning the Champions League with the club was his dream. The central defender was magnificent at the back for Liverpool.
Hyypia ended his playing career at Bayer Leverkusen in 2011. He became the assistant manager at the club in 2010 and was given the full charge in 2012. Hyypia is doing a commendable job as the manager and in Germany, Leverkusen is one of the most feared teams.
5. Milan Baros – Antalyaspor, Turkey
Milan Baros played for a lot of clubs including Aston Villa, Galatasaray and Lyon. The Czech international was one of the most important player in Benitez’s army. He played the 2005 season as the lone striker as the club won their 5th European Cup.
Baros is playing for a club in the Turkish Super League where his contract will expire this summer.
6. John Arne Riise – Fulham, England
The left-back always managed to get on the score sheet for Liverpool. Although his penalty in the shootout of 2005 final was saved, he did provide a significant assist for the first Liverpool goal. After a brief stint at Roma, Riise was back to the Premier League in 2011 with Fulham.
7. Harry Kewell – Melbourne Heart, Australia, retired 2014
The 35-year-old attacking midfielder is playing for Melbourne Hearts in the A-League. Kewell didn’t have any significant impact on the game as he was substituted in the 23rd minute for Smicer, who went on to score a goal.
8. Steven Gerrard – Liverpool, England
Gerrard is and always will be captain fantastic for the Kop. He has leading both club and country over the years and his work rate is still exceptional. Stevie G is having a great season with Liverpool as they are looking to go one better than last seasons second place finish.
9. Djibril Cisse – SC Bastia, France
Alike Baros, Cisse too has played for numerous clubs across Europe. Cisse scored 13 goals in 49 games for Liverpool. He was brought on in the 85th minute for Milan Baros. He went on to score and important penalty for the English giants. It is highly likely that the 32-year-old would soon call time to his career.
10. Luis Garcia – UNAM, Mexico
The 35-year-old finished his career with only the Champions League medal as his biggest achievement. Garcia wasn’t part of the Spain side that won the 2 Euros and a World Cup. Yet Garcia is still loved by Athletico Madrid and Liverpool fans for his services to the club.
11. Vladimír Šmicer – Slavia Prague, retired 2009
Smicer scored a goal as well as a penalty in the Champions League final in Istanbul. Without him Liverpool would have the tally of four European Cups. Smicer retired from club and international football in 2009.
14. Xabi Alonso – Bayern Munich, Germany
Xabi Alonso is still doing a great job for the Spanish giants Real Madrid. An important focal point of the reigning European and World Champions, Alonso alongside Gerrard was among the players who steered that comeback. Xabi still has a lot to give to both club and country if he could keep himself fit.
16. Dietmar Hamann – Milton Keynes Dons, retired 2011
Hamman played 7 seasons for Liverpool. The midfielder didn’t had an eye for goal, yet he could dictate the game with his vision and passing ability. He scored the first penalty in the shootouts against AC Milan. He called time on his career in 2011.
23. Jamie Carragher – Liverpool, retired 2013
Jamie Carragher finished his Liverpool career as one of the greatest players in the club’s history. A loyal servant to the Kop, Carragher is now a TV presenter alongside Manchester United’s Gary Neville. It is quite interesting to see such big rivals talking football and bringing in their perspective with every major and minor incident.
Rafael Benitez – Napoli
After failed stints at Inter Milan and Chelsea, Benitez is finding some success at Italian club Napoli. Can he lead them to the European Champions League Final like he did with Liverpool?