Whatever happened to Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League winning side?

2005 Champions League finalOn 25 May 2005 Liverpool FC overturned a 3-0 deficit against Italian side AC Milan to win their fifth European Cup in one of the greatest comebacks ever seen.

Three goals in six, crazy second-half minutes levelled the scores, before The Reds triumphed on penalties. Captain Steven Gerrard and club stalwart Jamie Carragher remain the only two Anfield survivors from that astonishing night, so what happened to the rest of the Istanbul heroes?

GK: Jerzy Dudek

Polish stopper Jerzy Dudek earned himself cult status amongst Reds fans for his match-winning performance against Milan in the final. Dudek made a point-blank double save from striker Andriy Shevchenko at the end of extra-time to keep his side in it. He also saved two penalties, with some Bruce Grobbelaar inspired theatrics, in the shoot-out.

Dudek remained at Anfield for another two seasons but only featured another 12 times under Rafael Benitez, following the arrival of Pepe Reina from Villarreal in 2005. La Liga giants Real Madrid signed him on a free transfer in 2007, where Dudek has remained ever-since, despite limited appearances. Dudek signed a one-year contract extension this summer.

RB: Steve Finnan

Defender Steve Finnan remained a key member of the Liverpool squad after 2005 and started in the club’s 2007 Champions League re-run against i Rossoneri. After 145 appearances for Liverpool over five years, the Irishman was allowed to leave on deadline day in 2008 by manager Benitez.

Finnan signed for Espanyol that summer, however a series of injuries meant Finnan only made four appearances during a one-year spell in Spain. In June 2009, Finnan agreed a mutual termination of his contract before signing for crisis club Portsmouth. Pompey were relegated last season but made it to a FA Cup final, where they lost to Chelsea. It was Finnan’s last appearance for the club and the 34-year-old is currently a free agent.

CB: Jamie Carragher

Local lad Jamie Carragher cemented his position as the club’s first-choice centre-back in 2005 when he was named the club’s Player of the Year after a series of impressive performances.

Carragher remains at the club today and has made over 600 appearances for The Reds. His established service was celebrated in a testimonial last month. Carragher, 32, is close to agreeing a new one-year deal with the club which he is expected to sign over the coming weeks.

CB: Sami Hyypia

Following the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’, Finland captain Sami Hyypia signed a new three-year deal which expired in 2008. Hyypia eventually moved to German side Bayern Leverkusen in 2009 where he was an instant success.

New manager Roy Hodgson attempted to bring Hyypia back to Anfield this summer as a player/coach, but could not persuade the Bundesliga club to release him from his contract. Hodgson revealed:

“We couldn’t get him out of his contract. He’s one I would also put in the Jamie Carragher-Steven Gerrard mould – Liverpool for life.

“I’m a bit disappointed that my attempts to bring Sami Hyypia back failed.”

LB: Djimi Traore

Unorthodox defender Djimi Traore had an awful first-half in Istanbul, immediately conceding the free-kick that led to Italian veteran Paulo Maldini’s opening goal. The Malian had another season at Anfield but eventually lost his place to John Arne Riise and Stephen Warnock.

A £2m move to Charlton in 2006 was a disaster and Traore was sold to Portsmouth only a year later. After loan moves to both Birmingham and Rennes, Traore eventually moved to Monaco last season where he has become an instant first-team regular.

See what happened to the midfielders on PAGE TWO…

RM: Luis Garcia

Fan favourite Luis Garcia left Merseyside in 2007 after sustaining a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury against Arsenal in January that year.

The diminutive Spaniard weighed in with some crucial goals on Liverpool’s astonishing run to the final, most notably his ‘ghost goal’ against Chelsea in the semi-final. Garcia had a brief spell at Racing Santander before moving to Greek side Panathinaikos this summer, on a one-year deal. Garcia returned to Anfield and a heroes welcome for Carragher’s testimonial last month.

CM: Xabi Alonso

Spaniard Xabi Alonso was a key figure in Liverpool’s comeback in 2005, scoring the equaliser from a rebound after his initial penalty kick was saved by Brazilian Dida.

Alonso’s performances started to attract interest from Real Madrid who pursued the playmaker over the summer of 2008. Liverpool resisted their overtures, but in 2009 Los Blancos secured the £30m signature of Alonso after the player fell out with manager Benitez. Alonso was a huge success at Madrid in his debut season at the Bernabeu, being nominated for a place in the La Liga Team of the Season.

CM: Steven Gerrard

Inspirational captain Steven Gerrard sparked the epic comeback against Milan, rising high to head in Riise’s cross on 54 minutes. He then lifted the trophy before falling asleep next to the famous cup in his hotel room later that night.

After the final he exclaimed: ‘How can I leave after a night like this?’ amid strong interest from Chelsea. However a spectacular miscommunication between Gerrard and the club nearly drove their captain into the arms of the West Londoners that summer. Gerrard, of course, stayed and committed his future to the club this summer after last season’s disappointing league campaign.

LM: John Arne Riise

Flame-haired defender/winger John Arne Riise assisted Gerrard’s first goal but later missed a penalty in the shoot-out.

In 2008, the Norwegian moved to Italian side Roma where he has established himself as a first-team regular.

See what happened to the strikers and subs on PAGE THREE…

AMC: Harry Kewell

Harry Kewell was controversially named in the Champions League starting XI, despite just 18 league appearances that season. His final lasted just 23 minutes however when he was substituted with a torn adductor muscle.

After a succession of injuries, Kewell moved to Galatasaray in 2008 after rejecting a new contract from Liverpool. The move drew criticism from fans of his former club Leeds, who had two fans killed in violent clashes before a UEFA Cup semi-final between the sides in 2000. Kewell has been a hit in Turkey, scoring 18 in 47 appearances for Aslanlar.

FW: Milan Baros

Milan Baros had little impact in spells at Villa, Lyon and Portsmouth but is currently banging in the goals for Galatasaray following a move to Turkey in 2008

Substitutes:

Dietmar Hamann: Second-half substitute whose performance was the catalyst for Liverpool’s comeback. Scored the first penalty with a broken foot. Now a player/coach at MK Dons following a spell at Man City.

Vladimir Smicer: Smicer struck a sweeping shot from 20 yards to make it 3-2 and also scored a penalty in his last game for the club. Smicer now helps coach the Czech Republic national side following spells at Bordeaux and a return to former club Slavia Prague.

Djibril Cisse: Scored a penalty and left the club in 2006 to join French side Marseille. Following an indifferent loan spell at Sunderland, Cisse moved to Panathinaikos in 2009 where he has bagged 26 goals in 30 appearances.

Manager: Rafael Benitez

The great tactician masterminded his side’s run to the final during his first season with the club. Benitez managed the club until this summer and left following a difficult last season with the club. Now top of the Serie A league with Inter Milan.

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