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In memory of the Liverpool XI from their classic comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul

Liverpool face AC Milan in the Champions League this week, the Italian giant facing one of the club’s most iconic games.

The two teams met in the 2005 Champions League final, with Liverpool entering the competition as a major underdog in its first appearance in a European Cup showpiece in two decades.

Pre-game predictions seemed true when Milan took the lead by three goals at halftime, but Rafael Benitez’s side struggled back in one of the most dramatic major finals in football history.

After the Reds made up a three-goal deficit to force extra time and penalty shoot-outs, the Reds unlikely triumphed by a penalty shoot-out and were crowned European champions for the fifth time in Istanbul.

Here is Liverpool XI from their historic Champions League final comeback against AC Milan.

Goalkeeper: Jerzy Dudek

Jerzy Dudek wrote his name in Liverpool folklore after his heroics in the Champions League final.

Dudek made an extraordinary double save against Andriy Shevchenko in extra time before a penalty shoot-out by the same player sealed Liverpool’s coronation as European champions.

His citing the shaky knee of former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar for the penalty shoot-out only bolstered his standing with the Reds, with Andrea Pirlo also being denied from the pitch on a throbbing evening in Turkey.

Right-Back: Steve Finnan

Finnan has been a model of consistency over six seasons as a Liverpool player and the former Republic of Ireland has been a trusted performer for Rafael Benitez’s side.

The right-back was solid defensively and often a threat when venturing forward, but his final ended prematurely after being substituted on at halftime with an injury after conceding a one-sided performance from Milan.

Center-back: Jamie Carragher

Carragher, one of two Liverpoolers in the team’s Champions League winning contingent, was part of a defense that was ruthlessly torn apart in the first 45 minutes before reforming and fighting after the break.

Carragher made a number of pivotal interventions as Liverpool rode their luck in the second half and overtime, coping with cramps as he tried to keep Milan at bay.

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The center-back – whose 737 appearances for Liverpool rank him second on the club’s all-time list – was the voice that pushed Dudek’s theater ahead of the shootout.

Center-back: Sami Hyypia

While Carragher improved as the game progressed, Hyypia initially struggled to live with Milan’s attacking options as the move of Andriy Shevchenko and Hernan Crespo put the formidable Finnish international in trouble.

Proved to be one of Liverpool’s best businesses in the Premier League era, Hyypie arrived relatively unknown from Willem II before spending a decade on Merseyside.

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The center-back won six major honors and was the captain of the Reds before handing over responsibility to an aspiring Steven Gerrard, who made 464 appearances in all competitions for the club.

Left-back: Djimi Traore

Djimi Traore’s time at Liverpool can be defined by two moments with very different fates, with his role in the Reds’ triumph in Istanbul and a weird own goal at Burnley, which are lasting memories of his time on Merseyside.

The full-back was overwhelmed for much of the final against Milan but managed a crucial goal-line defense to keep Shevchenko off and ensure the results stayed level after Liverpool caught up in the second half.






Midfield: Xabi Alonso

Alonso played his first season at Liverpool following his arrival from Real Sociedad last summer, with the midfielder showing a glimpse of the quality that would make the Spaniard one of the best of his generation.

After failing to get a grip on Milan’s midfield before the break, he improved after half with solid passes and converted Liverpool’s equalizer – he turned the rebound home after Dida parried his first penalty.

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He spent five seasons with Liverpool before moving to Real Madrid and won the second Champions League title with the Spanish giants as well as three championship titles at Bayern Munich and three international tournaments in a row with Spain.

Remarkably, Alonso’s penalty in Istanbul was the first he had ever scored in professional football.

Midfield: Steven Gerrard

Gerrard failed to impress during a memorable first-half performance before stepping forward in the second half to cement his Liverpool legend.

The captain’s brilliant header sparked initial hopes of defense before Gennaro Gattuso knocked the midfielder down after a stormy run into the box and awarded Liverpool the penalty to equalize.

Gerrard’s drive and will to win helped to turn the tide, with the midfielder’s defensive work being crucial for the Reds in the second half as he filled in the gaps in the right-back after Finnan’s half-time injury-related substitution.

Gerrard established himself as arguably Liverpool’s greatest player after graduating from the academy, winning seven major awards and captaining the club for over a decade.

Right winger: Luis Garcia

Garcia was crucial for Liverpool’s entry into the final, but in the flagship game against Milan Garcia did not miss the desired effect.

His on-track performance secured his spot as a firm fan favorite in his first season, however, when Garcia scored five goals in the Champions League knockout stage, including a staggering distance against Juventus in the last eight and the “Ghost Goal” semi-final winner against Chelsea.

The Spaniard made 122 appearances for Liverpool in three seasons, scoring 30 goals.

Left winger: John Arne Riise

The Norwegian raged forward in left Liverpool for seven seasons and always presented a threat to the front, whether as a left-back or further down.

Riise’s fondness for a thunder bastard made him a popular figure on the Anfield Terraces, although he initially fought Cafu in the last game against Milan.

However, he made the cross for Steven Gerrard’s goal but was the only Liverpool player to miss on penalties after his shot was saved by Dida.

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Fortunately for Riise, his mistake didn’t turn out to be costly as the Reds’ success in the Champions League was the culmination of a Liverpool career that played 348 games.

Attacking midfield: Harry Kewell

Kewell’s inclusion in the starting XI came as a surprise, but a dream appearance in the biggest game in club football ended in heartbreak for the Australian, who hobbled off after just 23 minutes – his substitution was greeted with derision by parts of his own support.

It was a microcosm of Kewell’s career at Liverpool as a whole, the flashes of brilliance that he so often demonstrated at Leeds often mixed with injury problems during a difficult period.

For the Reds, he played only 93 league games in five seasons and scored 12 goals.

Forward: Milan Baros

Michael Owen’s departure to Real Madrid last season gave Milan Baros the chance to take the lead for Liverpool in 2004/05, with the Czech international ending up as top scorer at Euro 2004.

Baros scored two goals while the Reds made it into the final, but received little change from Jaap Stam and Alessandro Nesta for much of the competition.

His clever ploy in Gerrard’s path, however, resulted in the penalty and the crucial third Liverpool player, in one of Baros’ final appearances for the club after signing for Aston Villa in August 2005.


Deputy: Vladimir Smicer

Smicer was used as an early replacement for Kewell in his last appearance for Liverpool, with the Czech midfielder scoring the Reds’ second goal with a low finish behind Dida.

It was Smicer’s only goal in a season when he only made five starts in all competitions.

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In the subsequent penalty shootout, he casually converted his penalty, a perfect final for a player whose career was largely mixed with the club.

Deputy: Dietmar Hamann

Didi Hamann was probably the introduction that changed the course of the finale. Didi Hamann was a surprising failure of the starting XI as Benitez opted for an unusually offensive line-up in Istanbul.

The German’s absence resulted in Kaka raging behind an open midfield in the first half, but Hamann’s secure presence helped Liverpool reduce Milan’s marauding runs in the Reds’ back four.

Hamann played the final stages of the final with a broken foot and even stepped up to score Liverpool’s first penalty in the penalty shoot-out.

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The midfielder proved to be an outstanding servant of the club over seven seasons on Merseyside after leaving Newcastle in 1999.

Deputy: Djibril Cisse

Djibril Cisse’s debut season in Liverpool was tarnished after a horrific tibia and fibula fracture, but he returned in shock ahead of schedule in the closing stages of the season.

The striker came on as a substitute for Milan Baros five minutes before the end of regular time and although he had no clear goal in mind, he stepped forward to convert a penalty when Liverpool became European champions.

Read – In memory of the AC Milan side who beat Cruyff’s Dream Team 4-0 in the UCL final

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