Monthly Archives: May 2014

Gerrard Raises the 2005 Champions League Trophy after a legendary comeback against AC Milan

Where Were You When Liverpool Won It Five Times?

Gerrard Raises the 2005 Champions League Trophy after a legendary comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul

Gerrard Raises the 2005 Champions League Trophy after a legendary comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul

Today is the nine year anniversary of Liverpool FC’s triumphant come from behind victory against the heavily stacked Italian side AC Milan. On May 25th, 2005, ‘in Istanbul… we won it 5 times.’

Do you remember where you were that day? Were you at the pub? Were you following the updates online? Were you watching at home? I was at work, so I had to record the match. All I had to do was avoid all news websites, social media and texts and phone calls from my friends, in order to watch the Champions League final on tape delay. The results were already in the books by the time I got home and pressed play. I remember that day so vividly, I can retell the story like a DVR.

The game had not even reached the first minute when only 52 seconds in, Paolo Maldini netted the fastest goal ever scored in a UEFA Champions League Final. Two more shots to the heart landed via Hernan Crespo. LFC was down 0-3. Rafa Benitez and our lads dug down deep. I can still see our talismanic Steven Gerrard pretty much will the ball into the goal in the 54th.

Vladimir Smicer gave us hope by scoring two minutes later. We knew we were witnessing magic when in the 60th minute, Xabi Alonso hit the equalizer with a rebound shot after Dida saved the shot from the penalty spot. Liverpool in the span of six minutes, Liverpool was level. We had stunned not only Carlos Ancelotti and AC Milan, but the world. They played the remaining 30 minutes and stoppage time. They played to the 120th minute in a goalless extra time battle.

The energy watching this match was unworldly. I was sitting on the edge of my couch with complete tunnel vision. This was amazing. Momentum was on our side. Destiny was in our corner. The penalty shootout was next. There was a part of me that was still uneasy leading up to the shoot out, but I could not place my finger on it.

In 2005, I had received my first DVR. I had the foresight to add a little bit of extra time to the DVR, in the event that match went to extra time. I was glad I did. Dida versus Jerzy Dudek, this was going to be epic. Just as the penalty shootout was about to start, my DVR stopped playing the match, and the screen froze. The recording was over. The ‘Would you like to save or erase’ menu popped up.

I screamed bloody murder at the top off my lungs.

I had given ample room on the DVR to watch AC Milan and Liverpool battle the 120+ minutes on the pitch. What I did not take into consideration was the possibility of penalties. Since this was 2005, ESPN and FSC were not replaying the match highlights at the time I got back from work. I had to call my friend to describe what happened. After he stopped laughing at me, his description of the shootout sent chills through my spine. I could still vicariously feel the energy of the match as he described Dudek’s heroics. I have never made the mistake of allowing DVR space for extra time, penalties and post game match reports.

Now I know (…and knowing is have the battle. G.I. Joe!). One thing we all know, is we became champions of Europe that day. So where were you on May 25th, 2005? Feel free to share your stories with us on Facebook or Twitter.

If you would love to relive the match with your own personal copy, we do have the Champions of Europe 2005 DVD and the 2005 Champions League Final & Season Review DVD available at the Anfield Shop.



You’ll Never Walk Alone!

Randy Villarba
Anfield Shop Wordsmith

For Liverpool Fans. By Liverpool Fans.

Liverpool FC 2014-2015 Away Kit

What We Learned In Ireland

Liverpool FC 2014-2015 Away Kit

Gerrard, Sturridge and Suarez sporting the new Liverpool FC 2014-2015 away kit from Warrior Football. #DEMAND

Earlier this month we caught another glimpse of the depth building at Liverpool when the squad took a trip to Ireland and dismantled Shamrock Rovers at Aviva Stadium 4-0. Iago Aspas, Fabio Borini, Martin Kelly and Jack Dunn all fired into the goal. We also caught our first glimpse of the new away kit that Liverpool Football Club will be wearing in the 2014-2015 season.

The #DEMAND campaign has started.  The Liverpool FC kit is a classic yellow, with red crest, logos and trim. Warrior Football has no doubt looked back through the LFC archives and film reels, catching that LFC lifts silverware when they sport a yellow away kit. Think back to 2001. But do not just take my word for it, take the word God instead.

“The one I like which is very similar to this one is when I came back in 2007,” said God, our own Robbie Fowler.

“If you think back to when we were successful and when we were winning trophies, you always think of yellow kits.”

We are all seeing the commanding image of LFC captain Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez proudly wearing the form fitting kit.

Suarez, Golf Swings and Spaniards

Speaking of Suarez, that day also put a little water on the transfer coals regarding this off season, when pertaining to leaving Liverpool for a specific team. Sky Sports had brought up Barcelona and Real Madrid in an interview with Suarez. His reply calmed the nerves of the Liverpool faithful, as we are all fearing the moment Spain splashes cash on us at Merseyside.

“I don’t want to answer that,” said Suarez. “I try to avoid press speculation.”

“I know what I want and what my agent says is good for me, but I don’t want to comment on speculation.”

“I didn’t sign any contract with clauses prioritizing a certain team.”

Suarez still has not said he will not leave… However, after the magic of last season. He would be hard pressed to leave the team before they reach their full potential. We are playing Champions League football, aiming for the Six Pack. We are pushed for the title down the stretch, in what was supposed to be another rebuilding season. As long as Brendan Rodgers fills in the squad in properly, I’m sure we will still be singing to the tune of Depeche Mode when Suarez hits the pitch next campaign.

A couple days ago we also saw the retirement of former LFC forward, Craig Bellamy. Thank you for the memories Bellamy. His time on the starting 11 may have been short with Liverpool, but I always admired his fearless tenacity on and off the pitch. I think we all did. Well not John Arne Riise… Fore! (Sorry… I couldn’t resist).

Next season’s end, it will mark the ten year mark of Liverpool FC’s triumph in Istanbul over AC Milan. Our old friend Xabi Alonso was there, and he has been in the news recently, spreading the love as he recalled playing for Liverpool, Champions League 2005 and the magic of the Anfield. Some are even speculating a return to the Merseyside for Alonso. Imagine next season’s campaign; Champions League football, and Alonso back in red. Anything is possible this summer. “Anything is possible!!!”

You’ll Never Walk Alone,

Randy Villarba
Anfield Shop Wordsmith

Justice For The 96! Hillsborough, we will never forget.

Liverpool and Manchester: A Tale of Two Cities

Liverpool and Manchester: A Tale of Two Cities

by Randy Villarba

T’was the best of times, t’was the worst of times… it was the age of Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez, it was the age of David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini. It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness. It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. We had everything before us at the end of the season, we had nothing before us at the beginning. We were all going direct to a heaven we have not seen in 24 years, we were all going direct the other way.  In short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest Kopites insisted on its being received. For Liverpool or for Manchester, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

It was a season that made us dream. A few weeks back, Liverpool FC fans thought we were going to win the league. Anfield was a choir of blind confidence and faith. We felt the emotion, the energy… After 24 years, on the anniversary of Hillsborough, everything was supposed to be lining up. But now… down the road at Manchester, they are singing songs about winning the title.

When LFC dropped the ball, City took it to the box and scored. Many of the pundits have blamed that slip against Chelsea. Others the stumble with Crystal Palace down the stretch. You could rewind the tape to the Christmas gift we gave Hull. I blame no one. Even though we did not win the league, this season was still a success. The trophy may be vaulted down the road, and the songs of the other city may reign this off season. But at least it isn’t being celebrated at Old Trafford. Congratulations to Manchester City… we will see you in New York this summer at Yankee Stadium. Liverpool FC hits the United States in a Summer pre-season tour with matches in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago and NYC for the International Champions Cup.

Brendan Rodgers was awarded the League Managers Association’s Manager of the Year Award for guiding LFC to second. Luis Suarez is, and remains a solid foundation to the Liverpool squad. The support of the fans, manager and players behind him have pretty much put the fire out on his preseason desires to force LFC out of his contract. Add Daniel Sturridge into the fold and we watched the birth of one of the most prolific duos in the game today in SAS. We are a legitimate contender for the title next season, no question.

Finishing second in league means we overachieved the aim for fourth. We are Champions League bound ladies and gents. We may have not lifted the title… but we did raise our confidence and expectations. We are not aiming for 4th place next year. We are aiming for silverware. We are aiming for trophies. We are aiming to win the league. This season Liverpool got its swagger back. We go again next season. We are Liverpool tra la la la la…

You’ll Never Walk Alone!

Randy Villarba
Anfield Shop Wordsmith