The Reds went into their final Champions League group game in the 2004/05 season knowing they would either have to beat Olympiakos or, if the Greek side scored, beat them by at least two clear goals.
With Rafa Benitez‘s side faltering in the Premier League, they knew that staying in the competition was absolutely paramount. Little did they know that the game would become one of the most important, unforgettable matches in the history of the club.
After Jamie Carragher had a penalty appeal turned down, Sinama Pongolle’s cross was met by Nunez. Although the Spaniard’s header was saved by Antonios Nikopolidis, Mellor was on hand to rifled to ball home with 10 minutes remaining. The comeback was well and truly on.
A frantic finale saw further Liverpool penalty appeals waved away, before Gerrard produced one of his career-defining moments in the dying minutes.
Carragher’s intelligent ball found Mellor, who guided an equally thoughtful header towards Gerrard 25 yards out. The skipper caught his half-volley to perfection, and the ball flew into the corner to send Anfield into delirium. Gerrard virtually ran into the Kop crowd to celebrate.
Liverpool saw out a few last nervy moments to book their place in the knockout stages, reigniting their season in the process. Little did they know that, against all odds, they would go on to win the Champions League that season.
It remains one of the most famous night in the history of Anfield
An unforgettable night in Anfield and in Steven Gerrard lore. What a ridiculous strike. It’s a shame he never got a Premier League title but he earned his Champions League title. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go watch this strike at least 50 times in the next hour.
GalaxyTV takes you behind the scenes of Steven Gerrard’s journey from longtime Liverpool captain to LA Galaxy star. Footage courtesy of Liverpool F.C. and FOX.
As you may have not realized in my previous posts I am a huge fan of Steven Gerrard. He is absolute class and a soccer LEGEND who deserves all of his accolades. He started to regress in his last season at Liverpool but his accomplishments can not be forgotten. He will absolutely dominate MLS. I don’t mean be too detrimental of MLS since the league does have a lot of talented soccer players. However, it is notably a step below the English Premier League and Steven Gerrard could still have competed in the English Premier League for a few more years in a lesser role so he should be one of the best MLS players as soon as he plays his first game. With his addition I would pencil in the LA Galaxy for the 2015 MLS Cup no question.
One-club men do not exist. Not in the money-laden footballing culture that we live in today. This make Steven Gerrard’s accomplishments at Liverpool even more impressive. He consistently turned down moves to other clubs because he truly loved and truly believed in what he was a part of. Even more impressive is that Gerrard found the net 186 times. His role in the team changed drastically over the years, from a young-energy filled box to box goal-scoring machine, to a deep-lying playmaker that could ping the ball wherever he wanted. The transition was impressive as were his exploits at the club. Take some time and appreciate the 186 goals below:
Only the coolest can handle a penalty on the ultimate stage. Find out what it takes, from Thomas Müller, Steven Gerrard, Luis Suárez and Fabio Coentrão.
Penalties have the potential to be heartbreaking. In fact in New Jersey, the high school soccer state finals can end in a tie after overtime because (allegedly) they do not want games to end in penalty kicks because a player runs the risk of shouldering the blame of losing the game for his team if he misses a crucial penalty kick. Now of course professional sports finals can’t end with “co-champions” so penalty kicks are necessary. However, any player who has taken a penalty kick knows that they are not as easy as they look. You could take a million penalty kicks in practice but nothing can replicate the pressure of a penalty kick. That’s why there are only a few players on each team trusted with taking them. Steven Gerrard has buried a lot of penalty kicks in his career but if Jamie Carragher had taken those same penalties Liverpool’s record this past decade would have looked a lot different. At the end of the day, if you aren’t confident enough to take a penalty kick then don’t take it because by that point you have lot the most important part of the penalty kick battle, the mental battle.
Let me paint a picture for you: “You walk in the door after a slight trot from the car because you didn’t want to miss the opening kick. Your phone is ringing like crazy because your boss is wondering where you are but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you made it home in time to catch the start of the FA Cup tie you’ve been waiting weeks for.
You’ve been waiting so anxiously because Liverpool has made it quite clear that the only hope of a trophy this season is by making a run in this tournament. So life stops as the game begins. Captain Gerrard is in the mix as a strong Liverpool side is put out to take care of business away from home. The typical mishaps occur and you cringe as Skrtel and Sakho make a meal of things at the back. You smirk at the elegance of a more advanced Steven Gerrard brings to the game but you curl into the fetal position every time the ball comes near Ricky Lambert. Still, you watch on and just as the miraculous do, Gerrard wins a brave header and puts the Reds up early.
But then, as Liverpool have done this year, the foot comes off the gas a bit and Wimbledon find themselves capable of crossing the midfield line. Akinfenwa, the monstrous forward, pressures and fouls and bodies everyone. Eventually, your recently demoted Mignolet is bodied off a skyward ball and the first to react to the dropping diamond is none other than the strongest footballer in the world, Akinfenwa. You expect this it is not ultra cringe worthy but still you have trouble smiling for a while. You almost consider answering your phone and going back to work but you don’t. You tough it out.
Chances are traded both ways and it almost looks as if AFC Wimbledon might upset the mighty Reds. By now, your watching through your index and middle fingers and your dog is looking at you like you are an incredibly pathetic version of your normal self. This is true but warranted.
Finally and I mean finally, a free kick is given in a spot that any right-footed spot-kick mastermind would savor like the last piece of bacon on Christmas morning. You hope Gerrard takes it. You know he is leaving your club forever but you want more for him. So he steps up and again, as legends do, he places a shot that ripples the back of the net and sends Liverpool on its way to Bolton. You stand up and remove the pillow that you’ve been latched to since that equalizer and throw in the wash since you’ve sweated all over it. You finally take a moment and smile at what greatness you saw from the Liverpool legend. You pet your dog, you turn off the tv and you grab a pint. This is Liverpool and this is what I love. Better call the boss and make sure I can come to work tomorrow.”
This is the magic of the strongest man in the soccer world:
Not easy to deal with that but congratulations to Liverpool on finding a way through!
You figure a legend like Steven Gerrard would only come to USA if he was headed to one of the big markets in the MLS. Both LA Galaxy and the NY Redbulls have recently freed up a Designated Player spot. NY Redbulls are an interesting one just because Frank Lampard is supposed to come back to NYCFC (we’ll see when) and join David Villa in starting a rivalry with NYRB. Something in my brain is blinking saying, “Why wouldn’t one midfield legend want to compete with another in such close proximity that a simple half hour drive or train ride could have them grabbing a cup of tea together in a downtown cafe?” LA Galaxy have the “Donovan” spot available. This one that needs to be completed with someone of equal or greater soccer cultural relevance. This could be easily filled with the services of the Red’s legend. And so we continue, Orlando City still has a DP spot that could (should…cough….definitely be) be used for him. But we all know that will not happen. As big as the opportunity for a Floridian soccer market stranglehold that Orland City has, I don’t see it overtaking the lures of New York or Los Angeles. But, Steven Gerrard is a different type of player with loyalty and commitment not often seen during the past generation and one that will continue to dissolve into obscurity. According to this report from the MLS: Galaxy to Sign Gerrard, Gerrard is already on his way to LA. It will be strange to watch him in anything but a Liverpool kit but I am looking forward to him in the MLS, with whichever club finally captures his signature.