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Liverpool's 2005 Champions League winners: Where are they now?

Pin Steven Gerrard led Liverpool to an unexpected 5th European crown in 2005. AFP
Steven Gerrard led Liverpool to an unexpected 5th European crown in 2005. AFP

Liverpool's 2005 Champions League winners: Where are they now?

Tom Cunild by Tom Cunild @besoccer_es - 0 1,766

As Jürgen Klopp looks to mastermind another famous European comeback for Liverpool, we take a look at the members of the Reds' squad who upset all odds in 2005 to see what they're up to nowadays.

The events of 25th May 2005 will long be imprinted into the mind of any Liverpool fan. Trailing 3-0 at half-time against a star-studded AC Milan side that included the likes of Kaka, Maldini and Pirlo (to name but a few), Rafael Benitez's men stunned their Italian counterparts with a comeback that will go down in the annals of history. The Reds scored 3 goals in 5 second-half minutes before hanging on for dear life in extra-time and coming out victorious on penalties. 

Almost 14 years on, we look at what the 2005 squad, who in truth never seemed talented enough to win Europe's biggest club competition, are up to currently.

Manager - Rafael Benítez

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Spanish manager Rafael Benítez was the brain behind one of the most famous underdog stories in recent footballing history.

He now manages Newcastle United after spells at Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid, and just led the Magpies to Premier League safety despite a well-reported lack of investment from owner Mike Ashley. Judging by how happy he looks in the video below, it may be fair to say that his career peaked with Liverpool's remarkable achievement in 2005.

Goalkeeper - Jerzy Dudek

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Polish goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek was Liverpool's hero on that fateful night in Turkey after making some incredible saves before stopping Andriy Shevchenko's penalty which secured the Anfield side's 5th European crown.

Dudek clearly wasn't able to turn his back on competitive sport following his retirement from football in 2013 as he has since become a professional racing driver, competing in 24 hour endurance events around Europe. 

Left-back: Djimi Traoré

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Djimi Traoré has more Champions League winners medals than Ronaldo (the original one, that is), Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Francesco Totti and Robert Lewandowski combined. Let that sink in for a moment.

The Malian full-back was never a real success at Liverpool, with many remembering his time at Anfield for a spectacular own goal as they crashed out the FA Cup to a then-Championship Burnley side. Still, he played the full 120 minutes in Istanbul, and is now an assistant coach at MLS side Seattle Sounders having finished his playing career there in 2014.

Centre-back: Jamie Carragher

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Jamie Carragher played one of the best games of his footballing career from half-time onwards in the 2005 final against Milan. He was everywhere at the back for the Reds, battling through cramp to somehow keep Benitez's side from conceding more times with some brave last-ditch defending.

When he's not busy spitting water at teenagers, Carragher can be seen as a regular pundit on Sky Sports, participating in a whole host of frequent and entertaining debates with former United rival Gary Neville.

Centre-back: Sami Hyypiä

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Fan-favourite Finn Sami Hyypiä formed a formidable partnership with the aforementioned Carragher, and was also crucial in Liverpool's recovery despite the three first-half goals conceded.

After stints as manager at Bayer Leverkusen, Brighton and Hove Albion and FC Zurich, he now represents Liverpool as an ambassador and also works in punditry too.

Right-back: Steve Finnan

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A consistent and reliable full-back, Irishman Steve Finnan made 217 appearances for Liverpool and started the 2005 final at right-back. Although he was an ever-present in Liverpool's defence that season, he has proved to be far more ellusive since retiring in 2010, prompting a group of fans to start a #findstevefinnan hashtag on Twitter in 2015. He was quickly found in London, where he lives and runs a property company whilst setting a perfect example of how to stay out of the spotlight after retirement (taking notes, Diego?).

Centre-midfield: Xabi Alonso

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One of the finest midfielders of his generation, Xabi Alonso played a key role in Liverpool's miracle Champions League win, netting the third goal which completed the remarkable comeback. More known for scoring from a little further out than 12 yards, it may come as a surprise to many that the penalty he took - and subsequently missed - was the first he'd ever taken in professional football...lucky he was on hand to tuck home the rebound.

After retiring at Bayern Munich in 2017, Alonso went on to do his coaching badges and recently won his first trophy as a manager, leading the world famous superstars of Real Madrid U13s to the internationally renowned Division de Honor title with 3 games left to spare - some achievement.

Centre-midfield: Steven Gerrard

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A man that needs no introduction, Steven Gerrard is the living embodiment of Liverpool and captained his side to this incredible feat in Turkey. His header in the 54th minute gave the Reds a slight glimmer of hope early in the second half - although even he surely could not have predicted what was to come.

Following his retirement at LA Galaxy in 2017, Gerrard went on to coach Liverpool U18s in 2017/18 before taking the reins at Rangers for his first season as a professional manager in 2018/19. Although he has found his feet fairly quickly as a manager, someone might want to explain to him what a figure of speech is...

 

Right-midfield: Luis García

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Famous amongst Liverpool fans for his sangría drinking habits, Luis García became a real fan favourite during his time on Merseyside. He was a player for the big moments, scoring crucial goals against Juventus and Chelsea (it definitely crossed the line) in Liverpool's run to the final in 2005.

The Spaniard retired in 2016, and now works as an ambassador for Liverpool as well as a commentator for beIN Sports.

Left-midfield: John Arne Riise

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Known for his venomous left foot, his ability going forward was what earned the full-back a start on the left wing in the final, and it was his cross that was headed home by Steven Gerrard to set the Reds on the comeback trail.

The Norweigan retired in 2016, and now plies his trade as an agent for Global Finest Athletes.

Attacking-midfield: Harry Kewell

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A player who struggled to ever really live up to lofty expectations at Anfield, Harry Kewell's Champions League final appearance was really representative of his overall Liverpool career as he was substituted early on due to injury.

The Australia international hung up his boots in 2015,  and has since tried his hand at management in the Football League with Crawley Town and Notts County - although he did not last long in either of these jobs and now looks set for a return to his homeland.

Striker: Milan Baros

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Milan Baros was the man tasked with leading Benitez's forward line against AC Milan, but is another player who left Liverpool without having ever really lived up to expectations.

Remarkably, however, he is the only player from the starting XI who is still playing. He is currently 37 years old and is turning out for Banik Ostrava in his native Czech Republic. With his contract expiring in June of this year, it seems likely that he too will call it a day on a rather long footballing career.

Substitute: Dietmar Hamann

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Although it originally came as a surprise to many that he didn't start, German international Dietmar Hamann was brought on at half-time in the final in a genius move by Benítez that shored up the midfield and allowed Steven Gerrard to push further forward and inspire Liverpool's turnaround.

The 45 year-old dabbled in coaching and management at MK Dons, Leicester City and Stockport County, before becoming a pundit in Germany and England and making some truly shocking predictions...

 

Substitute: Vladimir Smicer

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Czech midfielder Smicer replaced Harry Kewell early on to make his final Liverpool appearance in the 2005 final - but what a way to say goodbye. He scored Liverpool's second goal with a long-range strike in the 56th minute before tucking away his team's final penalty in the shootout later on.

Smicer retired in 2009, and after assisting Czech Republic head coach Michael Bilek, he turned to a life in politics. In a career choice replicated by few other footballers, he stood for election to the European Parliament whilst trying to raise awareness for childhood obesity.

Substitute: Djibril Cisse

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Known as much for his funky hairstyles and gruesome injuries as his footballing ability, French international Djibril Cisse replaced Milan Baros late on and coolly slotted home an important spot-kick in the shootout.

Following his initial retirement in 2015, Cisse devoted himself to music and became a DJ and producer, even opening for Mariah Carey during her live shows in Paris. He came out of retirement in 2017 to play in the Swiss third division, but has since returned to music - as can often be seen on his Instagram page.

 

Tom Cunild

Tom Cunild

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