Archive for the ‘THE ROAD TO ATHENS’ Category


May 23, 2007
THE ROAD TO ATHENS Jimmy Rice 18 May 2007

Barcelona 1-2 Liverpool
Second round, first leg

So much for an easier second round draw. The Gods conspired to hand Liverpool the toughest possible second round tie – reigning champions and everybody’s favourites to once again lift the trophy in Athens, Barcelona. The game was preceded by tales of golf clubs and karaoke, but Rafa and the boys ultimately did their talking on the pitch with one of the club’s greatest ever European victories. It looked like Barca could run away with it early on, Deco’s opener helping to inspire the kind of fluid football for which the Spanish giants have become famed. But if the Gods weren’t wearing red during the draw, they certainly had a Liver Bird on their chests in the Nou Camp. They contrived to make heroes out John Arne Riise and Craig Bellamy, the very players at the centre of the pre-match furore, and it was Liverpool who’d head into the second leg as favourites to make the quarter-finals.

[ Download zShare ] 1-0 Deco
[ Download zShare ] 1-1 Bellamy
[ Download zShare ] 1-2 Riise

Bellamy scores at the Nou Camp

Liverpool 0-1 Barcelona
Second round, second leg

A late goal from Eidur Gudjohnsen may have given Barcelona a win on the night, but Rafa’s reputation for masterminding faultless European performances remained very much intact. Ronaldinho, Eto’o and Messi barely had a sniff thanks to the colossal Jamie Carragher and his brigade – including new boy Alvaro Arbeloa, who was already on his way to becoming an Anfield favourite after just two appearances. A special night could have been even more memorable had the crossbar not come to Victor Valdes’ rescue to deny both John Arne Riise and Momo Sissoko in the first half.

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PSV 0-3 Liverpool
Quarter-final, first leg

Liverpool may have been handed, on paper at least, the easiest quarter-final draw, but football’s not played on paper. The Dutch champions had already disposed of Arsenal, and Rafa Benitez attempted to extinguish any complacency by reminding his players that it was PSV coach Ronald Koeman – then manager of Benfica – who shattered their Champions League dreams just 12 months previous. The trick seemed to work. Goals from Steven Gerrard, John Arne Riise and Peter Crouch all but secure our place in the semi-finals with 90 minutes to spare.

[ Download zShare ] 1-0 Gerrard
[ Download zShare ] 2-0 Riise
[ Download zShare ] 3-0 Crouch

From Liverpool,Fiz


May 22, 2007
Jimmy Rice 18 May 2007

To watch highlights of this match click here>>

Liverpool 1-0 PSV
Quarter-final, second leg

With a titanic semi-final tie against Chelsea just about secure, Rafa took the opportunity to rest big-guns Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. Another Englishman, Peter Crouch, bagged the only goal of the game in front of an Anfield faithful not quite sure how to behave.

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Reina during the Champions League semi-final victory over Chelsea

Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool
Semi-final, first leg

Cheered on by their flag-waving hoards, Jose Mourinho’s men made it advantage Chelsea going into the second leg at Anfield. Joe Cole opened the scoring from close range after a marauding run from the impressive Didier Drogba.

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Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (4-1 on pens)
Semi-final, second leg

Two years ago, Anfield played host to what is widely regarded as its greatest European night when the champions of England were sent packing in front of an atmosphere the like of which had not been witnessed before. The repeat couldn’t match that, could it? Well yes, it could actually. Daniel Agger‘s first-half strike from a gorgeously-worked free-kick helped tee up a dramatic period of extra-time in which Dirk Kuyt looked to have sealed it for the Reds – only for his strike to be wrongly ruled out for offside. What came next (Rafa’s crossed legs, the boos which accompanied Frank Lampard’s long walk to the Anfield Road end and Pepe’s penalty heroics) will live long in the memory of every Liverpool fan in every corner of the globe.

[ Download zShare ] 1-0 Agger
[ Download Divshare ] Penalty + Celebrations + YNWA
[ Download zShare ] Extended Highlig

From Liverpool,Fiz


May 21, 2007
THE ROAD TO ATHENS Jimmy Rice 18 May 2007

To watch highlights of this match click here>>

Bordeaux 0-1 Liverpool
Group phase one

Peter Crouch headed the club to its 150th win in Europe as the Reds maintained their unbeaten start to the competition. The England striker had already spurned two glorious chances but made no mistake from Craig Bellamy‘s right-sided corner on 58 minutes.

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Liverpool 3-0 Bordeaux

Group phase one

Liverpool wrapped up their place in the last 16 with two games to spare thanks to a brace from Luis Garcia and skipper Steven Gerrard’s first strike of the season. The visitors’ miserable night was compounded when midfielder Fernando Menegazzo saw red for a second-half headbutt on John Arne Riise.

[Download zShare ] 1-0 Garcia
[ Download zShare ] 2-0 Gerrard
Download zShare ] 3-0 Garcia

Liverpool 2-0 PSV
Group phase one

Rafa Benitez fielded a full-strength side in a bid to secure top spot in Group C, and though his objective was achieved, it came at a price. Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard claimed the goals which ensured – in theory at least – an easier second round draw, but the evening was marred by injuries to Xabi Alonso, Mark Gonzalez and Jermaine Pennant.

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Riise scores against PSV

Galatasaray 3-2 Liverpool
Group phase one

Three goals in six minutes and an impressive comeback there may have been, but Liverpool’s second trip to the Ataturk Stadium certainly wouldn’t follow their first into European Cup folklore. The Anfield diehard wouldn’t have enjoyed seeing Jerzy Dudek concede three on Turkish soil once more, albeit in a glorified friendly, though a brace from Robbie Fowler would at least have brought a smile to their faces.

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From Liverpool,Fiz


May 19, 2007

Five days before the Reds walk out in the Olympic Stadium, revisits the road to Athens to see how we got to our second Champions League final in three seasons.

Jimmy Rice 18 May 2007

The Road to Athens

To watch our Road to Athens video feature including every Liverpool goal from this season’s dramatic campaign click here>>

Liverpool 2-1 Maccabi Haifa
Third qualifying round, first leg

It all started with a tie billed by Steven Gerrard as the toughest qualifier Liverpool had ever faced – and that’s pretty much how it turned out. Anfield was stunned by a first-half opener from Gustavo Boccoli, and it needed a couple of debutants to turn things around. Craig Bellamy levelled things following a weak parry from Nir Davidovitch before Mark Gonzalez hit a sensational 88th minute winner. It was the club’s 13th consecutive win in competitive matches.

[ Download zShare ] 1-1 Bellamy
[ Download zShare ] 1-2 Gonzalez

Maccabi Haifa 1-1 Liverpool
Third qualifying round, second leg

Security concerns meant the Reds were spared a daunting trip to Israel, though a trek to Kiev was hardly something for the Liverpool squad to look forward to. Things were made a little more comfortable when Peter Crouch nodded home a Jermaine Pennant cross to put the game just about beyond doubt. There were a few hearts in mouths when Roberto Colautti snatched one back nine minutes later, though it was the Merseysiders who progressed to the lucrative group stages.
[ Download zShare ] 1-0 Crouch

PSV 0-0 Liverpool
Group phase one

Liverpool opened their Group C account with a useful point against the Dutch champions. The visitors were unlucky not to fly home with more, with Dirk Kuyt and Stevie G both striking the woodwork in the second half. Still, it was Rafa not Ronald who was smiling come the final whistle.

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Liverpool 3-2 Galatasaray
Group phase one

Europe’s comeback kings nearly got a taste of their own medicine after taking a 3-0 lead through Luis Garcia and Peter Crouch (his brace including a majestic bicycle-kick that’ll live long in the memory of all who witnessed it). But just when it seemed like game-over, Anfield was rocked by a pair of quick-fire headers from substitute Umit Karan. Fortunately, Rafa’s normally watertight defence regained its composure to see out a victory which left the 2005 champions top of Group C.

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From Liverpool,Fiz