May 26, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex
Attendance: 61,561
Real Madrid
3-1
Liverpool
Benzema (51'), Bale (64', 83')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Mane (55')
Mane (82')

Combined XI: Liverpool 2005 vs. 2018

Ahead of Saturday's Champions League final in Kiev, Sports Mole selects a combined XI from Liverpool's class of 2004-05 and the current crop.

Liverpool will descend on Kiev this Saturday looking to write a new chapter in their rich European history when they take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

Not since 2007 have Liverpool reached such a big stage, and the last time they lifted the famous trophy was in 2005, when they pulled off the 'Miracle of Istanbul', coming from three goals down at half time to beat AC Milan on penalties.

Then, as now, the Reds went into the match as underdogs against another European heavyweight, although their chances this weekend are generally ranked significantly higher than they were on that famous night in Turkey.

Liverpool's starting XI that day included the likes of Djimi Traore, Harry Kewell and Milan Baros, whereas AC Milan boasted a wealth of talent throughout their star-studded side - Dida, Cafu, Alessandro Nesta, Jaap Stam, Paolo Maldini, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf, Kaka, Andriy Shevchenko and Hernan Crespo was their lineup for the final.

If Liverpool's trip to the final this year has also been unlikely, it wasn't quite as improbable as their run 13 years ago, when they beat Juventus and Chelsea on the way to Istanbul.

There was a high-class core to that side, though, and here Sports Mole attempts to create a combined XI from the current crop and the class of 2005.


Combined XI: Liverpool 2005 vs. 2018
Goalkeeper is perhaps the weakest position in this team, with Loris Karius and Jerzy Dudek both having developed a reputation for making the odd error. Dudek's performance in the 2005 final was gigantic, though, and he was every bit as important as those in front of him in keeping Milan at bay. A scarcely-believable double save to deny Shevchenko in the 117th minute took the game to penalties, where his Bruce Grobbelaar-inspired spaghetti legs helped Liverpool to lift the trophy - again thwarting Shevchenko with the decisive spot kick.

In defence, Trent Alexander-Arnold pushes very hard for a place in the team, but the embryonic nature of his career sees him miss out to the ever-consistent Steve Finnan. Finnan's style may not be as conducive to those in front of him as it was under Rafael Benitez in 2005, but his defensive solidity would no doubt come in handy against Madrid's dangerous attack. On the opposite flank, Andrew Robertson puts forward a similarly strong case for inclusion, but he is also in the early stages of his Liverpool career so John Arne Riise stays ahead of him for now.

Centre-back also sees another member of the current crop narrowly miss out, with Virgil van Dijk's arrival having helped to significantly shore up the Liverpool backline. Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia are two of Liverpool's greatest ever centre-backs, though, and both played a huge role in the 2004-05 campaign. Hyypia's goal against Juventus helped them past the Italian giants, whereas Carragher's heroic performance in the final while suffering from cramp in both legs has gone into Liverpool folklore.

Xabi Alonso started the 2005 final in a holding midfield role and is a sure-fire inclusion in this starting XI, having scored the equalising goal in Istanbul after missing his initial penalty. Steven Gerrard is also guaranteed a place in the team, kickstarting the comeback with his looping header in the 54th minute and going on to inspire the Reds with a man-of-the-match display in his finest hour.

The remaining midfield spot is harder to fill. Dietmar Hamann's half-time introduction in Istanbul was a major reason behind the turnaround as he quelled the influence of Kaka, who ran the show in the first half. Luis Garcia also holds a special place in the hearts of Liverpool fans for his Champions League exploits that season, but James Milner gets the nod as the first inclusion from the current squad. Milner's nine assists in this season's competition is a Champions League record and, while he hasn't always been a guaranteed starter domestically, he has played a huge part in their European run.

Jurgen Klopp's side have been poorly represented so far considering the perception of the two teams, but there is no doubt that they get the front three. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are officially the most potent trio we have ever seen in a single Champions League campaign, combining for 29 goals between them. Considering Baros and Djibril Cisse were the main strikers for Liverpool in 2005, there is no competition at the sharp end of the pitch.

Share this article now:

Who will win Saturday's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool?

Real Madrid
Liverpool
Real Madrid
55.5%
Liverpool
44.5%
Steven Gerrard in charge of Liverpool under-19s on February 21, 2018
Read Next:
Gerrard: 'Liverpool must deliver'
>

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!
Tables

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account