FIFA Club World Championship Toyota Cup Japan 2005

11 December - 18 December

FIFA Club World Cup 2005

From Istanbul to Yokohama, memories of a player

They will never forget it. Few will. Liverpool's comeback from 3-0 down at half-time to defeat AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League was full of the stuff that dreams are made of.

First. Tension. The long walk and the peltering rain inside the Ataturk Olympic stadium. Then that first half. Agony. Milan mesmerising Liverpool with some of the best football ever witnessed. Half-time. Spirit. "You'll Never Walk Alone". Hamann brought on, Gerrard's header. Hope. Smicer's skimming shot. Excitement. Alonso's penalty follow up. Delirium. Dudek's double save, penalties. Fear. Then, finally, victory. Pride.

Ahead of Liverpool's world final against South American champions Sao Paulo on Sunday, asked their players what they remembered of that famous night of 25 May 2005 when they were crowned kings of Europe.

Rafa Benitez (Spanish coach, who gave the half-time team-talk): We had confidence from playing really, really well in other games.  That confidence stretched to the second half of the final against AC Milan and we proved that by coming back from 0-3 down.  We also had the fans.  At half time we could hear them singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' - that was unbelievable.  It gave us confidence. It gave us strength.

Sami Hyypia (Finnish defender, rock solid): At half-time not many people believed that we stood a chance and if I'm being honest, I don't think the players did either.  But we decided as a team to work hard and give something back to the supporters.  I think at first we were just looking for a consolation goal, so the fans had something at least. But when we scored the second goal, I started to think: 'We can win this'.

Dietmar Hamann (German midfielder, who came on at half-time): Well, the game changed after the break, I don't know how much it had to do with me.  But we became a lot more aggressive, we won a lot more balls and created a lot more chances. Winning the UEFA Champions League final is the biggest achievement I've been part of as a club footballer.  To take part in a final representing Liverpool and then to win it after being 0-3 down was just unbelievable.

Xabi Alonso (Spanish midfielder, who scored the equaliser, following up his missed penalty): The feeling when we lifted the trophy was indescribable. The city and the club had been waiting for that moment for 20 years.

Jerzy Dudek (Polish goalkeeper whose double save late on from Shevchenko will be remembered only slightly less than his bandy-legged heroics in the penalty shoot-out):
It wasn't planned before the game because we didn't expect it to go right down to the wire, but one of the players (Jamie Carragher) gave me some advice. It was an attempt to put them under pressure as it always comes as a surprise when you see a keeper moving on the line, especially in a big tournament.

Djibril Cisse (French striker, who scored in the shoot-out): Of course I was nervous. I don't believe anyone would say otherwise.  I was really focused on the area where I wanted to put it and luckily for me it went in.  I felt total relief. The fans were amazing. I think half a million people were on the streets of Liverpool the day after.  Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher told me that it was going to be special, but that was just mind blowing. 

Steven Gerrard (English midfielder, Liverpool captain who scored the first and was brought down for the penalty): It was a great game to play in.  The first half went totally against us and the second half couldn't have been better.  It was a real game of two halves. But on a fantastic night with lots of emotions, the greatest one was lifting the trophy.  

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