Saturday May 30, 2020 should have seen Europe’s two best teams go head to head to fight it out in the season crescendo that is the Champions League final.
The showpiece occasion was set to take place in Istanbul, 15 years after arguably the competition’s greatest final was decided in the city.
The coronavirus pandemic may have starved us of a glittering finale, but we still intend to respect the occasion and what better way, than to remember the miracle of Istanbul.
In 2005 Liverpool trailed AC Milan 3-0 at halftime, yet somehow a team led by Steven Gerrard hauled themselves back from the brink to clinch the unlikeliest of European crowns.
Gerrard will forever have a place in Anfield folklore, but what about his teammates from that glorious night?
Here we take a look at those Liverpool heroes who took to the field at the Ataturk Stadium and ask the question: Where are they now?
The Polish shot-stopper followed the normal trajectory of any retired footballer by donning a crash helmet and switching to motor-sport.
It may be hard to believe but after a four-year stay at Real Madrid, playing a total of two games, Dudek decided to get behind the wheel and compete in 24hr endurance races.
Always unassuming on the pitch, the Irishman left Liverpool without a song and a dance, turned out for Espanyol and Portsmouth before vanishing off the face of the Earth.
In fact, when a ten-year reunion was held to mark Liverpool’s Istanbul heroics, Finnan was nowhere to be seen and a Twitter campaign was launched to locate the forgotten man.
The #FindSteveFinnan bid did achieve its goal, tracking down the ex-defender to a property firm in London but disappointingly, Finnan was still a no show to the anniversary event.
The Finnish centre-half had a fearsome reputation on the pitch, however unfortunately for him, that status hasn’t followed him into the dugout.
It all started so promising for Hyppia, who as assistant coach alongside Sascha Lewandowski (no relation to Robert) helped guide Bayer Leverkusen to third in the Bundesliga in 2013.
But when he took sole charge, things began to unravel, and he was sacked in the April.
He didn’t fare any better with Brighton and his last role with FC Zurich ultimately saw the club relegated.
Not one to take prisoners during his playing days, nor suffer fools lightly, he has adopted a similar approach to his role in the Sky Sports gantry.
Carragher, having skated around the infamous spitting incident, has become one of football’s most respected and fiercely outspoken pundits.
Just his rivalry with Gary Neville is enough to keep people glued to their screens and reaching for the popcorn.
It still surprises many that Traore is a Champions League winner and it’s just as surprising that he can now be found plying his trade in MLS.
That’s right, after his Liverpool exit, he flirted with teams in England and France before crossing the Atlantic to sign for Seattle Sounders in 2013.
Traore clearly likes Seattle, after hanging up his boots he decided to stay on at the club and he is currently the Sounders assistant manager.
The diminutive Spaniard will forever be remembered as the man who scored ‘the ghost’ goal which left then Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, positively foaming from the mouth.
Garcia did have a knack for finding the net for the Reds although he struggled once he left Merseyside as spells in Spain, Greece and Mexico flattered to deceive.
He retired at 34 but performed a dramatic U-turn six months later to sign for Atletico de Kolkata in India. A move to Australia followed before the dust finally settled on Garcia’s career in 2016.
One of the most cultured players ever to don the famous Liverpool red and all done with an effortless swagger that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Hugo Boss advert.
Alonso oozed class on the pitch. After parting ways with the Reds, he played for European giants Real Madrid and Bayern Munich before retiring in 2017.
But he hasn’t swanned off into the sunset, instead Alonso has moved back to the Basque Country to where it all began and is imparting his wisdom as manager of Real Sociedad B.
Seen as divine by many of the Anfield faithful, it surely is only a matter of time before Stevie G takes his ‘rightful’ place in the Liverpool hot seat.
But for now, Gerrard is earning his managerial stripes north of the border. As manager of Rangers, he hopes to knock Glaswegian rivals Celtic off their perch at the top of the SPFL.
So far the Liverpool legend has been second best to the Bhoys. But the gap is closing and Gerrard may fancy his chances next year.
John Arne Riise
You’d be hard pushed to find a player who struck the ball sweeter than Riise in his prime, the Norwegian had a thunderous left foot and loved a screamer.
Although it’s fair to say his career somewhat slowed after he left Anfield. After a stint at Fulham, Riise played in Cyprus and then India before calling it a day in 2016.
Find that bizarre, his next move was even more peculiar. The former defender joined Maltese club Birkirkara as sporting director before resigning less than three months later.
Due to persistent injury problems, the Aussie’s Liverpool stint stalled and in truth, Kewell’s coaching career has never really got out of second gear.
Having learned the ropes with Watford’s youth team, Kewell landed the Crawley Town job but only lasted only a season before jumping ship to League Two rivals Notts County.
But just 14 games later, the former wing wizard was left facing the exit door at Meadow Lane as a run of poor results sealed his fate.
Quite incredibly, at 38 years young, Milan Baros is still lacing up his boots and leading the line for Czech first division side Banik Ostrava.
He may not be as lethal as he was in his pomp but it’s hard not to tip your hat to the seemingly eternal marksman.
Ostrava was his first team and so it’s only right, Baros winds down the clock with the club. And in all fairness, 15 goals in 44 games since his return, doesn’t make for bad reading.
Smicer clearly didn’t heed the retired footballer’s message of taking a break and spending more time with the family.
In fact, just a day after his last game, he found himself alongside head coach Michal Bilek in the dugout for the Czech Republic national team.
That didn’t work out, so like any ex-player, he tried his hand at…politics.
He stood for a little known party in the European Parliament elections, but success evaded him there, unlike when he fired at Dida from 25 yards.
Hamann had brief spells as a coach at MK Dons and Leicester before taking over the main job at Stockport County.
But it would seem Hamaan wasn’t quite cut out for management. Just three wins in 19 league games were proof of that.
It’s safe to say he has been far more successful as a TV pundit where he is giving former teammate Carragher a run for his money.
Ever colourful on the pitch, it was never going to be a case of slipping quietly into the background for the maverick Frenchman.
And I am pleased to say, Cisse has done anything but. He has starred in a French action film, been involved in a blackmail scandal and is now a fully-fledged DJ.
Not exactly the quiet life, for Djibril.
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