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"Robbie against Alaves (2000-01)" by Dave Usher


 

The UEFA Cup Final against Alaves will go down as one of the most thrilling European finals in history. The Reds had raced into a 3-1 lead at half time against the unfancied Spanish side, thanks to goals from Markus Babbel, Steven Gerrard and a Gary McAllister penalty after Michael Owen had been brought down.

 
Robbie Fowler had scored in the Worthington Cup Final win earlier that season, and four days before this game he had lifted the FA Cup after Owen's late double had broken Arsenal hearts in Cardiff.  But the number of games the side had played since the turn of the year caught up with them in Dortmund and the Spanish side took advantage of the tiredness in the Liverpool ranks to hit back in the second half to level the game at 3-3.
 
Houllier knew fresh legs were required, and Fowler was brought on to replace the innefectual Emile Heskey. Robbie had a point to prove after being left on the bench for both the FA and UEFA finals, and prove it he did. Cutting in from the left, he ran across the box for what seemed an eternity before eventually letting fly with his right foot. The ball nestled into the corner of the net sending the 30,000+ Liverpool fans present into raptures.
 
The bulk of Liverpool's fans were massed behind that goal and the celebrations were wild, more than matching the manic scenes of four days earlier when Owen's second nestled in David Seaman's goal in Cardiff. The goal should have been the winner, but Alaves wouldn't lie down and Jordi Cruyff levelled the scores right at the death. It was the second time that season that a last minute goal denied Robbie matchwinner status; Birmingham had cancelled out his Worthington Cup final strike with a last minute penalty before the Reds went on to win after a penalty shoot out.
 
Geli's own goal from McAllister's free kick in golden goal extra time meant that Liverpool lifted the trophy, thus securing the treble, but the finish was somewhat anticlimactic compared to the wild celebrations which had followed Fowler's strike.  Robbie was sold to Leeds the following season, but the part he played in the treble success of 2001 can never be underestimated.
 


 

 

 

 
Season:  2000/01
Opposition: Alaves
Result: 5-4 (AET)
Scorer(s): Babbel, Gerrard, McAllister (pen), Fowler, Geli O.G.
Venue: Westfallon Stadion, Dortmund
 

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3 Comments

My favourite finish of all time

 

Three defenders to beat

 

Sticks it through the legs of the final defender having left the other two tackling air

 

Cool as a cucumber

 

That stuff cannot be taught

 

Genius

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I suppose it wasn't the end of the world for him but, it was a fucking nuisance the way, as Dave describes, his goals in both League Cup and UEFA cup finals weren't match winners when they really should have been.
If I'm remembering this right, in his last game for us second time round we were playing Charlton at home and struggling and trailing to them. He was subbed near the end and we promptly got a pen which he would almost certainly have taken. Thus depriving him of a final farewell goal in front of The Kop.
As I say, not the end of the world but all just a bit irritating and disappointing for him and us.
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All time favourite player. He was a match winner in them games for me.
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