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Liverpool 1 Barcelona 0 - UEFA Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg (Apr 19 2001) - 1st team 2000-2001 - The Liverpool Way Jump to content

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Liverpool 1 Barcelona 0 - UEFA Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg (Apr 19 2001)

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LIVERPOOL 1 Barcelona 0

Report by Dave Usher at Anfield

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Scorer(s) – Gary McAllister (pen)

Half Time - 1-0

Venue - Anfield

Date - Thur 19 April 2001

Star Man – Sami Hyypia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The talk from the Spanish before the game was of how they were quite pleased to be heading to Anfield with a 0-0 scoreline, as they were quite confident that their 'world class' strikers would be able to score at least twice. They felt that in their quest for goals the reds would leave plenty of gaps for them to exploit at the back, and that we would regret being so defensive in the Nou Camp a fortnight ago. They were wrong!

 

They may indeed have world class forward players, but they more than met their match in the reds back four, who when they put their minds to it are pretty much inpenetrable. Arguably the two best attacking sides in Europe at the moment (Real Madrid apart) are Barca and the mancs, yet in four games against the reds, neither team could score past Westerveld & co.

 

After a performance like this, it seems inappropriate to single out individuals, but I'm going to do it anyway. Against Barca, one man produced a display which is as good as anything I have ever seen in all my time watching the reds. Step forward Sami Hyypia.

 

Whether it was Kluivert, Rivaldo, Luis Enrique or whoever, there was no way past the Mighty Finn. In what was an outstanding team display, Sami stood head and shoulders (literally) above everyone else on the field. He's been a revelation from the first time he ever pulled on the red shirt, and last season it was bordering on criminal that he wasn't named Footballer of the Year, but this was Sami's finest hour as a Liverpool player. I don't have the words to describe how good this performance was, and all I can say is that if there's a better centre back on the planet than big Sami then I've yet to see him.

 

In fact, the only man who even comes close is his central defensive partner Stephane Henchoz, who was also majestic against Barca. If it wasn't for the incredible heights scaled by Sami then I'd have had no hesitation in awarding the star man to Stephane, as he also produced an almost perfect defensive display. Just imagine how good Barca would be with our back four!

 

I'd also like to give a special mention to Didi Hamann, who was once again superb. The transformation in his form over the last couple of months has been remarkable, and he must have made 250 tackles in the second half alone! He's far more comfortable in the role of 'destroyer' and that's why games like this suit him. This was arguable his best ever Liverpool performance too, although his displays in Rome and last season at Highbury are up there too.

 

Then there was Stevie G, who was just, well, Stevie G. It says everything about this boy that despite the glittering array of midfield talent on view, he was the game's most exciting midfield player while he was on the field. He should have had a penalty when he was denied scoring what would possibly have been the greatest goal ever scored by a Liverpool player in Europe, and he went agonisingly close in the second half with a trademark long range effort.

 

Shot of the match though had to be Rivaldo's stunning 40 yard effort which Sander did remarkably well to save in the end. For one horrible moment it looked as though our keeper wasn't going to get it, as the ball kept picking up pace as it sped through the air. It was a remarkable shot from a remarkable player, and even though the reds kept him well shackled, his quality was there for all to see. If Barca want to offload him in the summer, then Gerard should get in there. Never mind the mancs, Rivaldo has now sampled Old Trafford and Anfield. Which one do YOU think will have made the bigger impression on him? You don't get if you don't ask, and I reckon Gerard should strike whilst the iron is hot.

 

The first goal was always going to prove to be crucial, and once we scored we were quite content to protect the lead. Before the goal though, we were playing some fine stuff and were just about the better side I'd say. They came into it after that, as we sat back a bit, but apart from that one calamatous misjudgement by Sander, there weren't too many scares. This is the first time in more than 20 years that Barca have been shut out in both legs of a European tie, which tells you a lot about how good our defence is.

 

A special mention also for Gary Mac, who has enjoyed possibly the greatest week of his life. It's certainly been one of the best weeks of my life anyway! Some people weren't totally in favour of the signing of the veteran Scot (and some even made complete fools of themselves over it, but the less said about that the better!), but this last week alone was reason enough for signing him.

 

It's Alaves next, and although they've done remarkably well to get there, I would class them in the same bracket as a Porto or an Olympiakos. They're certainly no Roma or Barca, but they deserve respect for what they have achieved, and I'm sure it will be a close game in Dortmund. After beating Rivaldo and company though, our lads must be flying and the final can't come quick enough.

 

 

TEAM: Sander Westerveld; Markus Babbel, Sami Hyypia, Stephane Henchoz, Jamie Carragher; Steven Gerrard (Danny Murphy), Gary McAllister, Dietmar Hamann, Vladimir Smicer (Robbie Fowler); Michael Owen (Patrik Berger), Emile Heskey:

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