Since breaking into the Liverpool first team in 1998, Icon Steven Gerrard has made a habit of putting in big performances when it matters. The Liverpool captain has won an impressive seven out of nine major cup finals with Liverpool, including Sunday’s Carling Cup triumph against Cardiff, and scored five crucial goals in the process. As Gerrard continues his attempts to rediscover his best form after a year on the sidelines, we recall his greatest cup final moments.
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UEFA Cup final vs Alavés (goal at 1 min 42secs)
Gerrard’s first cup final goal came at the age of 20 in Liverpool’s enthralling 5-4 UEFA Cup triumph against Spanish side Alavés in 2001. Gerrard’s well taken finish from a Michael Own through ball put Liverpool 2-0 up inside 16 minutes, but it was already a distant memory when, six goals later, unfortunate Alavés defender Delfí Geli’s ‘own golden goal’ handed Gerrard and Liverpool victory in the 117th minute.
League Cup final vs Man Utd
This is why Gerrard should never be allowed time and space to shoot from range. David Beckham, of all people, should have known better. In the 2003 League Cup final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, Beckham, in his last season at Manchester United, dawdles in his attempt to close down Gerrard, allowing his England teammate to release a fierce drive at goal from 25 yards out. Beckham sticks out a leg but it’s too late, he only succeeds in deflecting the ball up and over goalkeeper Fabian Barthez. Gerrard’s opener sent Liverpool on their way to a 2-0 victory, while Beckham was left only a stray boot to the face away from a transfer to Real Madrid.
Champions League final vs AC Milan
Inspiring Liverpool’s legendary second-half comeback in Istanbul in 2005 remains the greatest achievement of Steven Gerrard’s glittering Liverpool career. After a catastrophic opening 45 minutes left Liverpool 0-3 down at half-time, Gerrard took matters into his own hands. This excellent header from John Arne Riise’s cross in the 54th minute (pictured above) set the wheels in motion for one of the most remarkable comebacks in European football history. After the wild celebrations that followed, Gerrard’s fellow goalscorer Vladimir Smicer said: “The cup ended up with Stevie G in his room. His girlfriend wasn’t here, so he had the cup in his bed instead.” He revealed no further details.
FA Cup final vs West Ham
Another unforgettable cup final defined by Steven Gerrard here, as his stunning injury time volley makes it 3-3, sending the 2006 FA Cup final against West Ham to extra time and penalties, where Liverpool again emerged triumphant. “It’s like Istanbul all over again for Liverpool,” says veteran commentator John Motson, as Gerrard wheels away in celebration with, erm, Jan Kromkamp.
League Cup final vs Chelsea
Sorry Liverpool fans, but here’s a rare cup final lapse from Gerrard, as he diverts the ball into his own net in the 2005 League Cup final against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. Liverpool were beaten 2-3 in extra-time, but, as we all know, Gerrard more than made amends three months later in Istanbul.
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