No Djimi?! How Liverpool’s ’05 vintage compares to Klopp’s crop

It's 13 years since the Istanbul miracle saw Liverpool take Europe's biggest prize. How does that winning team match up against the current pretenders...


Liverpool face their biggest game in ten years when they travel to Kiev to tackle the might of Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final.

Whatever goes down, there’s a good chance it won’t compare to the heroics of Istanbul in 2005. But it got us thinking – just how does that XI compare to the side Jurgen Klopp will pick in a fortnight? Well, let’s find out.

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Granted, the shapes are slightly different in that Liverpool lined out in a 4-4-1-1 formation back then and now operate in a 4-3-3, but it’s not incomparable, so bear with us.

Goalkeeper: Dudek v Karius

Liverpool’s goalkeeping situation has been up in the air for some time and these two exemplify that perfectly.

Karius has been a slight upgrade on Mignolet, but he’s no world beater. Then again – Dudek himself was prone to a bit of mischief. This isn’t straightforward and not in a good way.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – DECEMBER 05: Jerzy Dudek of Liverpool in action during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Galatasaray and Liverpool at the Ataturk stadium on December 5, 2006 in Istanbul, Turkey (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

We’ll side with Loris Karius but neither are making our Five-a-Side.

Right Back: Finnan v Alexander-Arnold

Listen, the scribe of this piece is from Limerick and Steve Finnan is all we have. You bet your life he’s going in there.

Centre Half: Carragher v Van Dijk

I could not care less how much the Dutchman cost, Carragher gives Liverpool something more on big occasions. Van Dijk’s a better footballer, he’s better in the air, he’s quicker – my Ma’s quicker – but he’s not going to be able to run on an empty tank out of sheer loyalty to the club.

This one’s going to Jamie Carragher.

Centre Half: Hyypia v Lovren

If Dejan Lovren makes it to Kiev without falling over something, it’ll be a bloody miracle. Sami Hyypia.

Left Back: Traore v Robertson

When people think of woeful players that have won Champions League medals, they immediately bring up Djimi Traore. There’s good reason for that.

A comfortable win for Andy Robertson.

Holding Midfielder: Alonso v Henderson

No disrespect to Jordan Henderson, but Xabi Alonso not only scored from inside his own half and perfected the ‘6’ position, he’s got an absolute worldy of a beard. Xabi Alonso.

Box-to-Box Midfielder: Gerrard v Milner

Now, this isn’t exactly a science because box-to-box doesn’t really explain the way Klopp sets Liverpool up, but still.

If this was a competition for who the name James Milner better suited, it’d just about go to the former Leeds winger, let alone who’s a better midfielder.

Still, Milner hasn’t made any woeful career moves yet, eh Stevie? Steven Gerrard here.

Attacking Midfielder: Kewell v Wijnaldum

Again – not strictly a ten. Harry Kewell never quite worked out for Liverpool, but he did film a good episode of MTV Cribs, so at least there’s that? Gino Wijnaldum.

Right-Winger: Luis Garcia v Salah

Luis Garcia, he drinks sangria – he came from Barca to Liverpool. He’s five-foot-seven, he’s football heaven – but he’s not better than Mo Salah, so stop bloody singing.

Left-Winger: Riise v Mane

Now, we’re all big fans of John Arne Riise redefining the term ‘thunderba*tard’, but Sadio Mane is a rare talent in how he skips past players and takes an attacking threat to another level.

Riise looked laboured in almost everything he did, even if he was usually effective.

Striker: Baros v Firmino

Now, Milan Baros may have been the top scorer in Euro 2004, but he is not the complete player that Roberto Firmino is.

While Salah can sweep up the awards, Liverpool run through the Brazilian and he’s the perfect player in a narrow 4-3-3 to bring his wingers into lanes between centre half and full back.

Full XI

Loris Karius; Steve Finnan, Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia, Andy Robertson; Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard, Gini Wijnaldum; Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane.

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