Rafa’s Reds V Klopp’s Conquerors: Evaluating ’19 Liverpool To Istanbul XI
It’s 14 years to the day since Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool aspect got here again from 3-Zero right down to defeat AC Milan on penalties to win the Champions League in Istanbul.
The historic victory was Liverpool’s final Champions League triumph as they beat the chances to shock one of many best Milan groups of this technology to safe their fifth European crown.
Quick ahead to 2019 and the Reds are only a week away from one other shot at glory as they tackle Tottenham within the Champions League remaining in Madrid.
On the anniversary of Istanbul and with simply seven days till Madrid, we determined to check out Liverpool’s squad then, vs Liverpool’s squad now.
There’s little doubt that the addition of Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson in the summertime has made an enormous distinction to Liverpool’s defence since his arrival from Roma.
Alisson saved 21 clear sheets within the Premier League as Liverpool narrowly missed out on a home title, whereas the Brazilian has been glorious in Europe too, along with his essential save in opposition to Napoli springing to thoughts.
Liverpool’s stopper in Istanbul although, Jerzy Dudek was completely essential to their victory as he saved from each Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko as he channelled his inside Bruce Grobbelaar within the shootout.
That is actually a decent name given Dudek’s legendary standing, however Alisson simply edges it.
Each Liverpool sides typically went for 4 on the again and although Joe Gomez is match once more we anticipate Joel Matip to start out alongside the standard three of Virgil Van Dijk within the center and Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold out broad.
Liverpool’s defence this season has been an enormous a part of what’s made them so harmful and Klopp’s work to enhance it since his arrival has been glorious.
Virgil Van Dijk has been masterful on the again successful the PFA participant of the season whereas within the full-back areas each Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have been magnificent attacking shops, with 23 assists between them within the league.
Joel Matip has additionally grown into his function alongside Van Dijk in Gomez’s absence.
In 2005 Liverpool lined up with Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia within the center with Steve Finnan and Djimi Traore as full-backs, though they did change to 3-5-2 within the second interval.
Many individuals neglect that the Reds’ run to the ultimate was constructed off of their strong defence as they solely conceded six targets all through the competitors, nonetheless, they seemed lower than stellar in Istanbul conceding 3 times earlier than half-time.
Liverpool’s central defence this marketing campaign is arguably lots stronger than 14 years in the past, with Virgil Van Dijk the standout, though Jamie Carragher will go down as one among their best ever gamers, with Hyypia no slouch both.
Within the full-back division, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold is actually an enchancment on Finnan and Traore.
In 2005 Liverpool began with a midfield 4 however due to an damage to Harry Kewell and the truth that they had been down 3-Zero at half-time, Benitez opted to change to a 5, which consisted of Vladimir Smicer and Jon Arne Riise on the flanks, Dietmar Hamann and Xabi Alonso holding with Steven Gerrard as an attacking midfielder.
Klopp’s aspect will virtually actually go together with three in midfield with Naby Keita injured and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain nonetheless missing match health and unlikely to start out.
It’s anticipated that Liverpool will begin Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Fabinho within the centre in opposition to Spurs, though Gini Wijnaldum’s goalscoring exploits in opposition to Barcelona could imply he’s rewarded with a begin.
Given 2019 Liverpool’s scary high quality up prime, the midfield trio above is an ideal stability of labor charge, power and crisp passing required for Klopp’s aspect.
There’s little doubt although that in 2005, Benitez’ aspect had immense high quality, with Xabi Alonso one among European soccer best midfielders and Steven Gerrard in his sensible prime on the time.
It’s arguably the toughest place to check given the distinction in formation, and in no matter trio of Milner, Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Henderson he decides to decide on, Klopp’s aspect have a really robust midfield, however Alonso and Gerrard had been world class in 2005 and so nearly edge it.
The most important gulf in high quality between 2005 Liverpool and 2019 Liverpool is certainly in assault.
In Istanbul, Liverpool began with Milan Baros up entrance on his personal with Harry Kewell enjoying simply off the Czech striker nonetheless damage and a change in formation meant that Spaniard Luis Garcia joined their quantity 5 in assault for the second 45.
Baros solely managed two targets within the competitors that season, and 11 in whole in the course of the marketing campaign whereas Garcia grabbed 5 targets in Europe and 13 in all competitions.
Examine that to Klopp’s present attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino who’ve managed 68 targets in all competitions between them this season, and 16 within the Champions League.
Garcia and Baros little doubt proved their value, however in Mane, Salah and Firmino, Klopp’s aspect have a particular attacking trio at their disposal.
Underneath Rafa Benitez, Liverpool had actual high quality all through their beginning XI with the likes of Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher all distinctive, however Klopp’s 2019 expenses are simply that a lot stronger than their counterparts of 14 years in the past.
The all-important query is although, can this Liverpool aspect emulate Benitez’s Istanbul heroes and declare the Champions League title as soon as once more on June 1st?