Steven Gerrard was so close to recreating one of his most famous goals for Liverpool as the Anfield icon returned to the pitch on Saturday.
The former midfielder rolled back the years and ran the show as an XI of club legends the Reds took on a Barcelona side also packed with iconic names in a charity game, with the match ending 2-1 against Catalan.
Older Liverpool fans – this writer included – were delighted to see a host of the club’s more recent legends return to the turf at Anfield, to raise money for the LFC Foundation.
In addition to Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Luis Garcia, Daniel Agger, Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia, Steve McManaman, Patrick Berger, Jerzy Dudek and Vladimir Smicer were all involved.
And they were led by real club greats, with king Kenny Dalgish returning as manager with Ian Rush and John Barnes in his coaching staff.
Predictably, the game was played at a slower pace – and their kits seemed a little tighter than in the past – but that didn’t stop the fun as legends on both sides proved that the class is permanent.
Carragher was more competitive than ever as he moved through Liverpool’s back line, while Rivaldo and Edgar Davids produced touches, flicks, tricks and passes that showed why they are considered two of the greats game mavericks.
Fans were quickly on their feet when Gerrard put the hosts in front from the point, converting a penalty he had won himself as he fell in the box.
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Brazil star Giovanni, now 50, put the Barca legend down just before the break with a fine finish after a defense splitting pass that saw Agger and Hyypia give up simply trying to chase him down .
Sander Westerveld was in goal for the Reds in the first half, before being replaced at the break by 2005 Istanbul hero Dudek, who was at his best to prevent the Catalans from extending their lead.
Of course, there were injuries, with Smicer and Phil Babb among those forced to take an early bath, while Garcia later returned to the pitch in a Barcelona shirt after spending two spells in his career player at Camp Nou.
Fans were soon on their feet again when Barcelona were awarded a penalty, surely hoping to see more kicking heroics from the Champions League winner as Rivaldo battled Dudek’s dancing legs.
But the Brazilian didn’t give the former No.1 a chance with a ball shot he fired into the top left corner of the goal.
Liverpool picked up the pace late on as fresh legs from Maxi Rodriguez and Stewart Downing added some life to their game.
Milan Baros missed a golden chance as Barcelona cleared their effort from close range with a desperate block.
With three minutes of extra stoppage time, Gerrard then had the chance to lift the roof off Anfield and repeat his iconic FA Cup final goal, but his sweet strike from distance was denied.
The fans, who received a brilliant lap of honor from all the players after the final whistle, practically begged the Anfield icon to shoot at every opportunity, but he just couldn’t score that goal that all of them fans wanted to see at the final whistle. full time.
But the result did not dampen the mood on Merseyside, as fans rejoiced to see their childhood legends in action again.
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