Team XI of the Century: Danny Murphy gains Liverpool recognition
Brendan Rodgers has only just begun the arduous task of rebuilding Liverpool in his own image so it’s perhaps not surprising that the members of his squad that make our XI were inherited by the ex-Swansea gaffer.
Jerzy Dudek gets the nod in nets. His double save from Andriy Shevchenko at the end of extra time in the 2005 Champions League final ensured Liverpool’s famous comeback wasn’t for nothing and his saves in the ensuing shoot-out gave Liverpool their greatest post-millennial moment.
In central defence the Champions League-winning pairing of Sami Hyypia – the best value Liverpool buy this century – and long-time stalwart Jamie Carragher is a no brainer.
Both were immovable objects during the club’s improbable ascent to the pinnacle of European football and their partnership oversaw Liverpool’s most impregnable campaign of the century the following season.
Despite his advancing years Carragher’s vocal on-pitch presence remains an irreplaceable asset to this day.
On the flanks of a side lacking out and out wingers Glen Johnson is chosen, with his ever-willing overlaps and ability to create and score chances by himself earning him the jersey over the ever-reliable Steve Finnan.
The sadly injury-prone Fabio Aurelio offers another cultured presence on the opposite flank with his magical left boot a proven supplier of set-piece fireworks.
It’s no surprise that the Liverpool orchestra found it hard to stay in tune when conductor in chief Xabi Alonso left and his worth to his team was finally, starkly illustrated. Rampaging, inspirational skipper Steven Gerrard is an unimpeachable presence next door to him in the middle.
Alongside that stellar twosome, Danny Murphy earns the recognition that was only fleetingly granted him during his time at Anfield. The 2002/03 Supporters Player of the Year was a victim of the fearsome competition for places in the squad during the mid noughties, but the man Phil Thompson once described as ‘the most tactically aware player we have’ still found time to score the winning goal on three visits to Old Trafford.
Up front the elfin goody-two-shoes incarnation of Fernando Torres leads the line in memory of the period in which it seemed his very presence in the Liverpool line up turned the usually reliable Nemanja Vidic into a gibbering wreck.
He’s flanked by two players with more than a little devil between them in Robbie Fowler and Luis Suarez. Fowler averaged more than a goal every other game in his 236-match first spell with the Reds, whilst Suarez’s irrepressible dribbling threat is quite unlike any other attacker Anfield has seen this century.
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