The 2005-2006 season was one of significant improvements on the pitch, playing very well off of the love affair that was the glorious night of Istanbul the year before. Steven Gerrard gave all of us a nice little scare a the beginning of the summer, nearly leaving Liverpool to play for either Chelsea or Real Madrid. But, in the end, it did not materialize and our wonderful captain stayed with us. Thank God he did, because he ended up having one of the best seasons possibly imaginable, scoring the most memorable goal in an FA Cup Final (which we eventually won) and earning the PFA Player of the Year award. Gerrard scored belters, he provided for his teammates, and was an all-around beast from minute 0 to minute 90 in any match he played in. One could say this was the “Gerrard Season,” but that might not be entirely fair on some of the other players who stepped up and had amazing seasons. Jamie Carragher, for instance, was incredible from begining to end, as were Xabi Alonso, Luis Garcia, Steve Finnan, John Arne Riise, Harry Kewell, Momo Sissoko, and a host of others.
The improvement from this season compared to the last was unbelievable, as well. From 5th to 3rd, and narrowing the gap at the top by a massive 28 points (from 37 to 9), Liverpool showed that they could actually play the game at the top as they had promised four seasons prior. There were significant upgrades in some pretty important parts of the pitch, as well. With Riise and Kewell on the left rather than Traore and Riise, the left side was finally both offensively and defensively capable. On the right, Rafa placed Steven Gerrard or Djibril Cisse, meaning there was always some kind of threat. And down the middle, the creativity of Alonso was well-complemented by the graft and energy of Momo Sissoko. Hamann had done a great job in the past, but the Premiership was moving up a bit in speed, so more pace was needed to make that next step up. But the biggest upgrade was in goal, with Pepe Reina coming into the side. He was outstanding right off of the bat, showing that Rafa was indeed quite capable in the transfer market with Spanish players… Nunez and Josemi aside, of course!
This season started off slowly, unfortunately, but after about 8 matches, Liverpool went on an unbelievable run of form where we won 10 straight and did not concede for about 11 straight matches. We were not scoring loads of goals, but winning consistently 2-0 or 1-0 or occasionally 3-0. A blip in January and February cooled any possibility of a title challenge, but right after that we were even MORE on fire, winning 10 straight to close off the season and doing so in style. Goals were flying in from all over the place, and the likes of Cisse, Riise, Crouch, Gerrard, Luis Garcia, and Kewell were just punishing the opposition. The FA Cup run, though, was the major story. Down 3-1 against Luton in our first match, destiny seemed to be on our side as we capped off an amazing comeback with a 70 yard goal by Xabi Alonso to win 5-3. Wins over Portsmouth, Manchester United, Birmingham City, and Chelsea brought us to the final, all of which were either dramatic or punishingly brilliant. In the final, we were down 0-2, and Gerrard inspired a comeback of the ages as Cisse and Gerrard tied it up at 2-2. Konchesky’s fluke cross almost ruined our dream, but Steven Gerrard scored the best/most important “best” goal I’ve ever seen and we were tied at 3-3, won the penalty shoot out, and broke my toe all in one shabang! (more on that later)
The season was one of a lot of ups and very few downs… definitely in my top 3 seasons in the 10 I’ve been a supporter of this great club.
TOP 5 MOMENTS
5) Super Cup Champions! 3-1 over CSKA Moscow. AKA “The Djibril Cisse Final.”
Silverware is silverware. Even though some matches may have FELT more important over the course of the season (winning 2-1 over Chelsea in the semis, for instance), this one brought home a trophy. After winning last season’s Champions League, we were gifted with the opportunity to play against the UEFA Cup champions, CSKA Moscow. We were losing 1-0 with not much time remaining when Djibril Cisse charged through, got lucky as the ball bounced around (hit his arm, as it happens) and only had to tap it in. In extra time, Cisse was through again, where he typically shot right at the keeper and was lucky enough to have yet another rebound tap-in. Cisse then hooked up his teammate Luis Garcia in the depths of extra time with a glorious cross that the little Spaniard headed in with ease. 3-1 it was, and Liverpool could lift yet another trophy.
4) Crouch 1, Manchester United 0
Having been totally owned by Manchester United in the FA Cup for decades, it was a sweet moment for Liverpool when Peter Crouch headed in off of the post in the first half at Anfield in the 5th round of the cup. Crouch had suffered a horrific run of form during the first few months of the season, so it was also sweet vindication for him to show what he could do in the big matches, not just against the likes of Wigan, West Bromwich Albion, or Deportivo Saprissa. The Reds were able to hold on to the very end, and outplayed Manchester United from the very beginning… something that had not been seen in the previous encounters with Rafa at the helm. This match definitely signalled a feeling of FA Cup destiny, as well!
3) 3-1 Merseyside Derby CLASSIC at Anfield.
This particular season was often represented by moments where Steven Gerrard dragged the club by the scruff of the neck and made it happen, usually by goals and inspirational moments of brilliance. This match was the EXACT opposite of that, which is part of the reason it became such an enjoyable classic. Only minutes into the match, Gerrard (who was known for being a bit of an Everton-killer), got a silly yellow card for kicking the ball away when Everton were due to have a free kick. Seconds later, in a rush of pure blood, Gerrard scythed down an unfortunate Kevin Kilbane to the turf. Kilbane was classy about it, I’ll admit, and didn’t try to milk it. Stevie deserved to go off, and we were faced with about 75 minutes of 10 men football without Gerrard out there! The response? We held on for dear life, took a crazy lead when Phil Neville (of all people!) scored a ludicrous own-goal, took a TWO goal lead with a majestic run and chip from Luis Garcia, found ourselves just 2-1 up, and then capped it all off with a magical goal from Harry Kewell from 25 yards out. 3-1 with just 10 men, and without our source of inspiration? That’s the Merseyside Derby at its finest!
2) Luton Town 3-1 becomes Liverpool 5-3. Classic 3rd Round FA Cup Match Comeback.
What can one possibly say about this match that would do it justice? Liverpool were the clear favorites before the match, took a 1-0 lead after a sensational Gerrard strike, and looked like cruising through the Hatters like they were just child’s play. But then a fishy fairy tale started to take place, with Luton Town scoring three times without reply (including a Cisse penalty that was saved amongst it all) and we were down 3-1! Up stepped… Xabi Alonso and Florent Sinama Pongolle? Who would have EVER guessed that combination? Sinama Pongolle began the revival in the middle of the second half after Gerrard sent him into space, and then Xabi Alonso’s speculative 40 yarder took a strange deflection at the point of it being struck (two feet hitting at once, maybe?) and the ball flew over the keeper’s head and into the net. Sinama Pongolle then brilliantly headed in a fantastic Steve Finnan cross to make it 4-3, and then the most ridiculous moment of it all was when Beresford of Luton (the goalkeeper) came up for their last second corner, was caught out by Alonso, and Xabi’s LEFT FOOTED bobbler from 70 yards found its way SLOWLY into the Luton net. A match that can never be forgotten, that’s for sure!
1) The 2006 FA Cup Final Classic. AKA “The Gerrard Final.”
In a season jam-packed full of memorable classics, this one takes first prize due to its quality of goals, multiple comebacks, and pure magic. The match started off in the worst way possible, with Liverpool falling 0-2 behind after only 28 minutes “thanks” to a Carragher own-goal and a Reina blunder that led to an Ashton toe-poker. Situations like this call for a hero, and the invisible Gerrard all of a sudden put on his cape and turned into Batman, Superman, and Spiderman in one entity. His outstanding floating throughball found the foot of Cisse from 6 yards and the Frenchman volleyed it in cautiously (for once!) into the corner to make it 1-2. Gerrard then scored about 10 minutes into the second half with a smashing half-volley into the upper corner from 12 yards out to even it up at 2-2. At that point, the match already felt like a classic, but two more important twists were yet to happen. The first was a total fluke, as Paul Konchesky’s cross was mishit and flew over Reina’s head and into the upper corner. Not even Zidane or Beckham could have placed that one! With 90 minutes gone, and West Ham just moments away from lifting the cup, Steven Gerrard found himself cramping up and hardly able to move. So what did he do? How about cracking a volley from 35 yards into the low corner? That’s exactly what happened, and I am having difficulty giving this any form of credit that it is due. The ball was not only lasered into the lower corner, but it was as if there was a magnet in goal, tracking in the ball with willpower. The crowd’s reaction, the announcer’s reaction, and my own personal reaction made this special. I actually BROKE MY TOE celebrating this goal, jumping up and slamming it against our coffee table. I could care less. We had tied it up! The match ended up in penalties, and Pepe Reina did a fantastic job of cementing his place into the folklore of the club, saving from Zamora, Konchesky, and then Ferdinand to win the cup. Hamann, Riise, and Gerrard had given us the advantage despite Hyypia’s miss, and a 5th penalty taker was not even needed. VICTORY!
TOP 10 BEST GOALS
10) Kewell v. Tottenham
Harry Kewell hadn’t scored in over a full calendar year, but this goal more than made up for that, and underlined that he was having a renaissance season for the club. Steve Finnan floated over a cross to Crouch that went too far, but Kewell had rushed onto it and lashed it into the back of the net with a sumptuous left foot volley. The pony-tailed wonder had it in him, and it was wonderful at the time to see him utilize his ability back to the potential he had shown in his first season with Liverpool. Great goal, and it was the winner in the 1-0 victory over Spurs.
9) Gerrard @ Newcastle
As far as team goals go, this was one of those super sweet ones. Daniel Agger’s fantastic forward run led to a dish-off to Cisse on the right, and Djib sent over a floating cross to the head of Gerrard, who nodded it down to the feet of Crouch, who one-timed it to the right of Gerrard, who placed it magnificently one-timed into the lower far-post corner. The one-two between Crouch and Gerrard was extremely pleasant on the eye, but so was the initial build-up involving Agger and Cisse. A fabulous team goal that definitely symbolized the style of play Rafa was trying to build with this group of players.
8 ) Cisse @ Anderlecht
If Kewell’s volley looked nice, then you have to take a look at this one from Djibril Cisse. This goal was the only one in a 1-0 victory on the road in Belgium. As the corner floated into the middle of the area, it appeared that someone might get a head on it, but alas they did not and Cisse took a swing with his right leg and cranked it high and up the middle of the net, seemingly going straight through the hands of the goalkeeper. In fairness, you would have to say that the keeper had no chance since the ball was hit so hard and not all that far away from him (about 10 yards out). You have to admit that Cisse had some power, even if he lacked a bit of ability at times!
7) Sinama Pongolle @ Real Betis
Florent Sinama Pongolle gave Liverpool a perfect start to their away fixture in Seville against Real Betis as he lobbed the ball brilliantly from 20 yards into the net as the keeper was off of his line. Most of Sinama’s goals had been onrushing slotted goals, or headers, so it was a bit of a pleasant surprise to see a goal like this, particularly so early on in a match. Liverpool ended up winning 2-1 after Luis Garcia added a second, and it turned out to be his last European goal for the club. But what a goal!
6) Riise @ Birmingham City
Winning 4-0 already, John Arne Riise had a rip from about 30 yards into the upper corner in a match that would end up finishing 7-0. Let’s not let that take away from the goal, however, as it was a true howlitzer. Gerrard flicked the ball onto the path of Riise from about 30 yards and at the apex of the top of the 18 yard box. Riise’s strike was taken after just one touch of the ball, and he lasered it perfectly into that upper corner. Even the Birmingham City supporters stood up and applauded this one!
5) Kewell v. Everton
In my favorite Merseyside Derby of my 10 years supporting the club, Harry Kewell scored the third and final goal in spectacular fashion. Kewell had the ball at his feet from about 25 yards out, gave a nice little fake about what he would do next, the defender bought it, so “what the hell…let’s have a crack!” Kewell’s left footer spun sideways, knuckled, and did this strange little ‘dippy-thing’ as it found its way into the far side netting. What a strike it was, and the celebration was also a bit different! One of my favorite goals as far as the moment and quality are concerned. Well done, ‘arry!
4) Luis Garcia v. Anderlecht
As far as technically difficult headers are concerned, this goal from Luis Garcia is right up there with the most challenging. From the top of the box, King Luis was able to contort his body and head in a way that would twist and turn and yet manage to redirect the ball with pace and curl over the keeper’s head and off of the bar and in. Probably the best header I’ve ever seen from anybody from any team in any situation. What an amazing goal!
3) Gerrard v. Aston Villa
Gerrard must have attached a zipline from his foot into the top corner in this match, because this goal was hit so straight and so perfectly that there is no possible explanation that could otherwise explain something so perfect. He absolutely hammered it. Up 2-1, thanks to his second goal, Gerrard took a few strides forward from a Morientes pass and then lets rip with an anger and accuracy that can’t possibly be matched by anyone in the world apart from Cristiano Ronaldo. What a magnificent strike!
2) Alonso @ Luton Town
In the classic 5-3 victory over Luton Town, Xabi Alonso cemented it as a piece of FA Cup history with a 70 yard left-footed bobbling strike that crawled into the net in the dying seconds. He had already scored the equalizer earlier from a mere 35-40 yards, so he wanted to make it a total of 100 yards! The goal as a “finished product” itself wasn’t that amazing, as it was more of a pass, but it was the COMPOSURE to keep it on target and to actually get it to hit the frame! If you have ever tried to do what he just did, imagine having to do that after 90 minutes of running and being tackled. IMPRESSIVE.
1) Gerrard v. West Ham
My favorite all-time Liverpool goal. BAR NONE. When I think of Liverpool, when I think of my experience as a supporter, and when I think of sports in general, my mind reverts to this moment. Steven Gerrard is not just a legend, he is not just a hero, and he is not just a spectacular footballer. He is a moment of time, a piece of my heart, and is responsible for a lot of joy I’ve had in my life as a supporter. This goal encapsulates all of that in one piece of footballing artistry. Down 2-3, and about to be dumped out of the cup, Steven Gerrard threw aside his own personal pain and managed to score a goal of the utmost quality… in front of millions, mind you! As the ball trickled and bounced over to him at a left-center position on the pitch, Gerrard could have controlled it and found someone to pass to… or he could take a hit at it. He chose the latter, and did so with viciousness and composure combined, the sign of a true athlete. His form was not just immaculate, but it was done in such a way that suggests that he can defy the odds of physics. His muscles should not have been able to do that in that occasion with those sort of injuries. But he did, and the ball flew in a laser-beam fashion into the lower corner past a diving Shaka Hislop. I broke my toe, as mentioned earlier in the celebration, but was HAPPY to have broken it. This was a moment I can never, ever forget. It IS Liverpool to me. Cup final tied, and we’d go on to win. Steven Gerrard… LEGEND.
TOP 10 MOST IMPORTANT GOALS
10) Luis Garcia v. Everton
The classic Anfield Merseyside Derby in 2005-2006 was well and truly won not when Phil Neville made himself look like a total d-bag, but when Luis Garcia ran clear and chipped the ball over the keeper and into the far corner. The score was now 2-0, and we’d go on to win the match 3-1. Luis Garcia had a nice little habit of scoring goals against Everton, didn’t he? Not a bad habit to have!
9) Cisse v. CSKA Moscow
Cisse’s first goal against CSKA Moscow leveled the scores before extra time in this Super Cup final (which pits the winner of the Champions League against the winner of the UEFA Cup) and in extra time he was there to score the second. After being sent clear through, one would have expected Cisse to show his class and slot it in, but instead he showed his lack of composure and his luck, and was able to shoot straight at the keeper, snag the rebound, and tap it in for the Reds to lift the cup. Doesn’t matter how you do it… what matters is that it happens. In this case, it happened. GOAL!
8 ) Luis Garcia v. Arsenal
I took the day off of work to watch this one, and at 0-0 with only minutes remaining, I was a bit miffed, I’ll be honest. Arsenal are obviously no slouch, but Liverpool were dominating the match and nothing was showing for it. That was until, naturally, Luis Garcia came onto the pitch and typically made an impact. Didi Hamann’s powerful 20 yard strike was struck low, and Jens Lehmann could only parry it to the side, where Luis Garcia ran into the space and slammed it home with the inside of his right foot and off of the side of Lehmann and in. Given how the match had been played, I was shocked the ball didn’t deflect wide… but it was a goal and Luis Garcia gave me the PERFECT Valentine’s Day present! 1-0 to the Reds at Anfield, and that was that!
7) Sinama Pongolle @ Luton Town
Down 3-1 in this classic FA Cup tie, some unlikely heroes stepped up and grabbed a double. One of those heroes was Xabi Alonso, who grabbed the equalizer and the last of the five goals in the 5-3 victory the Reds obtained in a 3rd round FA Cup tie with Luton Town at Kenilworth Road. The other hero was Florent Sinama Pongolle, who scored the second and fourth goals in the victory. The #7 goal on this list happens to be the fourth goal. After slotting in the second, FSP was hungry for more. Steve Finnan sent over a delightful and inviting cross to the young “French gem” and a header was perfectly designed. Sinama ran onto it just in time and redirected the ball fantastically into the top corner, sending the travelling Liverpool supporters into a fit of ecstasy. At home, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing (I wasn’t able to watch this one live)… was this REALLY happening? Yes, and FSP was at the center of a lot of it!
6) Luis Garcia v. Chelsea
After the previous year’s “phantom goal” in the semifinal, Chelsea were hungry to prove to Liverpool that they could cope with us in a semifinal competition. But Liverpool were in no mood to have their FA Cup dream ended, and John Arne Riise opened the scoring with a fabulous free-kick. The lead never felt safe, however, with Drogba wasting a glorious chance, and Chelsea always capable of snagging a goal or two back. Luis Garcia then stepped up yet again as a Liverpool player and capitalized on an uncharacteristic Chelsea defensive error. William Gallas struggled with it, and the ball bounced into the path of a charging Luis Garcia into acres of space. With Petr Cech racing towards King Luis, our #10 had no choice but to take a rip from the top of the box, which he did so brilliantly into the far top corner with his laces. Scintillating strike in a very difficult set of circumstances, and we were 2-1 up. Turns out it was important, as Drogba scored and Cole was fractions of an inch away from taking the lead. To Cardiff we went!
5) Riise v. Chelsea
Before the Luis Garcia goal that was just mentioned, John Arne Riise gave Liverpool the lead with a delightfully crafted free kick. Known for his power rather than for his finesse, John Arne Riise was expected to take a hammer of a shot when Liverpool lined up to take the kick at the upper left corner of the 18 yard box. To everyone’s surprise, especially Chelsea’s, Riise took a curling approach THROUGH the wall and into the near post corner. To say he was pumped that he scored would be a MILD understatement. Liverpool went on to win 2-1, advance to the final, and win the competition. Well done, Riise!
4) Crouch v. Manchester United
Peter Crouch… synonymous by this point with streakiness. At this stage of the season, he was in a bit of a dry spell after going on a purple patch of goal-grabbing. 15 minutes in against arch-rivals Manchester United in the 5th round of the FA Cup, however, and Crouch was back amongst the goals. Liverpool had not defeated the Red Devils in the FA Cup in 7 attempts since 1921. 1921!!! So his goal definitely meant a lot to the fans, because hey… it was the first time any of us have seen us defeat them in the cup! The cross by Finnan was inch perfect, and Crouch threw himself into the fray and did well to make a solid connection and got LUCKY when the ball hit the post and rolled behind the line rather than in front of it. By those margins are matches won and lost, no? GET IN!
3) Gerrard v. West Ham
Steven Gerrard’s first goal in the FA Cup final was one that equalized the scores at 2-2. Peter Crouch’s knockdown to Gerrard was perfectly placed, as Gerrard had all of the space in the world to slam the ball into the upper corner. He had plenty of work to do, but Gerrard makes these sort of things look supremely easy to do. Without this goal, who knows what would have happened… turns out we won it.
2) Cisse v. West Ham
Down 0-2 in the FA Cup final, and playing like absolute rubbish, Liverpool were in trouble. So how important was it then that Liverpool snagged a goal against the run of play. Steven Gerrard’s insanely accurate floating 50 yard cross was put straight into the path of Djibril Cisse, who stuck out his right boot and directed the ball into the lower corner of the net. It was a great goal, but more than that it was definitely a very important goal that got things rolling.
1) Gerrard v. West Ham
Gerrard’s second goal against West Ham in the FA Cup Final was probably the best goal (right up there with the Tottenham strike in the early 80s) in the FA Cup Final’s history. Timing, quality, magic… it had everything. I’ve already said plenty about it, so you know already what happened… but let’s just say that our 7th FA Cup trophy in our cabinet has everything to do with this goal and this man.
SIGNINGS AND DEPARTURES
The summer of 2005 was one that was incredibly crucial to the future of Liverpool Football Club. Had Liverpool lost Steven Gerrard that summer, almost everything we have experienced over the years would have been drastically different. Fortunately for us, we do not know what that future would have looked like… because Gerrard committed himself to the cause and essentially declared himself a Red for life. This was like a major signing, but without the transfer fee!
As far as the actual signings were concerned, Rafa brought in Momo Sissoko from Valencia, Peter Crouch from Southampton, and Bolo Zenden from Middlesbrough. All three of these players would make a major impact in different times of the season. Sissoko’s was perhaps the most consistent during this particular season, Zenden’s was over about two months, and Crouch’s would last for three seasons, but would struggle during the first few months. The signing that made the biggest impact, however, was Pepe Reina from Villareal. The goalkeeping position had been an achilles heel for Liverpool FC over the past decade, and one person after the next suffered from chronic “calamity James” syndrome. With Reina, we finally grabbed someone of consistency, and his performances during 2005-2006 showed that he was up for the task. Since then, not much has changed, which is absolutely BRILLIANT.
In the January window, Rafa snapped up only a few more players, the most notable of course were Daniel Agger and especially Robbie Fowler! The return of God was one that was highly unexpected, but ended up being inspired. Fowler did not play a whole lot in his year and a half return, but he did decently for himself whenever he got the chance. Towards the end of the 2005-2006 season, Fowler actually went on a bit of a goal glut, scoring 5 goals in 3 months. Not bad for someone who was “clearly past it.” Other than these two, Rafa also went for Jan Kromkamp, who turned out to be a bit of a dud.
Rafa’s first full summer after a season saw a surprisingly few amount of moves. He wanted to make his changes slowly but surely as to not completely disrupt his club’s rhythm. The departures that made the biggest impression on the supporters, though, were those of El Hadji Diouf, Josemi, Milan Baros, Igor Biscan, Vladimir Smicer, and Antonio Nunez. These departures showed that not only was Rafa aware of who wasn’t going to make us better, but who we as supporters considered to be a bit of a waste of space. This was crucial, because it showed that he was ruthless and only wanted the best for the club. In the previous reign, Houllier never admitted to these mistakes and constantly played his crappy signings regardless of how they were doing. It was clear that Rafa would be different. This was very, very good.
TOP 5 PLAYERS
5) Peter Crouch
I was seriously doubtful of this move at first, but a few months in I could tell what Rafa was going for. Crouchie could play football, and he was a wonderful option. I’ll never forget his Wigan double to open his account, and from there on he was a fabulous player for us who consistently scored big goals and played his heart out for the cause. In 2005-2006, he scored in the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park, grabbed the winner over Manchester United, and made a lot of friends by being so good-natured about his goal drought. His good humor and ability to connect so wonderfully with Steven Gerrard made him a great fit at the club.
4) Pepe Reina
This goalkeeper improvement proved to be hugely important for the club. Under the command of Jerzy Dudek, I always felt nervous. What would happen? With Reina, though, I always felt confident that the lines would be organized and the difficult shots would be stopped. Reina filled me with a feeling of calm in 2005-2006… a feeling I hadn’t had in years, if ever at Liverpool. Sander Westerveld certainly didn’t do it, I’ll tell you that!
3) Xabi Alonso
It was another brilliant season for Xabi Alonso, whose passing and fabulous goals (though few) continued to insprire the Kopites. That extra bit of class could continually be found through Alonso, and there was always that sense that Xabi would do something special to open a match up. The Luton Town match was just one example, but his passes against West Brom and Sunderland in particular underlined his ability to make ridiculous long-raking balls that nobody else in the world could duplicate. Xabi Alonso is a freakin’ beast.
2) Jamie Carragher
Something clicked in Carra when Rafa put him in the center of defense. In 2005-2006, his excellent form continued and blossomed, turning him into one of the world’s best defenders. A few years prior, many people would have scoffed at that suggestion. Not now, though. It was becoming quite clear to everyone that Carra was a warrior… a winner. His communication, athleticism, work rate, and intuition were just a few of his obvious qualities, but overall it was his heart that made him such a unique player… particularly in 2005-2006. He was a man on a mission, and was responsible for countless amount of points in this season.
1) Steven Gerrard
The 2005-2006 season was the season where Gerrard grew up from a great player in the Premiership into one of the best players in the world. The signs were obviously there in 2004-2005 when he lifted the European Cup, but at times he was a bit erratic. In this particular campaign, Gerrard brought more composure to his game and wasn’t such a loose cannon. Gerrard practially won the FA Cup for us on his own, and was largely responsible for basically all of our goals in the Champions League qualification, scoring SEVEN TIMES in 6 qualification matches. Wow. 23 goals was a big step up from a player who had a previous best of 13… the year before. Definitely boy becomes man…
TOP 3 FLOPS
3) Jan Kromkamp
A Dutch right back from Villareal? Sounds exciting! Erm… not so much. Kromkamp’s style of play was quite dull, and he really provided nothing to the cause. The direct exchange with Josemi was nice because Josemi was worse, but Kromkamp did nothing to prove why we made the deal in the first place. NEXT!
2) Djimi Traore
Not that we all expected anything great from him, but Djimi Traore’s promise from the 2004-2005 season (particularly the end of it) did not materialize in 2005-2006. He became a liability… someone we needed to replace. Fortunately, that was made quite easy by the reeemergence of Harry Kewell.
1) Fernando Morientes
Whenever Rafa played Morientes, we looked like total crap. Whenever he didn’t play him, we looked better. Needless to say, most Reds didn’t bat an eye when he was sold to Valencia in the following summer. It was needed, because let’s face it… he couldn’t hack it in the Premiership. Too slow and no bottle.
Top Goalscorers in All Competitions:
Luis Garcia- 11
Xabi Alonso- 5
(away) 7-0 over Birmingham City
(home) 5-1 over Fulham
(away) 0-2 @ Charlton Athletic
(home) 1-4 v. Chelsea
Games Played/Won/Clean Sheets/etc.:
Clean Sheets: 33
Goals Scored: 104
Goals Conceded: 44
League- 3rd on 82 points
Champions League- knocked out at Round of 16 against Benfica (0-3 aggregate)
FA Cup- Champions! (3-3 over West Ham, 3-1 on penalties)
League Cup- knocked out in 3rd round against Crystal Palace (1-2 loss)
Super Cup- Champions! (3-1 over CSKA Moscow)
World Club Cup- 2nd place (0-1 loss to Sao Paolo)