Continuing with the Liverpool nostalgia theme, I was thinking yesterday of the best goals of the Benitez era. And after decrying the posting of YouTube videos less than a week ago, I’m going to rely on them here. Enjoy.
10. John Arne Riise v Birmingham 03.21.06
The pick of seven that Liverpool put past Birmingham in the quarter final of the 05/06 FA Cup. Since Benitez’s arrival at Anfield, Riise has become more prolific, with 14 goals since 2004, most of them screamers from outside the box. This goal wins out over other trademark JAR strikes against Chelsea (twice), Tottenham, and Manchester City.
9. Steven Gerrard v Aston Villa 04.29.06
Surprisingly, Stevie’s name appears frequently on this list. This was another game that Gerrard rescued, with two goals in the second half to beat a Villa side that was causing Liverpool more trouble than they should have.
8. Harry Kewell v Tottenham 01.14.06
When he’s been fit, Harry’s put in a couple of nice strikes, and looked last season to be returning to the Kewell of old. This goal against Tottenham was Liverpool’s only goal in a game that looked to be ending 0-0, and edges out Kewell’s superb goal against Everton last season.
7. Neil Mellor v Arsenal 11.28.04
Neil Mellor placed #90 in the “100 Players Who Shook The Kop,” and his piece starts off with Jaime Carragher saying “Oy, Mellor’s on here?” with a smiling surprised look on his face. After banging them in for the reserves, but undergoing numerous operations on his knees, it looked like Mellor was never going to make the first team. But he was instrumental during the Champions League-winning season, where injuries gave him an opportunity. Not only did he score this delightful winner against Arsenal, but he also set up Stevie’s goal against Olympiakos and scored one of his own as a sub in the comeback that saved Liverpool’s Champions League campaign.
6. Steven Gerrard v Middlesbrough 04.30.05
Another Gerrard belter. Similar to the Villa goal in the distance and the swerve on the ball, but the pass leading up to the goal and the touch that Gerrard displays before shooting is just gorgeous.
5. Peter Crouch v Galatasaray 09.27.06
For all the good touches he’s shown, I never thought Crouchy had this goal in him. He’s 6’7”. That’s a bicycle kick. You figure out this goal, I’m awful at physics.
4. Luis Garcia v Juventus 04.05.05
Finnan with a nice touch pass to Le Tallac, who hits it on the volley to Garcia who hits it on the volley into the back of the net from 30 yards curled over about $60,000,000 of goalkeeper. I’m amazed I’m only putting this fourth. This goal put Liverpool up 2-0 over Juve, and ended up being the difference in the aggregate score. Garcia was another essential piece in the Champions League puzzle; however frustrating he can be, he delivers big goals in big games.
3. Xabi Alonso v Newcastle 09.20.06; Xabi Alonso v Luton 01.07.06
A joint choice; both deserve to be on this list, and both with be forever linked. Two goals from behind the halfway line in less than a calendar year. One right-footed, one left-footed. I’m willing to wager that’s not going to happen again soon.
2. Steven Gerrard v West Ham 05.13.06
And we’re into obvious territory. There’s a reason the DVD of this game is sold with the title “The Steven Gerrard Final.” As you hear the injury time announced over the tannoy, Gerrard, who minutes before was laying on the pitch with cramp, pops up with this rocket that Shaka Hislop has no prayer of stopping.
1. Steven Gerrard v Olympiakos 05.25.05
As if there was any other choice. Enough’s been said. We do too much fawning over Stevie Me here as it is.