wed, 20 feb gmt steven gerrard my liverpool story pdf - steven gerrard has confirmed his interest in gerrard: my autobiography - constanzachorus. Ten things we learned from Steven Gerrard's book, My Story Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard says he has "one eye" on the Reds' title race after scoring a last-. Get Free Read & Download Files Steven Gerrard My Liverpool Story PDF. STEVEN GERRARD MY LIVERPOOL STORY. Download: Steven Gerrard My.
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Steven Gerrard My Liverpool Story - - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. Life of Stevn Gerrard from to Thu, 25 Oct GMT steven gerrard my story pdf - Steven Gerrard is the former captain of. Liverpool football team and of the England national. gmt steven gerrard my liverpool story pdf - steven gerrard has confirmed his interest in gerrard: my autobiography by steven gerrard - if you are.
It was like that under Gerard that season. Now to be playing in one was a dream come true, although for 83 minutes it was an occasion to endure rather than enjoy. Although not a brilliantly written book, if you love Steven Gerrard and Liverpool then you will love the book. Sep 04, Madhur Mirani rated it it was amazing. I was settled off the pitch and to uproot everyone, and everything, would have been a huge commitment. I was worried about what would happen to Gerard and then I worried about what would happen to us as a team. Great Autobiography with a truly amazing storey about this player.
Two FA Cups. Three League Cups. And that Champions League win. Gerrard embodies the spirit and passion of Liverpool football club like no other in the modern era. From the raw but talented youngster who made the jump from the Melwood training ground and took to the famous Anfield turf at 18, to Steven Gerrard is a genuine Liverpool legend.
From the raw but talented youngster who made the jump from the Melwood training ground and took to the famous Anfield turf at 18, to the talismanic skipper who has led his beloved club through thick and thin, this stunningly illustrated book, complete with exclusive new photographs, is the story of his fifteen momentous seasons at Liverpool FC.
Along with a foreword from Kenny Dalglish, this is Steven Gerrard's Liverpool story in his own words. Get A Copy. More Details Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Steven Gerrard , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Sep 18, Leo. Great story from a great player. The best. Now youth team manager. These young lads must be in awe to have Stevie G as their coach. What can I say? Not enough words could ever convey The captain fantastic, a super hero is he For the Mighty Reds, and I bet Shankly Would have thought the same Having a local lad, play the beautiful game Box to box runs, and a forty yard shot Defending and attacking, Stevie G has the lot A quarterback pass, for Torres to score A link up with Suarez, who sc Great story from a great player.
Not enough words could ever convey The captain fantastic, a super hero is he For the Mighty Reds, and I bet Shankly Would have thought the same Having a local lad, play the beautiful game Box to box runs, and a forty yard shot Defending and attacking, Stevie G has the lot A quarterback pass, for Torres to score A link up with Suarez, who scores even more Many have said, who played in his team What a great player, for Liverpool, there has ever been By Leo.
View 1 comment. Jun 30, Karita rated it it was amazing. View 2 comments. Sep 26, Thomas rated it really liked it. What was the most exciting part and why? The part found exciting when Steven talked about the biggest disaster in footballing history, the Hillsborough disaster. I liked it because it was really interesting to hear about his point of view of the disaster because his cousin Jon-Paul lost his life in the tragedy were 96 football fans also died.
He said it inspired him to play better and harder then he ever had before. He proved that by scoring on the disasters anniversary versus one of there main r What was the most exciting part and why?
He proved that by scoring on the disasters anniversary versus one of there main rivals. Would you recommend this text to other? Yes I definitely would because this text kept me wanting to read more from the first couple of pages. It gave a real inside to what football really is off the pitch and on it. It described what a real captain should be and Steven Gerrard really showed it by leading his team to win the champions league in and by himself winning player of the year in The story really keeps you captivated and interested the whole way to the final page.
An interesting book for a Liverpool fan such as myself. Jul 01, Dharmvir rated it it was amazing. A true team man who never let his country down and his club.
Playing in midfield and helping other players to soccer goal. The most magical movement for me as a Liverpool fan was when he lifted the UEFA champions league trophy. A true sportsman who played on his will. Sep 26, Qassas93 rated it it was amazing. Thank you Captain.
Mar 03, Keith Tait rated it really liked it. Although not a brilliantly written book, if you love Steven Gerrard and Liverpool then you will love the book. Reliving some brilliant memories with a bit more inside info. Good read. May 12, Martin rated it it was ok. Not much reading but lots of pictures with bits of text. Nov 20, Asher B rated it it was amazing. I am very excited to read this book because the auto biography is about Steven Gerrard and he is my all-time favourite.
I have watched him play many times on TV and on the field. When I read this book I will remember some amazing things he did for his club, like when he one the Champions League for the 5th time. I also find Steven Gerrard an idol for me and I will always Before: I also find Steven Gerrard an idol for me and I will always look up to him.
Sep 09, Raka Friestyan rated it it was amazing. Good book, Captain. Although I agree with those who said this book is lots of pictures but bits of words, but it doesn't really matter. A full-blown love affair had been ignited. He had grown used to scouts pulling him to one side after games. We would like him to come and train with us. Just to be driven through the iron gates of the training ground was an amazing feeling and on the way there with my dad I was imagining bumping into the likes of John Barnes and Ronnie Whelan.
Of course, there was no chance of that. The first team had long since gone home and it was night before the kids were allowed in. As it was, the first thing that really struck me about being in this magical, hallowed place that had been graced by some of the greatest players ever to play football was.
It was like a carpet, a bowling green. Whiston Juniors was a well- run club and used to produce a programme with match reports in them. I was scoring hat-tricks, getting Man of the Match and we were beating teams heavily, every week. There are other good players out there too! A whole new world opened up in front of me and it was one I was desperate to be a part of.
Back then, at the very start of my career, I was more scared and nervous than anything else. But I was soon put at ease. From day one until the day I turned professional, they were there for me. And they would still be there for me if I needed anything. They were a team and all used to sing off the same hymn sheet. They believed in the same values of the club and looking back on it now they became like uncles to me.
I felt as though I was part of a family because they treated me that well. Going elsewhere allowed me to see what those clubs were like compared to Liverpool, but I never got the same feeling. I went to West Ham and scored a couple of goals in a trial game against Cambridge, which we won 6—2. I spent four days with West Ham when I was 11 and at the end of it they offered me a three-year professional contract for when I was Maybe I was better than I thought after all.
Everton were also keen on offering me a deal around the same time, but they never had a chance. They were pestering my dad all the time to get me to go in and have a look around and play in a game for them and eventually I did just that, to ensure my dad got a break from them as much as anything. I started a game for them, but at half-time I was taken off.
Maybe they had seen enough, but there were a lot of kids there that day so they could have wanted to give someone else a chance. But I took it as an insult. Everton had been asking me to go there for months and months and months and then they dragged me off.
I just thought if I am going to impress you, I want a full match to do it in. I was never going to go there, but I did follow them a bit. Ged Brannan was from the same estate as me and he played for them and used to get us tickets every now and then, so I did have a bit of a soft spot for them.
Really though, I wanted to play for Liverpool. My team. And Liverpool wanted me. I just wanted to play. Every day I practised in the street. Making sure I had a ball for break, lunchtime and after school, was my first priority and after that my books. I did dream about Liverpool though. A lot. We were 11 at the time. From the first moment I saw Michael in those early games at the Vernon Sangster, I knew he was brilliant. He scored for fun when we were kids. Ice cold in front of goal even at that age.
There were between 10 and 14 players in our age group at Liverpool, but only Michael and I were invited to San Sebastian. With progress comes responsibility. It was about respect. There were times when I would get above my station with the PE teachers and try and act the big shot because I was training at Liverpool, but if they had ever told my dad he would have come down heavy on me. Liverpool stressed, too, that the invites to Melwood would stop for anyone going off the rails at school and causing trouble.
At the age of 14, another mini-milestone arrived. They did rate me, and highly. While most of my mates at school had trouble scraping together a few quid, I had it written down in black and white on Liverpool-headed notepaper in a draw in my house how much I would be earning until I was The sums were mind-boggling really. My life was being mapped out in front of me, but it was never, ever about money for me. It was just about football. I think everyone who is at a Centre of Excellence or on schoolboy forms believes they will make it.
At the end of the day, you are at Liverpool for a reason. Every time I would step up in an age group, it dawned on me just how hard it was going to be to eventually pull on the red shirt. I was still tiny and everyone else was stronger, bigger and faster than me.
In those circumstances, I am sure there have been good players who have slipped through the net and not been given the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
There was no way that was going to happen to me and, fortunately, I was able to make up for those disadvantages in other areas.
Team-mates and rivals used to tower over me, but football-wise I was head and shoulders above them. I saw things differently on the pitch, spotted the pass quicker than many of them and then delivered it better. There was a game at Melwood when I was in the final year of secondary school and Liverpool had asked me to play for the B-team. I ended up being substitute for the A-team, however, and came on in the final 20 minutes of a match against Blackburn.
I did well, won tackles, sprayed some passes around, and as I walked off afterwards I heard a voice next to me: He had been watching the game and pulled me aside after the final whistle. That was a huge moment for me. He was the boy back then. The one I looked up to probably because I played in the same position as him — central midfield — and he had everything I wanted. I was in awe. Afterwards, I was walking on air. I rushed home to tell my mum and dad and brother, Paul, but no one else.
Many people said I was good at that stage of my career, but this was Jamie Redknapp. It was the first time I had any real contact with Jamie, but he was hugely important to me in those early years at Liverpool. If I needed advice he was there for me and he still is.
For two years, we had a laugh and played on brilliant football pitches. We were all together and we were changing from boys into men. I can remember putting a few extra miles on my expenses to try and squeeze some extra pounds out of Steve Heighway.
Michael Owen changed everything for me. As soon as he went full-time, he was away. That was when I felt the pressure creeping in — and jealousy, too, because I wanted to get to where he was as quickly as he had done it.
His status changed. I was watching them and Michael and Jamie Carragher, too, who I had been sharing a dressing room with only a few months earlier. A bit of frustration crept into me as a footballer for the first time because I wanted it to happen as quickly for me as it had for Michael. Physically, he was ready. But Michael was certainly a big influence in terms of driving me forward. Seeing what he was doing, the highs he was enjoying, gave me the incentive to push on.
Arriving at the ground, getting changed, warming up and then standing on the touchline, nervous as hell, waiting to come on for my Liverpool debut at Anfield against Blackburn Rovers. This was it, everything I had dreamed about. There was a huge adrenaline buzz. Being clapped on by thousands of people, creating a wall of noise, sends a tingle through your body, but the biggest emotion I felt was relief. No one could take that away from me now. I had realised a dream.
My dad said as much to me on the way home afterwards and then paused before adding: It was another life- changing experience. There was a crowd of almost 42, inside Anfield and, for a moment, as I prepared to come on their focus was drawn to me. To be honest, most of the supporters probably thought: People thought I might have been a decent player, but that was as far as it went. Looking back that helped me in some respects. Look at someone like Raheem Sterling.
He has got a big reputation for himself because everyone has seen him terrorising defences on the club channel. There is an expectation that comes with that which makes life difficult. Thankfully from what I see of Raheem, I think he is someone who is taking it all in his stride and he has a good chance of forging a successful career for himself in red.
He is a level-headed kid and I see similarities with how I was at Raheem is quiet, but he comes alive in training and on the pitch. For me, those very first sessions I had with the first team were so important not only in my development, but in also ensuring I was accepted by players I had previously idolised. Immediately my progress snowballed. I knew I had to make an impression. If I trained well, I knew people would sit up and take notice of me.
I made it my mission, from the very first session in which I was involved, to catch the eye. But it was intimidating at the same time. I was scared to talk to them and terrified to give the ball away.
From the moment I started training with Liverpool, there was another change I had to get used to. If I was good enough to be their team mate, then I was good enough to be judged as an equal. It was sink or swim. Give the ball away and you get told about it. That was clear when I made my full debut against Tottenham, the weekend after my cameo against Blackburn. He was on my back for the majority of the 57 minutes I was on the pitch.
Where Robbie Fowler was really supportive, Incey was shouting at me, telling me to sort myself out and keep track of the French winger who was giving me the run around.
We lost 2—1. I hated Incey after that game. I had endured bad games growing up, but nothing like this. I doubted myself and was concerned that my Liverpool career would be over almost before it had begun.
Obviously, I was worrying too much, but at the time you just hope the next game will be easier. He was pushing me to become the best I could be. It was my third game for the club and I knew how important it was. Thankfully, I was back in midfield, my position, and I did well. I felt comfortable straight away: We lost 1—0, but looking back on that match I believe it was a key one for me because it gave Houllier the confidence to persist with me. If I had bombed in that game as well, he might have decided it was better to take me out of the front line.
Instead, he stuck by me and I was given another chance to prove myself when we played Everton in the April of that season. It was 71 minutes before I came on, once again for Heggem, but I made my mark. Anfield exploded as we kept our slender advantage intact and I even celebrated stopping the equaliser, shaking my fists before getting pats on the back from my team- mates.
It felt like I was the match-winner. There is no better way to win supporters round than ensuring they had the bragging rights in a derby. Now the fans could put their trust in me. I was one of them. I had only been on the pitch for 19 minutes, but I crammed so much into that time that as I headed back to the dressing room after the final whistle it felt like I was floating on air.
The next time I faced Everton, however, I was to trudge from the pitch with very different emotions. There were a couple of short passes, I took a throw-in and I over-hit two crosses. If I over-hit a cross now, people will expect the next one to be good.
Without being big-headed, the shape and technique I am using in the picture shows how to whip the ball over with pace. You practise crossing like all other aspects of your game. A lot of players find it hard to get that shape. I still have a lot of contact with him. There will be phone calls and texts from him before a big game and he is still encouraging me and giving me advice.
I will always listen to what Gerard Houllier has to say and that illustrates the respect I have for him. He is someone who I owe an awful lot of gratitude to because without him I would not have had the career I have had. This was a chance for me to learn from one of the best around. He used to get on my back an awful lot when I first started playing in the team and that can be hard to take when you are tentatively feeling your way into the team.
Deep down I knew Incey had my best interests at heart, however, and it was his way of pushing me. He was doing it for the right reasons and that is why, to this day, I have an awful lot of time for him as a player and a person. My first action in a Liverpool shirt against Blackburn and Tottenham had come out of position and as a result I felt out of my depth a bit. Here, I was in central midfield and in the thick of the action. I loved it. This was my position and I started the game well which gave me a huge boost to my confidence.
The UEFA Cup was important in my development because I learnt about different styles and got to experience different types of football. Robbie Fowler was my first idol. He was the man on fire, banging goals in left, right and centre. He was one of the best finishers in the world.
It was surreal for me when I later became his team-mate. I was in awe to begin with, but Robbie was one of the players who helped me the most. He has always been there for me and I am good friends with him now. Off it I was quite shy. On it, I became someone else. I am not proud of that.
In fact, I am embarrassed when I think back to how I used to be and how I used to act when I stepped onto a football pitch. Too often in my younger days, around the time I was 14, I crossed the line. Away from football, I was well-behaved: I was a liability. The staff at Liverpool recognised early in my development that this side of my game needed to be smoothed out.
My aggressive approach became an issue because there were occasions when I had fall-outs with Hughie McAuley, and later on Sammy Lee, in training. Ronnie Moran and Roy Evans, the coaches with the first team, did their best to try and calm me down and ensure I could channel my talents more efficiently.
It was as if that particular match was the most important in the world to me and no one was going to get in my way. My dad was called in to a meeting with the coaches at Melwood one night and I was left to wait at home for the verdict.
When he arrived back, he was blunt. He was speaking for my own sake, to try and prevent me from getting seriously injured, and for the safety of other people. No one at Liverpool wanted to take the hunger out of my game. They said I had a fantastic chance of making it because of my will to win, but I was overly keen.
It was something I had to work on, though even in the first team there have been moments when the red mist has descended. From being one of the heroes when we played Everton at the back end of the —99 season, I found myself cast in the role of villain when the rivalry was renewed at the start of the new campaign. The first red card of my professional career came in the final minutes of a 1—0 defeat at Anfield. In my defence, my foot was high to protect myself because Campbell was coming at me at force.
But when he was left in a heap, I knew I was in trouble. Making a challenge like that is a bit like scoring a goal or making a good tackle. It is a split-second decision, but in this instance I got it wrong.
From where the flashpoint took place to the tunnel at Anfield was probably no more than 25 yards, yet it seemed like an eternity as I trudged off. I was able to put the sending off into context myself. I would now serve a ban, and being deprived of the opportunity to go onto the pitch killed me and told me what I needed to do.
It is all about finding the right balance. When I was growing up I was always told to let the opposition know you are around early on. A lot of games in my early years were won through intimidating players. I have experienced that enough times. Football has changed and you become less aggressive because of the rule changes regarding tackling from behind and approaching challenges with your feet off the floor.
To stand out from the rest of the people in your age group, you have to have something extra, something that they have not got.
It is not just about ability. It is about something inside. I look at Michael Owen and he had that instinct when he was growing up. Jamie Carragher had it and I think I had it as well. My problem was that, whatever it was, I had too much of it to begin with. Kevin Campbell is left flat out after I caught him towards the end of a typically fierce Merseyside derby at Anfield. It was a bad tackle and I deserved to be shown the red card by referee Mike Riley. I was guilty of getting carried away and trying to impress too much.
To make things worse, we lost that game 1—0. I left Anfield all sheepish, but to compound matters I was having a meal afterwards and who did I bump into in the toilets of the restaurant? Kevin Campbell. He could have made it difficult for me, but to be fair to him he was brilliant and we shook hands.
When you break into the first team people will make allowances. Not your team- mates so much, but the manager and coaching staff certainly, and the fans as well.
But I knew I had to improve and show I could cope with the demands of playing for Liverpool every three to four days. Not only that, but starting matches as well.
I was fortunate in the sense that, right from the start, Gerard Houllier believed in me. He liked me and I knew that if I did the right things, I could always count on his support. My career was shaped over the next 18 months, largely because of Gerard, and that is why I will always owe him such a debt of gratitude. I learnt how to behave on and off the pitch.
I discovered how important diet and rest were and, generally, I came to respect the opportunity that stretched out before me. Cut corners and I could fall by the wayside, but with dedication and professionalism Gerard told me I could be whatever I wanted to be. From that moment on, there was never any doubt as to which route I would take. Gerard trusted me, but he still took a huge interest in the life I was living. In truth, he probably spent too much of his time checking on me.
Every single day without fail he would want to catch up with me and because of that daily routine the good habits he wanted me to cherish were drilled into me. But he would stress the importance of eating well, resting well and not partying every week. This was someone who had worked with the top French players, players who had just won the World Cup and would win the European Championship that season.
Gerard thought I had the ability to be recognised as a top player as well. I would have been thick not to listen and take in the advice he offered. I was scared of Gerard in those early days and scared of Phil Thompson, his assistant, as well. They were my bosses at the end of the day. My career was in their hands. I was desperate to please them and prove them right and I soon chalked up another milestone. I had always expected my first goal for Liverpool to come from distance.
I was more of a shooter than a finisher. When the moment finally arrived in a match against Sheffield Wednesday in December , it was like nothing I had imagined. For a start, my first Liverpool goal came from a pass from Rigobert Song which was a surprise in itself.
Usually they went over my head! I was midway in my own half and I remember receiving the ball in an area where my first instinct was to look for a pass.
If there is an easy pass on, I will do it. I only really dribble if I am in a sticky situation or if there is a man to beat and I can get a shot off. But I ran at the Sheffield Wednesday defenders and kept on going as an opportunity opened up in front of me. When the ball hits the back of the net, a weird sensation comes over you. This was the type of stuff I would do as a kid when I was coming through the ranks, back when I found everything a little bit easier.
Now I was doing it at Anfield, in front of the Sky Sports cameras, and to make things even better my mates — Danny Murphy and Davie Thompson — scored in that game as well. It was a huge boost to my confidence. When things like that happen, you realise you can do it at that level and those are the moments that help you grow as a player. That is why scoring at Anfield was so important for me.
All these little things — my debut, my first start and now my first goal — helped me believe in myself a bit more and fill the Liverpool shirt a bit better. As a team we started to grow as well. There was no way I was going to settle for second best let alone fourth, but it represented progress under Gerard and there was a feeling within the squad at the time that we were getting somewhere.
Yet no one in the dressing room could have predicted what was to follow. When the ball hit the back of the net for my first goal for Liverpool, I was just lost in the moment. The way they reacted to that landmark moment showed they were almost as pleased as me. Playing for Liverpool was a dream, now scoring for them was something else. As I trotted back into position, my name was read out over the Tannoy and a huge cheer erupted around Anfield.
I will never forget that moment. Me and the Didi Man Due to the number of foreign players at Liverpool there were, naturally, some cliques in the dressing room. The French lads stuck together for example and, likewise, the English players were a tight group. He knew all the slang and where some foreigners down the years have struggled to understand Carra and myself, he was right in there with all the banter.
As a player, he is one of the best I have played with. Unselfish and very clever, he had this unerring knack of being in the right place at the right time.
Here he is congratulating me after my first ever goal for Liverpool against Sheffield Wednesday. Shadowing a Master Gazza was coming towards the end of his career when I came up against him, and he was obviously not as good as he was in his prime. But just to say I had been on the same pitch as an England hero was unbelievable.
He actually caught me with a sly elbow off the ball in the game, which was out of order, but because it was him I let it go! I would have liked his shirt, but I was too shy to ask for it at that stage of my career. There have been times when I came across him after this tussle. When he was at Everton, he was on the pitch after one derby when we were doing a warm-down and he came up and had a chat.
He just said I was a good player and that I should keep doing what I was doing. Then he added with a smile: This is probably one of the worst haircuts I have ever seen, but thankfully my shooting was better. I have a good record against Newcastle which overshadows the fact that one of the worst moments of my domestic career came against them.
I had just got into the team when we played Newcastle at Anfield in December the season before this photo comes from and I was taken off at half-time just 20 minutes after I had come on as a substitute in the first place. Being brought on and off in the same match is one of the biggest insults to any footballer. I felt terrible. I will always have good memories of Gary Speed and was deeply shocked by his death.
I never worried about playing against him when he was in his own half because he kept everything simple, but he had this special ability to run off your blind spot in and around your own penalty area. A few managers have told me off for that when I played against him. I was guilty of ball watching and then, bang, Gary would punish you with a goal. Now You See It.
There is a strong passion inside me to try and stop Manchester United being successful. I understand the pressure they are under every week to perform and to win trophies. When you have been as successful as they are, you cannot help but acknowledge what they have achieved.
For Ryan Giggs to have played for so long at the very top of his profession is both amazing and a tribute to his hunger and his talent. He is someone I admire immensely.
Up, Up and Away Heading is an element of my game I have had to work on. I was small when I was younger and my heading only really started to improve when I had my growth spurt. Whereas tackling and shooting came naturally to me, my aerial strength has definitely developed during my career.
When you consider that the most important goal I have scored for Liverpool against AC Milan in Istanbul was a header, I must have done something right down the years. Keeping Up With the Pace Arsenal has always been a difficult game and in the early days, especially, Patrick Vieira summed them up.
In the FA Cup Final in , he wiped the floor with me at times, but overall I felt I held my own in my battles with him. Everyone in a Liverpool shirt would have to, otherwise we would lose. They were like a machine. Big, strong and better than most of the teams in the Premier League in every department. Michael Owen. Jamie Carragher. Robbie Fowler. Jamie Redknapp. Gary McAllister. Danny Murphy. Sami Hyypia. I could go on and on. It was easy to see the quality that we had in every position, but Gerard Houllier underpinned that by the mentality he was creating.
Professionalism was our watchword. Training was always played at a really high tempo and was very intense. No one wanted to lose a game against their mates, let alone Manchester United or Arsenal on a Saturday afternoon.
It is something that is difficult to define, more of a feeling than anything else. Basically, you have so much confidence and trust in the players around you and the manager and coaching staff that you start going into certain games knowing what the result is going to be even before it has kicked off. For a spell under Rafa Benitez, I would be training on a Thursday or a Friday and I knew what the score was going to be on the Saturday.
It was like that under Gerard that season. Sure, we lost matches, but the feeling of togetherness that we had meant our campaign never unravelled. Gerard had a saying: For a time it seemed like it was our second home. From the first time we went there in February to face Birmingham City in the League Cup Final, we had more good times than bad.
It was tight that day and after Robbie Fowler scored early in the match, we slackened off too much. We had been massive favourites going into the match and maybe we thought the result was going to be a foregone conclusion.
I must admit there was a certain amount of relief when we lifted the Cup because losing to a side that was a league below us would have been embarrassing and the stick we would have received unrelenting. But, after the game, when we were all back in the hotel celebrating, it dawned on each and every one of us that this was what it is all about. And especially me. Some of the others had experienced this before, but this was my first final and my first major medal.
Of course, I had won medals and trophies growing up and coming through the ranks, and each one is important in its own right, but this felt different. This was like my first proper medal.
A place in history. There is a pressure and a weight of expectation that comes with playing for Liverpool.
You are constantly reminded about the history and tradition of the club, what other players have previously won, and I loved the feeling that I was adding to that. Thankfully, there was more, much more, to come.
We were back at Cardiff soon after. Now to be playing in one was a dream come true, although for 83 minutes it was an occasion to endure rather than enjoy. It was the one-off hardest game I had played in my life at that point. We were physically out of our depth. Arsenal were fitter, stronger and better. They were all in their prime and that remains the best Arsenal side ever for me. I was up against Patrick Vieira that afternoon and it was certainly a learning experience.
In the future, I seemed to grow every time I played against him and get better, but back when I was younger he just knew where to be, what to do and if he had wanted to, it felt like he could have gone up a few gears as well. That we won after being second best for so long was remarkable, although when you have players like Michael Owen on your side the impossible becomes possible.
Two chances, two goals. Game over. Freddie Ljungberg had wrapped one hand around the Cup for Arsenal with a goal in the 72nd minute, but Michael came good twice in five minutes after that to underline just how big a player he was.
I had worked with him full-time since leaving school and I knew how mentally strong he was, how fierce he was, how much he detested losing, how much of a battler he was. Two down, one to go. Liverpool went through the card that season, playing every single game — all 63 of them — as mapped out when the fixtures had been published the previous June. It was a slog, but what an experience. He was forever talking about European competitions and how hard it is to win a European trophy.
It took ages to get into the ground because our supporters had taken over. They were literally rocking the bus as we weaved our way through the crowds, wishing us good luck, and you could see in the faces of Michael Owen, Didi Hamann, Markus Babel and players like that just how much they were up for it. We set off like a steam train and after Markus had given us an early lead, I crashed home a second goal following a great pass from Michael of all people.
When I get the licence to burst forward, I can be a goal threat in any game. I played on the right in Dortmund, but with a fair amount of freedom to go where I wanted because we had Didi and Gary McAllister holding in midfield. However, there was a pattern emerging to our appearances in finals that still holds true today. At Liverpool, we seem to enjoy making life difficult for ourselves.
The scoring was crazy that night. Twice we threw away two-goal leads and then conceded an equaliser in the last minute to take the game into extra time. But even though it must have been torture for Gerard and our fans, I knew we were going to win. We exploded in celebration. An insane game to cap an insane season, but one I look back on with immense pride. Liverpool Football Club is about winning trophies and that season we put our names in the history books alongside the likes of Liddell, St John, Yeats, Dalglish, Rush and Souness.
The build-up to the game had been huge. He knew it would be a physical battle to begin with and what his selection tells you is that even managers who sign a lot of foreign players know that in certain games they will find it hard to cope without enough home-grown muscularity. Diving Right In Another diving celebration came after one of the best strikes I have ever hit. To score against Manchester United at Anfield is always special.
To score past a World Cup winning goalkeeper such as Fabian Barthez is pretty special too. But when you put those two things together and add in the fact that the shot from 30 yards was still rising as it hit the top corner of the net, it makes it one of my best goals for Liverpool.
To claim a win and three points meant it was a good day all round. First Goal in Europe Gerard Houllier gave me licence to get forward into the penalty area from midfield and I knew Didi Hamann would hold the fort behind me if I fancied getting into the box. It is only when you start making those sort of runs that you add goals to your game. I should have scored a few more headers in my career, but my first European goal came from one in a 2—2 draw with Olympiakos in Athens in November in the UEFA Cup.
Here, I am in action against Porto during a 0—0 stalemate in the first leg of the quarter-final. I found European games, especially those away from home, demanding but stimulating. In those situations, you have to step up to the mark and, over the years, we have done that at Liverpool in Europe. McAllister the Master I admired Gary McAllister from the moment he walked through the door at Anfield and he remains a source of inspiration to me today.
Gary is one of the reasons I believe I can carry on at Liverpool if I manage myself correctly and if the club looks after me. He was fresh when he played and that enhanced his tremendous ability to influence games, and not just any games: That is what I want to do. Taking Aim My first inclination when I get the ball is to pass it. If one of my team-mates is in a better position than me on the pitch, then I will look to find them rather than selfishly trying to dribble the ball.
Technique is important when you are trying to pass accurately, and you can see from how my left ankle is bent over what sort of strain footballers put their bodies under. When you do that repeatedly, it is no wonder you get little niggles and pain in your ankle joints. Sander is one of the best goalkeepers I have seen with the ball at his feet. He was exceptional in that respect. But I felt he sometimes looked for an excuse if he ever made a mistake in a game.
When we lost at Middlesbrough once on a freezing day in December, he said there was ice on the ball and that had prevented him from gathering the ball properly. Despite that, he did well for us in the Treble season in — He was a good keeper.
The Ignominy of an Early Bath The walk of shame is a long one and every yard feels like a mile. David Batty, the former England midfielder, stitched me up, I felt. Liverpool versus Leeds was always a big match and the atmosphere was bouncing. If it was a deliberate stitch-up, you can look at it two ways. Premature End My first final for Liverpool came against Birmingham City in the League Cup in February , and it set the tone for so many of those that have followed.
We made desperately hard work of getting over the line and lifting the trophy. I was on the bench by then, having been taken off after 78 minutes. Unplayable Robbie Robbie was captain that day and his volleyed goal from 30 yards was brilliant. In training no one else could have duplicated some of the goals he scored because of the power he got into his shots with virtually no back-lift.
His accuracy to hit the inside of the net from tight angles remains the best I have seen to this day. Turn finish, turn finish. Everything was a lot more toned down. Stephen Wright far right came through the ranks with me and Robbie, and Jamie Redknapp helped to look after us both during the build-up.
In the days before a major final, you mentally prepare yourself for the game and the fact that we were playing Arsenal meant we knew we would have to be on our mettle. But before the game you can still be pretty calm and relaxed. It is only when you are in the dressing room that the butterflies and the nerves start and you realise exactly what is at stake.
There is joy written across all of our features, but surprise as well at having turned round a game we were second best in. But that was Michael Owen for you. He could come alive in an instant and bang, bang he turned the game on its head. We owed him an awful lot that day. Afterwards, whoever had won, I would pretend to be one of their players in the street outside my house. A nice memento. Early Recognition I played 50 games and scored 10 goals in the —01 season and things could hardly have gone better for me.
Team honours are always more important to me and I realised that without the support of my team-mates there was no way I would have been recognised. There are pitfalls to being lauded and showered with accolades, but I knew I had to stay on the straight and narrow and make the most of the talent I had. I wanted to win more trophies with Liverpool first and foremost, and if that led to individual honours, all well and good. Not many players have done that. Final Flourish I am proud of my record of scoring in big matches.
My goal was something of a rarity because Michael played me in with a great ball. I have to say, it was about time he returned the favour! Over time my finishing has improved but when I got into positions such as this early in my career I just wanted to hit the ball as hard as I could.
If a centre forward had had the same chance, maybe he would have placed it. The game itself was another rollercoaster. Winning all three cup competitions we entered that season often gets overlooked, but it was a fantastic achievement. Gerard Houllier had other ideas. We still had one game left — away at Charlton Athletic — and one that would determine whether we would be defending our European trophy next season or rubbing shoulders with the big boys in the Champions League.
Gerard put us on lockdown. He told us to be patient and then we could party. There is no question about that. If we as players had had our way, I doubt we would have won 4—0 at Charlton just a few days after the Alaves game and finished third in the table.
When you consider how important Gerard was to Liverpool, then for him to suffer a life-threatening illness just three months into the new season was upsetting and worrying for everyone. We came in at half-time of a game against Leeds United at Anfield in October expecting him to be there as always and impart some more words of wisdom. I was worried about what would happen to Gerard and then I worried about what would happen to us as a team.
We had all been on an upward curve, winning trophies and making giant strides, and I did wonder if his illness would derail us and lead to us caving in. But his battle for health was the most important thing. He had been there for me every day since I broke into the first team set-up and I missed his reassuring presence, asking how I was, giving me little tips, telling me what I was doing both right and wrong.
It was typical of Gerard that he was sending text messages to the team as soon as possible and sooner than the doctors would have allowed had they known. Again, it was typical of Gerard that he thought of others before assuring you that he would be OK. He was more interested in the team than himself, which is amazing really when you consider how his life was in danger. That is impressive.
We had a lot of foreign players in the squad — Sami Hyypia, Markus Babbel, Vladimir Smicer — and I suppose I wondered whether Thomo would be able to maintain the atmosphere and harmony that had built up between us all. We had just won the Treble, but already that season we had added the Charity Shield, beating Manchester United, and the European Super Cup, beating Bayern Munich, to our expanding silverware collection.
It was a big challenge for Thomo to come in and take the reins alone, but he was brilliant and did an unbelievable job. There were set-backs, however. Barcelona came to Anfield in the second group phase of the Champions League and played us off the park, winning 3—1 despite Michael opening the scoring. It was mind blowing how they moved the ball and how different their style was to our own.
Xavi played, but it was Patrick Kluivert and Marc Overmars who did the damage. After matches like that you start doubting yourself and the team. Gerard had returned to the dug-out on an emotional night against AS Roma when we needed to win by two clear goals to remain in Europe. He would admit now that he came back too soon, but that he did so showed the strength of the bond he had with the club.
He wanted to be in the dug-out, helping, guiding his team. We came up short. After all the highs we had grown used to, the disappointment was numbing. For me, the pain manifested itself in other ways as well. All throughout my career, problems with my fitness have repeatedly cropped up.
The first serious set-back I endured came on the final day of the —02 season. I had been nursing a groin injury for some time, but given the importance of the games Liverpool were competing in I played through the pain barrier. There was also the World Cup coming up with England in Japan and South Korea and there were people saying to me to wait until after the tournament and then have surgery.
The pressure they were putting on me left me with a decision to make. Do I get the injury sorted and come back the player I want to be at the start of the next season for Liverpool? When I put it like that it seems straightforward. In the event, the decision was taken out of my hands. I broke down on the final weekend of the campaign in a home game with Ipswich and I knew as I trudged off that England was no longer an option.
It was a tough moment for me, but throughout the summer one thought kept me going: I was confident that we could challenge for the league. I had been abused by Evertonians throughout the game. They had thrown coffee at me, and half-eaten sausage rolls, and I actually got hit by a coin on the bridge of my nose.
It hurt, but the only thing you can do is try to make their team suffer. It was to say: I can hit the right area 10 times out of 10 if my cross is slow or floated, but I try to put in balls with pace and venom so that they are enticing for my team-mates.
My delivery from wide areas is an important part of my game. You can catch opponents out if you hit the ball early and with power into the right area. The change is down to Gerard Houllier. I hate the gym. I find it boring. Unfortunately, due to the injuries that I have had in recent seasons, I have done more gym work in the last 12 months than I ever did between the ages of 22 and I never used to go in partly because of the back problems I have had earlier in my career. But when I started out, Houllier said that if I wanted to play for him in the middle of midfield then I needed to bulk up a bit.
You can see the definition in my quad muscles which you get from doing squats holding weights. I am starting to get the build of a strong Premier League player. I was a similar height to him and when I broke into the first team, I saw how he had the build of a top, top player and I wanted the same. I strived for a physique like his. He suffered a lot from injuries at Liverpool, but he scored a great goal here against Charlton at The Valley and I have tons of respect for him as a player and a person.
He has always stayed in touch and I can count on Jamie to be honest with me. When we talk about football, it is not just a case of him giving me a pat on the back. We talk about what I, and the team, have done right and wrong. I got to lift the trophy and I found out about what playing in Europe was all about. But as soon as you taste the Champions League, you never want to go back. I found the quality of the opposition and the speed of the games went up a notch from what I was used to.
There was no hiding place.
Sink or swim. You can have a couple of seasons at Liverpool under your belt and think you are doing well, but there is no time to sit back and take it in. There were always new challenges to confront and conquer. This is during a game against Borussia Dortmund in our first season in the competition in —02, and I loved everything about the Champions League. Rising to the Physical Challenge When I was starting out, I probably would have ended up in a heap next to the advertising hoardings at the side of the pitch following this tussle.
The physical demands on players these days are immense. Every game is a battle. I needed to get stronger in order to win these sorts of situations and then showcase the talent that I have.
I have scored more goals against him — seven — than against any other goalkeeper in my career. This one against Bolton was different from the sort of powered finish I normally produce. My finishing has improved with experience. When you find yourself in certain positions in front of goal, you are a little bit more calm and relaxed as opposed to when you first get into the team. Practising helps, but I have to be careful how long I stay behind after training because of the injuries I have had.
It is about quality not quantity. I can totally understand why he made that switch. Real are one of the biggest clubs in the world, if not the biggest, and Michael was a success there even though he only spent one season at the Bernabeu. I have to be honest and say I was very surprised he chose to sign for Manchester United. Michael enjoyed legendary status at Liverpool, but that has been diluted now because of the move he made. Only Michael knows if he got that decision right.