Gigantic Dutchman Westerveld became Britain’s most expensive goalkeeper when he joined the Reds from Vitesse Arnhem in 1999, but £4m seemed like a snip after a debut season where his side conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League.
Westerveld played a key role in Liverpool’s treble-winning campaign, turning out more than 60 times in all competitions and emerging as a hero in their penalty shootout victory over Birmingham in the League Cup final by denying Andy Johnson with a match-winning save.
But like David James before him, Westerveld eventually fell out of favour at Anfield; a calamitous error against Bolton proved the final nail in the coffin, and he was sold to Real Sociedad in 2001.
Westerveld returned to England in Portsmouth colours four years later, though, while highlights from the towering stopper’s later career include a brief loan stint with Liverpool’s local rivals Everton, a short spell in the Spanish second tier with Almeria and three years at Ajax Cape Town in South Africa, who recruited him as a goalkeeping coach when his contract expired.
These days, he plies his trade in his native Netherlands as an agent for football management company World Soccer Consult.
Liverpool fans will remember Babbel for his surging runs down the right flank, particularly the one which brought a goal in their 2001 UEFA Cup Final triumph over Alaves.
The Germany international was an integral part of the treble-winning Reds side, but his time on Merseyside was later disrupted by a diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare condition which affects the nervous system.
Babbel made a remarkable return to football after a year-long treatment programme, joining Blackburn on loan before ending his playing career in Germany with Stuttgart. He went on to coach the former Bundesliga outfit and remains in management today, handling first-team affairs at Swiss club FC Luzern.
A born-and-bred Scouser who needs little introduction, Carragher was an essential part of the watertight defence upon which 2000/01 Liverpool were built.
Forging a formidable partnership with Babbel, Sami Hyypia and Stephane Henchoz, the former England international switched to left-back during the Reds’ trophy-laden season and was a mainstay throughout. His omnipresence during their UEFA Cup campaign would help him go on to set a new club record for European appearances.
Following his retirement in 2013, Carra has found success in the media as a pundit, forging a japery-driven partnership with Gary Neville which has probably left the ex-Red Devil’s ego in tatters.
Boyhood Liverpool fan Hyypia was given the opportunity to play for the team he loved thanks to the recommendation of a TV cameraman. And if the legendary Finn is anything to go by, Liverpool should leave their scouting to media personnel more often.
Initially tagged as a bizarre signing from Willem in 1999, Hyypia soon proved to be worth far more than his bargain-bin price tag of £2.6m, stepping up as a leader within the Reds ranks. With Liverpool skipper Jamie Redknapp spending more time in the treatment room than the club physio during the 2000/01 campaign, Hyypia shared the captain’s armband with Robbie Fowler.
The cup glory he achieved with Liverpool defined his career, which has been on something of a downward spiral since he stepped into management in 2011: spells with Bayer Leverkusen, Brighton and FC Zurich have yielded a hat-trick of P45s during his coaching career.
The Swiss centre-back's Liverpool career reached its zenith when manager Gerard Houllier paired him with Hyypia at the heart of the backline in 2000/01.
Although Henchoz was ever reliable in a red shirt, it was his handball which led to Birmingham's last-minute equaliser in the League Cup final – not that it mattered too much when his side lifted the trophy via penalties.
Henchoz wound up his playing career in 2008 after a stint with Blackburn and has since studied for his UEFA Pro licence. He's known to pen the occasional football-related piece for Swiss newspaper Le Temps, but is yet to land a high-profile coaching position.
He’s since attained legend status at Anfield, but back in 2000/01 Gerrard was a fresh-faced emerging talent with his Liverpool debut only two years behind him.
The future captain came of age that season, linking up well with fellow youngster Danny Murphy as the pair drew on the experience of midfield veteran Gary McAllister. Chipping in with 10 goals, Gerrard’s feats earned him a PFA Young Player of the Year gong at the end of term.
Gerrard remained a one-club man until LA Galaxy whisked him away to Major League Soccer in January 2015, before he hung up his boots the following November. After leaving the US, he was linked with the managerial vacancy at MK Dons but instead returned to Anfield as a youth coach.
Competition in the Liverpool midfield was fierce during the 2000/01 season, with Gerrard securing a slot in the first team and the experience of McAllister and Dietmar Hamann making them vital inclusions in Houllier’s starting XI.
It was a selection headache the Frenchman relished, not least because he had versatile youngster Murphy at his disposal, who could join the fold when tinkering was necessary.
Signed from Crewe in 1997, Murphy made 47 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions in 2000/01 – many as a substitute – and went on to command regular first-team football the following season.
Departing his native Merseyside in 2004, Murphy completed stints with Charlton, Tottenham, Fulham and Blackburn before retiring in 2013 to pursue a career in the media, a goal he’s fulfilling with regular appearances on Match of the Day and Talksport.
Eyebrows were raised when Houllier recruited a 35-year-old on a free transfer, but Scottish warhorse McAllister soon had the naysayers chomping on their words.
The Reds boss described McAllister as his "most inspirational signing" and, looking back over his accomplishments during his short but sweet stay at Liverpool, it’s easy to see why. From his dead-ball wizardry to his leadership qualities, Gary Mac shook Anfield to its foundations during his two-year spell.
His man-of-the-match performance during the 2011 UEFA Cup Final will live long in the memories of Reds fans: the Scot scored one and had a hand in three of Liverpool’s goals during their 5-4 victory over Alaves.
He left Liverpool as a hero in 2002 to take on a player-manager role at former club Coventry City, and eventually found his way back to Anfield as first-team coach under Brendan Rodgers. He continues to serve as an ambassador for the club and recently joined the Scottish national team setup on an informal basis.
Hamann anchored the Liverpool midfield throughout the club’s most successful era since the glory days of the 1970s and ‘80s. Although the German was most comfortable in a holding role, he boasted a fearsome shot and wasn’t afraid to unleash the occasional screamer.
Signed from Newcastle in 1999, Hamann started in all three cup finals for Houllier’s history-makers and completed the full 90 minutes in all bar the FA Cup final. The usually-reliable lynchpin missed a penalty in the League Cup shootout against Birmingham, but Reds fans don’t hold that against him since they went on to lift the trophy.
Hamman signed for Manchester City in 2006 despite having entered a pre-contract agreement with Bolton, enjoying three years in sky blue before ending his career at MK Dons. A series of coaching roles followed, the last of which was an ill-fated managerial stint with non-league Stockport County in 2011. The German has also dabbled in punditry with RTE Sport and the BBC.
After a prodigious ascendency through the club’s youth ranks in the mid-1990s, Owen’s rise was showing no signs of slowing down by 2000/01. The prolific striker chipped in with 24 goals during the campaign, including a brace in the 2-1 win over Arsenal in the FA Cup final.
Pacey, opportunistic and technically gifted, Owen’s exploits that season saw him become the first English winner of the Ballon d'Or since Kevin Keegan bagged the coveted accolade in 1979. From 1998, the England international ended every season as the Reds’ top goalscorer until he left Merseyside for Spanish giants Real Madrid in August 2004.
Owen has since rejoined Liverpool in an ambassadorial capacity, a role he juggles with punditry for BT Sport and his passion for horse racing.
Heskey was considered a risky investment when Houllier brought him to Liverpool for a club record fee of £11m, but it was a gamble which started paying dividends in 2000/01.
The former Leicester man added another dimension to the Liverpool attack, complementing the pace and agility of Owen and Fowler by adding raw strength to the equation. Heskey ended the campaign with an impressive haul of 22 goals as the Reds pulled off their treble-winning feat.
Heskey parted company with Liverpool in 2004 and has become something of a journeyman since, with spells at Birmingham, Wigan, Aston Villa and Newcastle Jets in Australia all listed on his CV. He was still getting a game as of last season when he was on the books at Bolton, scoring three times for the Trotters before they released him when his contract expired.
Robbie Fowler (sub)
A Liverpool great of the modern age, Fowler began what would become his most successful season at the club wearing the captain’s armband but later struggled to hold down first-team football, with Houllier favouring a front pairing of Owen and Heskey.
He was still vital to the Reds’ success that term, though, contributing 17 goals in total – including a hat-trick during the 8-0 demolition of Stoke in the League Cup, a strike against Birmingham in the final of the competition and his side’s fourth in the UEFA Cup final.
In recent years, Fowler has tried his hand at coaching and mentoring, working briefly with MK Dons and Bury and serving as interim player-manager of Thai side Muangthong United. In 2013, he worked with the Liverpool academy but is still seeking his big managerial break. Reports suggest he applied for the vacant Leeds job in 2014, but how long he would have lasted at Elland Road in the Massimo Cellino era is anybody’s guess.
Vladimir Smicer (sub)
Czech international Smicer had the unenviable task of filling a Steve McManaman-shaped void in the Liverpool midfield when he joined the Reds from Lens in 1999. He made a slow start to life in England during a debut season addled by injury, but fared considerably better in 2000/01.
His stock rose considerably in the eyes of the Anfield faithful as he established himself as a key squad player for Liverpool, giving Houllier extra midfield depth to tap into as his team fought for silverware on multiple fronts. The Czech was named in the starting XI for the FA Cup and League Cup finals and made a substitute appearance against Alaves in the UEFA Cup decider.
Stints with Bordeaux in France and Slavia Prague in his homeland came next, before Smicer called time on his playing career in 2010. An unlikely brush with politics followed several years later as he stood for election with his Vision 2014 party, which aimed to promote issues such as health, fitness and child obesity.
Nick Barmby (sub)
One of the few players to cross Merseyside’s red-blue divide, former Everton man Barmby brought vital experience and squad depth to Liverpool in 2000/01.
Although Barmby was rarely the first name on Houllier’s teamsheet for Premier League matches, the Frenchman frequently started him in cup competitions and he was among Liverpool’s scorers during the penalty shootout triumph over Birmingham in the League Cup final.
Barmby moved into management with Hull after finishing his playing days there in 2012, only to be sacked a short time later following a spat with the club’s owners. He now coaches local junior team Barton Town Old Boys Under 19s. And Portsmouth fans think they’ve plummeted down the footballing pyramid...
Gerard Houllier (manager)
Former France boss Houllier assumed sole control of the Reds in November 1998 when his co-manager Roy Evans left Anfield, and duly set about overhauling the team. The 2000/01 season was by far the most successful of his Liverpool career, although the club did secure a second-place finish the following term with caretaker boss Phil Thompson in temporary charge while the Frenchman recovered from heart surgery.
A stint at Lyon followed, before Houllier returned to England to take charge of Aston Villa until the summer of 2011. He was appointed as Head of Global Football for Red Bull the following year, overseeing Austrian side FC Red Bull Salzburg, Germany's RB Leipzig and MLS outfit New York Red Bulls, as well as the soft drinks giant’s footballing interests in Brazil and Ghana.
In May of last year, Houllier was linked with a return to Lyon in the role of general manager, but the appointment never came to pass.
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