Where are they now? Liverpool’s last Champions League finalists of 2007
On Saturday, Liverpool will play their first Champions League final in over a decade when they take on a Real Madrid side looking to secure a third consecutive win in the competition.
Back in 2007, Athens’ Olympic Stadium hosted a repeat of the glorious 2005 final between the Reds and Milan, but the Italians took their revenge and won the game 2-1.
Here’s what happened to the Liverpool side that last came closest to winning club football’s biggest prize...
Coach: Rafa Benitez
The man credited with inspiring the comeback in Istanbul was powerless to do it again against an all-star Milan team featuring Paolo Maldini, Kaka, Clarence Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo and Pippo Inzaghi. This time, however, his team was only 1-0 down at the break via a deflected Inzaghi goal on the stroke of half-time.
But Rafa wasn’t able to repeat his tactical magic this time, and his substitution of Javier Mascherano for Peter Crouch to help find an equaliser worked against him: Milan doubled their lead in the 82nd minute.
Benitez left Liverpool in 2010 by “mutual consent” and succeeded Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan. Success with the Nerazzurri wasn’t forthcoming, though, and by November 2012 he was an unpopular appointment at Chelsea – where he went on to win the Europa League. After further loveless spells at Napoli and Real Madrid, Benitez finally found a more welcoming home on Tyneside with Newcastle in 2016.
Goalkeeper: Pepe Reina
Reina is hailed by many Reds as the best goalkeeper Liverpool have ever had in the Premier League era, but the Spaniard could do little to stop the first goal in Athens; a Pirlo free-kick which deflected in off Inzaghi’s arm. He was then cruelly rounded by the Italian striker for the late second goal.
During his time at Anfield, Reina won three consecutive Premier League Golden Glove awards between 2006 and 2008, Liverpool’s player-of-the-year award in 2009/10, plus an FA and League Cup apiece. He was also part of the Spain squads that won two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup, but played only one match across the three tournaments.
After unceremoniously leaving Liverpool for good in 2014, Reina acted as stand-in to Manuel Neuer at Bayern Munich for a season, before returning to former loan club Napoli. After three seasons of regular football, he has recently agreed to join Milan on a free transfer.
Right-back: Steve Finnan
Often unfairly remembered by non-Liverpool fans as a weak point in this Reds side, Finnan was actually a consistently solid defender. After being subbed off with an injury in the 2005 final, the Irishman was also replaced in 2007 – this time in the 88th minute, by Alvaro Arbeloa.
Finnan went to on play for Liverpool until 2008, before an ill-fated year in Spain with Espanyol, and finally finished his career in 2010 with Portsmouth.
The ex-Ireland defender is now running a property development company: the aptly-named Finnan Developments, in London.
Centre-back: Daniel Agger
The man who eventually went on to replace Liverpool legend Sami Hyypia, Agger was appreciated at Anfield for his no-nonsense defending and habit of scoring a screamer or two.
It was his flick-on from a corner that found Dirk Kuyt, who scored what turned out to be Liverpool’s consolation goal on the night. The Danish centre-half went on to play for Liverpool until 2014, before returning to his first club Brondby.
Trained tattoo artist Agger retired in 2016 at the relatively young age of 31, and has undertaken various ventures in his retirement – including investment in his younger brother’s sewage company (KloAgger), a charity (The Agger Foundation) and tattoo culture community (Tattoodo).