Last May is was Jerzy Dudek, this year it was Jose Reina who was the hero as Liverpool clinched the FA Cup in a thrilling final at the Millennium Stadium.
Just like in Istanbul a year ago, the Reds came from behind in dramatic fashion to draw 3-3, go through the pain barrier in extra time and hold their nerves in the shoot-out.
Two defensive mistakes gave West Ham a two goal lead inside 25 minutes; a Carragher own goal after Alonso had gifted possesion in midfield, then a Reina spillage from an Etherington shot let Ashton in.
Djibril Cisse volleyed in a cross within minutes of Peter Crouch having a volley from a free kick disallowed, and the score was 2-1 at half time.
Steven Gerrard then lashed in another volley from close range to tie it up in the second half. But a Paul Konchesky cross was aimed to the back post and ended up sailing over Reina’s head and in to make it 3-2.
With the game looking to have been won by the Hammers, Gerrard hammered home from 30 yards with an Olympiakos-like strike straight into the bottom corner – in the 90th minute.
Extra time ensued and tired legs lead to a game which at times was 7 v 7, only Momo Sissoko and substitutes Hamann, Morientes and Kromkamp seemed to be getting the ball. Gerrard, Finnan, Cisse all suffered with heavy cramp.
Liverpool looked happy to survive and go into penalties. Where Reina, a spot kick expert from his days in Spain, proved the hero.
Reina saved from Zamora, Konchesky and crucially Ferdinand. Sheringham scored for the Hammers. Liverpool’s three spot kicks were scored by Hamann, Gerrard and Riise, with Hyypia having his saved by Hislop.
What a final – again!