It’s exactly a decade since Liverpool lost in the 2005 World Club Cup Final, and we take a look at where Rafa Benitez’s starting eleven from that game are today.
The Reds’ extraordinary Champions League triumph earlier that year, which culminated in that unforgettable win against AC Milan in Istanbul, meant Benitez’s side qualified for the Japan-based tournament.
Pitting the winners of every equivalent of the Champions League from around the world, Liverpool were arguably favourites to win the trophy when they landed in Asia in December 2005.
Having made it to the final, a hugely frustrating game against Brazilian outfit Sao Paolo followed.
The Reds lost 1-0 despite dominating from start to finish, and although many belittled the tournament, the disappointment on Steven Gerrard’s face at the end was proof of what it meant to him and his teammates.
In the 10 years since that defeat, Liverpool’s starting eleven from that day have gone on to enjoy very different career paths.
Here is what’s happened to them:
Goalkeeper – Pepe Reina
Pepe Reina is undoubtedly Liverpool’s best goalkeeper of the Premier League era, with the Spaniard one of the best in the world in his position during the late 2000s.
Although Reina’s form dipped towards to end of his time at Anfield, he is still a very popular figure to this day. Now 33, he is currently plying his trade at Napoli, following an initial loan spell there and a short stint at Bayern Munich.
Right-Back – Steve Finnan
One of the most consistent right-backs that the Reds have had at their disposal, Steve Finnan was a great servant between his arrival on Merseyside in 2003 and exit in 2008.
The former Republic of Ireland international finished his career at Portsmouth, and now runs a property company, Finnan Developments, in London with his brother. It’s certainly a different career path to many former pros.
Centre-Back – Jamie Carragher
Jamie Carragher was already a Liverpool legend when the World Club Cup was taking place, but in the seven and a half years that followed, he rose higher and higher in the echelons of all-time great Reds players.
The formidable centre-back hung up his boots in 2013, and is now Sky Sports’ leading pundit. Watching him on Monday Night Football has become a footballing institution, even without the departed Gary Neville.
Centre-Back – Sami Hyypia
One of the finest defenders ever to represent Liverpool, Sami Hyypia was an incredibly popular player whose Anfield career lasted a decade.
Following his emotional final game for the club in 2009, the giant Finn moved to Bayer Leverkusen, where he finished his career. He went on to manage the German side, as well as Brighton, and is currently in charge of FC Zurich.
Left-Back – Stephen Warnock
Stephen Warnock’s Liverpool career never really took off, with the form of John Arne Riise making it difficult for the Englishman to nail down a place in the team.
He enjoyed spells at Blackburn and Aston Villa between 2007 and 2013 – he exited Anfield in 2007 – and is now at Championship side Derby. At 34 years of age, Warnock is nearing the end of his career.
Defensive Midfield – Momo Sissoko
Momo Sissoko was something of a cult hero with the Liverpool supporters, with one fantastic individual performance at Camp Nou against Barcelona standing out during his three-year stay on Merseyside.
The Malian left in 2008 to join Juventus, and following fairly short spells at Paris Saint-Germain and Levante, he now represents Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua. He is still only 30.
Defensive Midfield – Xabi Alonso
Arguably Liverpool’s most graceful footballer of the last 20 years or so, Xabi Alonso matured into a world-class midfielder during his time as a Reds player.
The legendary Spaniard moved to Real Madrid in 2009, much to the dismay of many supporters, and he has gone on to be one of the finest playmakers of his generation. Now 34, and at Bayern Munich, Alonso remains a class act.
Attacking Midfield – Steven Gerrard
In the decade that followed Liverpool’s loss to Sao Paolo, Gerrard established himself as arguably the Reds’ greatest ever player, and one of the best footballers of his generation.
That elusive Premier League title evaded the 35-year-old in the end, sadly, and he made the surprise decision to leave Anfield earlier this year. He now plays for MLS side LA Galaxy, where his career is very much winding down.
Right Forward – Luis Garcia
Luis Garcia could bring joy and frustration to Liverpool fans in equal measure during his three years in a Reds shirt, but he proved to be a popular, influential figure during the mid 2000s.
The former Spain international retired in 2014, seven years after he left Liverpool, and now works in the media and as an after dinner speaker. He also pops up in various ‘Legends’ matches from time to time.
Left Forward – Harry Kewell
There was much excitement when Harry Kewell joined Liverpool in 2003, but his career for the Reds never took off. Injuries curtailed his progress, and he famously limped off in the first-half of the 2005 Champions League Final.
Kewell left Liverpool for Galatasaray in 2008, and ended his career with Melbourne Heart in his homeland of Australia. He is now head coach of Watford‘s U21 side.
Striker – Fernando Morientes
Fernando Morientes was another who proved to be a big disappointment in a Liverpool shirt, having scored almost 100 goals for Real Madrid prior to his arrival in 2005.
Morientes lasted barely 18 months on Merseyside, returning to Spain to play for Valencia, and his career officially ended this year, after a short spell with Santa Ana. He now manages third-tier Spanish team Fuenlabrada.