Champions League Final 2007 AC Milan v Liverpool

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AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool
Champions League Final 23rd May 2007, Olympic Stadium, Athens

Rafael Benitez Copyright Djdannyp and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence 2.5
Rafael Benitez

In May 2007, Liverpool and AC Milan met in Athens to contest the Champions League final. It was the second time in three years that the teams had both reached the final of Europe’s elite competition.

Their previous meeting in 2005 had been the unforgettable night in Istanbul when Liverpool won on penalties after coming back from three goals behind.

Liverpool started as underdogs

Liverpool had been very much the underdogs that night and it was much the same this time around with Milan the overwhelming favourites.

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The fact that Liverpool had managed to reach two Champions League finals in three years was rather surprising to most football fans in England. They had finished 21 points behind champions Manchester United that season and were not considered to be a real threat to the top teams in the country.

They lacked the attacking flair and inventiveness of United and Arsenal and while they were solid defensively and could grind out a result, they were not as consistent as Chelsea.

Milan had beaten Bayern Munich and Manchester United on their way to the final, Liverpool had seen off Barcelona and Chelsea.

However they did have a knack of picking up trophies. Manager Rafael Benitez was only in his third season with the reds and he had already added four trophies to an impressive CV that included the 2005 Champions League with Liverpool and the La Liga title in 2002 and 2004 with Valencia.

Milan bouncing back from Calciopoli scandal

Milan had had a very traumatic time since their previous meeting with Liverpool. In the 2005-6 season they were named in the Calciopoli scandal that rocked Italian football. Some of the country’s top teams including Milan, Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio were accused of influencing the selection of referees for their games.

Milan were lucky to escape relegation and were deducted 30 points for that season. They were also deducted 8 points for the 2006-7 season.

Despite the huge setback the team had stuck together and after an excellent second half to the season they had managed to finish fourth in the Serie A table to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

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Dida

They were no doubt buoyed by such an achievement against the odds and with the added incentive of inflicting revenge on Liverpool for the 2005 final and the small matter of actually winning the trophy itself they were extremely fired up for the match.

They were managed by Carlo Ancelotti who had won everything with Milan as a player and manager including the 2003 Champions league.

The two starting elevens

The AC Milan team consisted of Dida in goal, a back four of Massimo Oddo, Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini and Marek Jankulovski, a five man midfield of Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso, Massimo Ambrosini, Kaka and Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi as the lone striker.

Liverpool had Pepe Reina in goal, Steve Finnan, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger and John Arne Riise in defense, a midfield five of Xabi Alonso, Jermain Pennant, Steven Gerrard, Bolo Zenden and Javier Mascherano with Dirk Kuyt on his own up front. Liverpool start the game well – Read more

Champions League Final 2007
First half
Second half
More classic matches

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