File this under predictable content.
Inevitably, the current Liverpool crop will be compared to the 2005 Champions League winning side.
So let’s get it out the way early.
Man for man, which XI is better — the 2018 finalists or the boys of Istanbul?
Jerzy Dudek v Loris Karius
Karius has improved steadily as the season has progressed but he’s still some way off the finished product.
Dudek was prone to the odd brain-fart himself between the sticks but he was a decent shot-stopper.
Plus, he saved Andriy Shevchenko’s penalty to complete the Istanbul job, which is about as good as it gets for keepers.
WINNER: Dudek (1-0 to the ’05 boys)
Steve Finnan v Trent Alexander-Arnold
Alexander-Arnold is barely out of nappies so it’s a little unfair to compare him to a player who has completed his career.
But we’ve made our bed so we’ll lie in it.
Finnan was an underrated right-back if you ask us; although it’s worth noting he was substituted off at half-time in Istanbul…
WINNER: Finnan (2-0 to the ’05 boys)
Jamie Carragher v Dejan Lovren
We don’t actually have to justify our decision for this one, do we?
WINNER: Carragher (3-0 to the ’05 boys… they’re running away with this!)
Sami Hyypia v Virgil van Dijk
Two man mountains who have won more headers between them than you’ve had hot dinners… especially if you’re partial to gazpacho.
Nostalgia draws us to Hyypia but it’s impossible to ignore Van Dijk’s impact to this Liverpool team — would they have made it to the final without him?
Call us cowards, we’re bottling it.
WINNER: Draw (Still 3-0 to the ’05 boys… a scoreline they are familiar with)
Djimi Traore v Andy Robertson
Mad to think that Traore, with all his errors in judgement and terrible co-ordination, played every minute of the ’05 final up against Shevchenko, Crespo, Kaka and the gang.
Every one who works at Dream Team is a fully paid-up member of the Andy Robertson fan club. So…
WINNER: Robertson (3-1 to the ’05 boys)
Xabi Alonso v Emre Can
Given Rafa Benitez and Jurgen Klopp differ in the extreme when it comes to tactical approach, it become a little more difficult to compare personnel in midfield and up top.
Nobody in the current team sits and sprays like Alonso, but considering the Spaniard is one of the best midfielders of his generation he has to get the nod over the box-to-box stylings of Can.
WINNER: Alonso (4-1 to the ’05 boys)
Steven Gerrard v Jordan Henderson
Captain v captain.
Henderson gets a lot of grief in Dream Team’s column inches but truth be told he’s played bloody well in Europe this season.
However, Gerrard is the protagonist of the fairytale of Istanbul.
The talismanic skipper went Super Saiyan after half-time and will forever be remembered for his ability to grab key games by the scruff of the neck.
WINNER: Gerrard (5-1 to the ’05 boys… surely they can’t throw it away from here)
John Arne Riise v James Milner
Normally found at left-back Riise and his traction engine of a left foot played on the left-side of midfield against Milan.
Milner’s renaissance has been a key feature of Klopp’s Liverpool’s run to the final — the charismatic Yorkshireman has racked up the assists.
Again, bit of an awkward match up but we’re not shying away from this one…
WINNER: Milner (5-2 to the ’05 boys)
Luis Garcia v Mohamed Salah
Anyone else find it hard to remember exactly how good Garcia was?
We’re almost certain he wasn’t in contention for the Ballon d’Or at any point so that’s that sorted.
WINNER: Salah (5-3 to the ’05 boys… the ’18 lads are back in this)
Harry Kewell/Vladimir Smicer v Sadio Mane
Kewell limped off to a chorus of boos from his own fans after 23 minutes against Milan.
Smicer replaced the Australian and scored Liverpool’s second during their six-minute blitz.
That’s all well and good but Liverpool’s current front three is one of the best in the world.
WINNER: Mane (5-4 to the ’05 boys)
Milan Baros v Roberto Firmino
We will never forgive Baros for shamelessly wearing No5 while playing as a striker.
Plus, Fimrino is bloody brilliant in every way.
WINNER: Firmino (5-5! Fittingly, it’s an Istanbul-esque comeback from the ’18 lads)
How about then?
Admittedly, the draw was facilitated by us bottling the Hyypia v Van Dijk match-up.
We’re comfortable in our cowardice.