Liverpool will play against Real Madrid in the upcoming Champions League final.
And we’re pretty sure everyone who isn’t an Everton fan is pleased as punch to see Jurgen Klopp’s free-scoring Reds reach the promise land of club football.
We know we are.
Liverpool have been fantastic in the competition this term, blowing away the opposition with some of the finest attacking football we’ve ever seen and duly breaking the Champions League record for goals scored in a season with a 46.
The final in Kiev on May 26 will be the Reds first appearance in the Champions League final for 11 years, dating back to the 2007 final when they took on AC Milan and lost 2-1.
With that final being a repeat of the 2005 contest in Istanbul – which Liverpool famously won on penalties after coming back from 3-0 down – we have to be honest and say we genuinely can’t remember much about this one.
All we can recall is Liverpool lost, Filippo Inzaghi scoring for Milan and Jermaine Pennant started on the right wing for the Reds.
That’s right, Pennant started the Champions League final for Liverpool in 2007, becoming the only Englishman to feature in a Champions League final, but never play for his country.
But that’s only where the absurdity begins.
You can probably only remember bad things about Pennant, right?
The winger was once tipped to be the next big hero of English football, as a speedy and tricky right-winger in the similar mould of David Beckham.
In fact, Pennant’s early promise saw Arsenal cough-up £2million for him from Notts County in 1999 when he was just 15.
But his time with the Gunners was frustrating and he made just five starts for them in seven years.
The only highlight is perhaps a brilliant hat-trick on his full league debut against Southampton and he eventually moved to Birmingham in 2005 after having enough of life on the bench.
His troubles didn’t stop there though, with an infamous 30-day spell in prison for drink driving during his time at St Andrew’s.
But on the pitch his talent was clear and he impressed enough to convince Liverpool to sign him up a year later.
Man of the Match
At Anfield, he made 81 appearances across three seasons but was largely hot and cold, and he never quite managed to break into Steve McClaren’s England squad.
Still, his first season was a great personal success and he was widely considered one of Benitez’s most important players that year.
And he was especially instrumental during their Champions League campaign.
Despite the Reds losing the final in Athens 2-1, Pennant was named Man of the Match as he terrorised Milan’s full-back Marek Jankulovski on the right-flank, creating the majority of Liverpool’s chances in the match and eventually assisting Dirk Kuyt for his late consolation goal.
Not bad for a guy who couldn’t get an England cap, eh?
Bizarre mid-game incident
He was certainly awesome in that final, but that’s not the only thing that Pennant remembers from that game.
Speaking to the Times in 2016, the 35-year-old revealed there was a particularly bizarre moment that happened mid-game.
He said: “I had left three or four tickets [for the game] for my uncle, but when he arrived, the tickets weren’t there.
“For some reason, it was announced over the stadium tannoy while the match was going on.
“I heard it and I was completely baffled. They must have expected me to walk off the pitch and try to sort it out!”
He added: “That is an amazing part of the story. Coming out of prison, signing for Liverpool and playing in the Champions League final a year later.”
Just imagine that, eh?
- Liverpool’s Istanbul heroes vs Jurgen Klopp’s 2018 Champions League finalists
- Here’s why Liverpool’s Champions League run has been the most entertaining narrative of the season
- Remembering the Premier League’s original Egyptian King Amr Zaki
Dream Team World Cup has landed!
The greatest show on Earth just got that bit more exciting.
That’s because the Dream Team World Cup game is coming ahead of this summer’s tournament.
Dream Team World Cup
- Completely free to enter
- £50m budget and 20 transfers throughout the tournament
- £175k total prizepot (for UK players only)
- PRE-REGISTER FOR DREAM TEAM WORLD CUP NOW
The game officially launches on June 1 – but you can pre-register for the game now.
If you’re an existing Dream Team customer the World Cup game now appears in the app or you can enter here, but if you’re not follow these simple steps:
- Download the Dream Team app
- Create an account
- Click on the World Cup banner below in the app and follow the pre-registration instructions
From Russia with a whole lot of love.