Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Liverpool-AC Milan, the protagonists
by Paul Kennedy, May 23rd, 2007 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  england, italy, uefa champions league

MOST COMMENTED

Liverpool and AC Milan meet Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League final in Athens. The game is a repeat of the 2005 final Liverpool won on penalty kicks after the Reds trailed, 3-0, at the half. Here's a look at some of the key figures in this year's final.

Liverpool:

JOSE REINA.The 24-year-old Spanish goalie won the semifinal series against Chelsea with his saves in the shootout. Says Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, "We had the confidence in the penalty shootout because we have the best goalkeeper in the world." Reina will follow in the footsteps of his father, Miguel, who played in goal for Atletico Madrid in the 1974 European Cup final.

STEVEN GERRARD. The 26-year-old midfielder is the Liverpool captain and inspirational leader. A key tactical move will be Benitez's decision on where to place Gerrard on the field. Gerrard often plays on the right side, but he prefers to work in the middle as he did in the second leg of the semifinals against Chelsea when Jermaine Pennant took his place on the right side and Javier Mascherano teamed with him in the middle in place of Spaniard Xabi Alonso.

JAVIER MASCHERANO. It's been a rollercoaster season for the young Argentine. After sitting on the bench at West Ham, he earned a new lease on life when Liverpool picked him up on loan. Indeed, Mascherano's signing could be the top move of Europe's January transfer window. Since arriving at Anfield, Mascherano showed all the class at holding midfielder that made him a starter for Argentina at the age of 21 at the 2006 World Cup.

PETER CROUCH.At 6-foot-7, Crouch is the tallest player ever to play for Liverpool or England. He has been called the "gangling goon" but he is the Reds' top scorer in the Champions League with seven goals, including a goal on a spectacular overhead kick against Galatasaray early in the competition.

AC Milan:

PAOLO MALDINI. Knee problems kept the 38-year-old Maldini out of the second leg of the semifinals against Manchester United, but he is hopeful to play in the final. If he plays, he'll tie Real Madrid's Paco Gento for the European Cup record of eight appearances in the final. Maldini is shooting for his fifth title. Gento holds the record with six European Cup titles, followed by teammates Alfredo Di Stefano and Jose Maria Zarraga, who won five each.

GENNARO GATTUSO. The 28-year-old midfielder is the epitome of Italian grit. He was a key figure in the Azzurri's World Cup championship in 2006 and will lead Milan in its battle for midfield control against Liverpool. The fiery Gattuso led the war of words in the pregame buildup to the match, comparing Liverpool to Italian teams of a decade ago. "All they try to do is defend together, with everybody behind the ball and just one striker," he said. "With Liverpool all they can do is play long ball, every ball is a long ball. It is very different to Manchester, who are a footballing team."

CLARENCE SEEDORF. The 31-year-old Dutchman has been outstanding in Milan's run to the final. He scored in the quarterfinals against Bayern Munich and in the semifinals against Manchester United to give him 10 goals on the season in Serie A and the Champions League -- the most in his 15-year career. Seedorf has won the Champions League with Ajax (1995), Real Madrid (1998) and Milan (2003), making him the only player to win the competition with three different clubs.

KAKA.If Milan wins in Athens, the young Brazilian will become the early favorite, ahead of Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo, to take international player of the year honors for 2007. He leads all scorers with 10 goals in this season's Champions League. Still only 22, the highly religious Kaka was brilliant in the first half of the first leg against Manchester United and turned the series around with his third goal of the semifinals early in the second leg.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
MLS Countdown: Morris takes mature route    
One of the surprise omissions from the 23-man Copa America Centenario roster is Seattle rookie Jordan ...
What They're Saying: Jordan Morris    
"[Chris Wondolowski] just knows how to score goals and his way in and out of the ...
Copa Centenario Countdown: U.S. foes set up base    
Colombia and Paraguay, which will both play the USA in Group A at the Copa Centenario, ...
Copa Centenario: Warm-up schedule    
All 16 Copa Centenario teams will be in action this week in international friendlies. Besides the ...
What They're Saying: Detroit City FC co-owner David Dwaihy    
"I was just thinking about five years ago and we weren't sure if we were going ...
Video Pick: Longest game ever decided by one goal    
In a quest to set the record for the longest soccer game ever, 2,357 players took ...
USA-Ecuador: Three storylines to follow    
The USA plays Ecuador in its first Copa Centenario warm-up since MLS players entered camp. The ...
Klinsmann sets Copa Centenario goal: semifinals    
U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann says the Copa Centenario is on a par with the ...
NASL: Winless Miami FC signs Lahoud    
NASL expansion club Miami FC, the only winless team eight weeks into the spring season, has ...
What They're Saying: Jamie Vardy    
"There is no honeymoon. I'll have to take that next year some time. Obviously, I hope ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives