Reliving The 2006 FA Cup Final
Throughout the history of Liverpool Football Club, the Reds have amassed an impressive cabinet of silverware. Outside of the stadium Liverpool supporters can view what is known as the‘The Champions Wall’ in which each of the trophies that Liverpool has successfully lifted throughout the years is on beautiful display above stunning artwork. Going back to the days of Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley- to the modern era of Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp.
This wall features all the league cups, European cups and FA Cups Liverpool has successfully raised during their history. One of the most noteworthy moments was Liverpool Football Club’s FA Cup campaign of 2006. With this in mind, we will be reliving the 2006 FA Cup final and what made it such a monumental victory. Although, getting to this final is debatably just as iconic.
The FA Cup Quarter-Final Masterclass:
Upon advancing to the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup by beating Manchester United in the Fifth-round. This was a monumental occasion for Liverpool, ending the Reds' 85-year draught over beating the Red Devils in a FA Cup competition.
Following this record-breaking result, Liverpool drew Steve Bruce’s Birmingham side in the Quarter-Finals. What transpired on the pitch is one of the most dominant displays from an FA Cup game.
The game opened with Sami Hyypia scoring merely 55 seconds from kick-off- capitalising on a free-kick by Steven Gerrard. This relentless pace didn’t stop as within the 4th minute, Peter Crouch bagged a header of his own. Soon after, at the brink of half-time, Crouch was able to acquire a brace- bagging his second of the day.
Going into half-time, most imagined the Reds to ride their comfortable 3-0 lead for the remaining 45 minutes. However, Rafa Benitez and his players had other ideas as Fernando Morientes scored just before the hour mark with John Arne Riise grabbing a goal of his own merely ten minutes later.
Dominance didn’t end there as Birmingham defender Olivier Tebily, unfortunately, conceded an own goal in the 76-minute. This put all doubt to rest that Steve Bruce and his Birmingham side will be eliminated from the 2006 FA Cup campaign. Despite this now comfortable lead, fan favourite Djibril Cisse closed off such a prevalent performance by scoring in the 88th minute to close out the game.
Although, with such a dominant performance, fans knew that the Semi-Finals will not be as comfortable given that they drew Chelsea who was chasing a domestic double with Premier League and FA Cup aspirations.
A Classic Bout At Old Trafford:
The Semi-Final clash between Chelsea and Liverpool was held at Manchester United’s Stadium of Old Trafford- another rival of the Reds. Despite the new rivalry between Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool side, it was a rivalry just as hot as some of the more longstanding rivalries. Most notably given that the year prior, Chelsea suffered a massive exit in the Champions League due to the now iconic‘ghost goal’ by Luis Garica.
Going into the game, Chelsea were clear favourites as they had an in-form Didier Drogba, although, it was Liverpool who delivered the first blow thanks to a stunning free-kick by John Arne Riise. This free-kick was the only goal to come within the first half, meaning that the Chelsea side was far from defeated.
Seven minutes following the kickoff for the second half, however, Luis Garcia who was a frequent pain for Chelsea capitalised with a beautiful volley to extend the lead to 2-0. Despite this now doubling the lead, the heads of Chelsea players didn’t drop, merely this riled up the fans and players alike even more.
Chelsea was able to bring the deficit back to one thanks to the always pivotal Didier Drogba with a sensational header. This led to Mourinho’s side being relentless on the ball, having chance after chance towards goal, yet they were unable to capitalise on these chances- either through solid defending by Carragher and Hypia or unbelievable saves by Pepe Reina. This win meant that the Liverpool Football Club FA Cup final will be against West Ham United- following their 1-0 win against Middlesbrough thanks to a late goal by Marlon(Anderson) Harewood.
The 2006 FA Cup Final:
The 2006 FA Cup Final took place on the 13th of May at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff, with 71,140 attendees spectating. The lineups for both sides were as follows:
Alan Pardew’s West Ham side:
GK: Shaka Hislop
RB: Lionel Scaloni
CB: Anton Ferdinand
CB: Danny Gabbidon
LB: Paul Konchesky
RM: Yossi Benayoun
CM: Nigel Reo-Coker(C)
CM: Carl Fletcher
LM: Matthew Etherington
CF: Marlon Harewood
CF: Dean Ashton
Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool side:
GK: Pepe Reina
RB: Steve Finnan
CB: Jamie Carragher
CB: Sami Hyypia
LB: John Arne Riise
RM: Steven Gerrard(C)
CM: Xabi Alonso
CM: Mohamed Sissoko
LM: Harry Kewell
CF: Peter Crouch
CF: Djibril Cisse
The game opened perfectly for West Ham, as disheartened Liverpool fans witnessed an own goal by Liverpool’s own Jamie Carragher in the 21st minute, followed by another blow seven minutes later thanks to a clinical goal by Dean Ashton.
Luckily, ten minutes later after going 2-0 down, Djibril Cisse was able to bring the score down to only one- which remained the scoreline come halftime. What transpired come the second half is now what is lovingly referred to as the ‘The Gerrard Final’ as the Liverpool legend was able to bring the score back to two a piece inside the 55th minute. Although Pardew’s hammers didn’t rest on their laurels as fan favourite left back for West Ham, Paul Konchesky brought West Ham ahead come the 64th minute.
In the dying moments of the game, the game was all but won for West Ham, until a cleared ball from the hammers box found the always reliable feet of Steven Gerrard who smashed in a wonder strike from 35 yards out- tying the game back to three all.
Neither side was able to score some extra time- meaning the 125th edition of the FA Cup in 2006 was to be decided via an always nerve-wracking penalty shootout. Hamann was able to find his penalty whereas Zamora was unfortunate not to score his. In the second set of penalties, the opposite occurred in which Hyypia missed his for Liverpool whilst Teddy Sheringham was able to put his away.
Although, the remaining two penalties were as clinical as ever for the mighty Reds as both Gerrard and Riise scored theirs whilst Konchesky and Ferdinand missed theirs- resulting in Liverpool being crowned the FA Cup winners once more.
This particular final holds a special place in Liverpool fans' hearts who are of a particular age and it is easy to see why. If you wish to see Liverpool play live in person and are seeking some guidance- take a look at the various sections of Anfield Stadium to find the perfect spot for you and your loved ones.