Author Topic: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub  (Read 1685 times)

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Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« on: May 30, 2019, 01:29:30 PM »
Throughout our long and illustrious European history, some of our greatest moments and performances have been triggered by that most wonderful of football phrases – the Super Sub! Just saying the words conjures up all sorts of old images, and given our antics in the Semi Final, some very recent ones too. Ahead of Saturday’s final I thought it would be good to look back at some of the great Super Sub moments from the past, and given how our games against Spurs are often tight battles, cast my inexpert eye over the contenders to be the latest incarnation of David Fairclough and be the man to make the difference.

David Fairclough - Saint Etienne (H), 1977



As Kellogg’s would say: “the original and best”. Throughout his Liverpool career Fairclough earned himself the nickname SuperSub, sometimes to the displeasure of the man himself who thought that under valued his talents. The Quarter Final against the quality champions of France has gone down as one of the great Anfield European night ™. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, the Reds were still searching for their first European Cup going into the return leg and got off to the perfect start when Kevin Keegan curled one in from out wide (or was it an overhit cross?!) early on. At half time the game was in the balance but early in the second half Dominique Bathenay absolutely battered one in from about 35 yards (his name is actually French for Ronnie Radford), leaving the Reds needing two to progress. Ray Kennedy scored a second on the hour but with Liverpool heading out Fairclough replaced John Toshack on 74 minutes. Ten minutes later he latched on to a ball over the top, held off the retreating defenders and on a bobbling pitch managed to tuck it away and send the Kop wild. Liverpool held on and were through to their first ever European Cup final…the rest is history.

Howard Gayle – Bayern Munich (A), 1981



After a 0-0 at home to Bayern (sound familiar?), the Germans were very confident of progressing to the final. Their side was, as ever, packed full of German internationals and Liverpoll were somewhat injury hit, having to call upon Colin Irwin and Richard Money. They were further hamstrung in the first half when King Kenny had to come off, replaced by the young Howard Gayle. Definitely an unknown quantity, he proceeded to give Bayern the run around, causing plenty of problems and being denied what looked to be a clear penalty. After an hour on the pitch, the sub was subbed having been booked. Hoever he had helped pin Bayern back and in the closing moments the Reds nicked a vital away goal. Bayern equalised at the death but it wasn’t enough, and Liverpool were through to the final where they would go on to beat Real Madrid (who the fuck they trying to kid?).

Didi Hamann and Vladimir Smicer – Milan (N), 2005





Probably the most unforgettable night in the club’s history, certainly in the modern age. There’s nothing I can tell you about the Miracle of Istanbul that you don’t already know, but one of the quirks of it all is that two of the men who made the biggest difference were two of the symbols of our rebirth under the former manager Gerard Houllier. Hamann and Smicer were both signed in the summer of 1999. Hamann instantly brought steel and calm to our midfield. Smicer made less of an instant impact but in Europe gave some of his best performances for us, playing his part off the bench to beat Alaves in 2001, winning the Golden Goal inducing free kick, and was a real thorn in the side against Roma in 2002. Their fates were often interlinked. Hamann being subbed off for Smicer away at Leverkeusen was seen as a turning point as we crashed out in the Quarter Finals of 2002.

We all know the story of Isanbul. 3-0 down at half time and barely a glimmer of hope. Vladi had already entered the fray, subbed on for the injured Harry Kewell midway through the first half but it was the introduction of Didi Hamann that was seen as the turning point. Coming on for the injured Steve Finnan, the team restructured, Hamann pulled the strings in the middle, allowing Gerrard to dominate things from higher up the pitch, his header bringing us back in the game. Real hope though was given by Smicer scoring the second just minutes later, a low, swerving shot from outside the box squeezing past Dida. Minutes later it was 3-3, we then know all about Carragher’s cramp, Dudek’s double save and Gerrard’s sliding tackles. Into the penalty shoot out and both subs scored (in fact the third dub that night Djibril Cisse also slotted). Smicer’s last kick in a Liverpool shirt scoring the penalty that put us at ‘match point’ and what a wonderful celebration that followed.

Gini Wijnaldum – Barcelona (H), 2019



Normally in these sort of lists, a modern reference is chucked in somewhat lazily. No danger of that this time. This is definitely one of the great Super Sub performances. 3-0 down from the first leg despie performaing well for 75 minutes, no one outside of Liverpool gave us a chance. How wrong they were! Liverpool blitzed Barca early, scoring through Divock Origi to reduce the deficit and then played a controlled half to go into the bear 1 up, still needing two more for extra time. At half time a crocked Andy Robertson was replaced by a man angry to have missed out of starting and with a point to prove – Gini Wijnaldum. It’s fair to say that while having been excellent for much of the season, not many could have forseen what would happen next as in the space of ten minutes, Gini scored twice with a sidefoot finish and a Gerardesque header to bring things back to 3-3 on aggregate. Big Div did the rest and against all odds (token Phil Collins reference in case Stevie is reading) Liverpool were through to their 9th European Cup Final. Gini collapsing to the turf in exhaustion, celebration and prayer is one of the defining images from what must surely be one of the greatest nights Anfield has ever witnessed.

So who are the possible Super Sub heroes for the final? Obviously that’s a question that can really only be answered once we know the starting XI but I’ve never let that get in the way of a hypothetical debate before. Based on what we know we can have a pretty good stab at what our starting line up will be:

Alisson
 

Robertson

Van Dijk

Matip

Alexander-Arnold
 

Fabinho

Wijnaldum

Henderson
 

Mane

Firmino

Salah

Supersub Contenders:

James Milner – if he doesn’t start the game (and Klopp may still opt for is experience from the start), then he’ll definitely finish it. Almost certain to come off the bench at some stage regardless of the position of the game. Apparently has been known to take a decent penalty. Supersub chances: ****



Divock Origi – our semi final hero is likely to find himself back on the bench for the final if the encouraging reports about Roberto Firmino’s fitness hold true. As recently as Newcatsle in our penultimate League game Origi rose from the bench to score a vital late winner and his pace, strength and size make him a real handful to come on against tiring legs. Likely to be our first attacking sub if we’re swapping one of the front 3, or are looking for an extra body up top. Supersub chances: ****



Xherdan Shaqiri – it’s been a strange season for old Sheridan. After a slow start he took his chances over the Autumn and proved his ability to change the game off the bench by scoring twice against the Piss Artists Formerly Known as Manchester United in December. He disappeared again in the new year, only to reappear a few times in the run in, again making a vital contribution as a substitute at Newcastle and grabbing a semi final assist against Barcelona. Questions remain whether Klopp has 100% faith in Shaqiri and again it’s easy to imagine the only way he gets on is if there is an injury or we are losing but we know he has the ability to deliver. Supersub chances: ***



Daniel Sturridge – everybody seems to think Sturridge will be leaving us this summer. Any chance of a Vladi Smicer style farewell by coming off the bench to score (or even slot a penalty if it goes to a shoot out). It would be an incredible way for him to bow out and would be the least he deserves for the quality he has shown since being at the club. Chances of getting on the pitch fee slim though. I’d say he’s only likely to come on if we’re trailing going into the final 10 minutes and for that reason, and in the nicest possible way I hope we don’t see him on the pitch on June 1st. Supersub chances: **



Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – A driving force in our run to the final last season (literally, Jamie), I think I speak for everyone to say we’d love nothing more than Oxlade-Chamberlain to come on and score a decisive goal against Spurs, especially given his Arsenal connections. The chances of him getting on will probably only be determined over the next couple of weeks as he continues to recover the injury he picked up in last year’s semi final but given the increased number of substitutes allowed in Madrid he’s a safe bet to at least be in the matchday squad. Supersub chances: **



Rhian Brewster  - the Hail Mary option! As a club who specialise in winning things the hard way and always taking the most unexpected route, what finer way of winning our 6th European Cup than having the winner scored by someone making his competitive debut for us?! We know he has the talent and the faith of Klopp, but like Sturridge (and more), it feels the only way he’ll be on the pitch is if we’re chasing the game and need one last throw of the dice. Supersub chances: *



Barring unfortunate injuries, or Joe Gomez being brought on in the Klavan role because we’re winning with a few minutes to go it’s hard to see many of the other bench options coming on. But I’ve listed the options anyway, followed by the scenario they could find themselves the unlikeliest of heroes:

Simon Mignolet – After Alisson does a Jens Lehmann, big Si stirs himself from 12 months’ of inactivity to save a penalty in normal time before winning the trophy for the 10 men Reds by saving twice in the shoot out.

Joe Gomez – Been at the club since 2015 and not even a sniff of a goal? Not a problem as Jomez proves himself the man for the big occasion by nodding home a 95th minute corner

Naby Keita – Still feels very unlikely he’ll be fit but if he somehow is then he’d be a contender to come on. Then nutmeg Vertonghen and Alderwireld before lashing one into the top corner from the edge of the box

Adam Lallana – Another plagued by injuries, could Lallana be fit for one more final? He came on last year, could he do the same this year and be an unlikely hero, Cruyff turning one in from 20 yards? Probably not.

Ben Woodburn – at this point he’s become a Champions League Semi Final Specialist Sub. Can he go one further and become a Champions League Final Specialist Sub. Probably, but it’s virtually impossible to see him playing any part

Alberto Moreno – Ok, I’ll stop there. If Albie gets on the pitch at any stage then something somewhere has probably gone badly wrong. Still, he does have previous for scoring against Spurs…
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 04:27:48 PM by Titi Camara »

Offline Titi Camara

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2019, 04:29:02 PM »
:champ :champ :champ :champ :champ :champ
I know about the 10+ hoes a week, and it’s something I’m willing to do.

Online Dench57

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2019, 04:36:41 PM »
Adam Lallana "Cruyff turning one in from 20 yards"  :lmao
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Offline Perham

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2019, 07:29:59 PM »
Great read! I'm loving all the write up here in the build up to the final.

I'd like to add Mellor and Pongolle in 2004 against Olympiakos.
if I came home to allison in bed with my wife I'd ask him to phone Virgil to see if he wanted to pop round too.

Offline Trendisdestiny

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2019, 08:01:29 PM »
Well out Nick!
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Offline BIG DICK NICK

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2019, 08:03:16 PM »
Great read! I'm loving all the write up here in the build up to the final.

I'd like to add Mellor and Pongolle in 2004 against Olympiakos.

Oops, how did I miss that! Was thinking of all the knockout games but they played a huge part in it all.

Offline Hazell

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2019, 08:44:00 PM »
Great stuff Nick :)

Oops, how did I miss that! Was thinking of all the knockout games but they played a huge part in it all.

Thought Dossena would also get a mention for that super few days 10 years ago, alas it wasn't to be.
We have to change from doubter to believer. Now.

Offline Cu Chulainn

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2019, 09:06:12 PM »
Mignolet has an amazing record with penalties. If we're deep into extra-time, get that clown Alisson off and get Si in goal.  :P

In all seriousness, does Mignolet get a medal if we win? He deserves one, he's such a brilliant professional, would've been easy for him to moan a lot knowing he's got no chance of unseating Alisson but he's got on with it and seems to be a big positive presence in the dressing room.

Offline BIG DICK NICK

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #8 on: June 1, 2019, 11:47:25 PM »
That’s why Divvy got a Big Dick Nick 4* Super Sub rating. :D

Offline Mr_Shane

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #9 on: June 1, 2019, 11:48:54 PM »
You actually called it. ;D  Not unexpected though. He has been scoring consistently almost every time he has come on as a sub
« Last Edit: June 1, 2019, 11:53:57 PM by Mr_Shane »

Offline Kenny's Jacket

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #10 on: June 1, 2019, 11:52:36 PM »
Best thread ever, even better than the effes one.


Thanks Nick

Offline Perham

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #11 on: June 2, 2019, 12:06:58 AM »
Now the ultimate super sub!
if I came home to allison in bed with my wife I'd ask him to phone Virgil to see if he wanted to pop round too.

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #12 on: June 2, 2019, 12:25:07 PM »









« Last Edit: June 2, 2019, 01:13:21 PM by oojason »
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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #14 on: June 2, 2019, 12:32:05 PM »
Excellent OP. And here we have even Wenger and Mourinho appreciating the moment. Pure class.

https://twitter.com/aylg1987/status/1135123761135587328

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Re: Champions League Final 2019: Our Kingdom for a Super Sub
« Reply #15 on: June 2, 2019, 12:51:15 PM »
And we had the man who answered. Talk about a supersub. Three shots, three goals. In the Semis and in the Final.

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