Liverpool legend will be looking for a copy of his favorite game, opening a few beers and giving himself the opportunity to remember what, 15 years later, remains the most amazing night not only in club history, but also in that of European football.
The final victory of the Champions League against AC Milan in Istanbul left a mark so indelible that a mini-industry has emerged in its wake, ranging from books, goods, films and even a play .
Like so many people involved that night, Carragher’s career and life changed accordingly.
And this is the one he’s more than happy to come back to.
“I’m probably going to watch the game on May 25 because I pretty much watched everything else! He said, referring to how football has been on hiatus for over two months due to the coronavirus epidemic.
“I’ll keep it there and have a few drinks.”
“But it’s actually been over 15 years that so much has happened since.
“It fascinated me when I read ECHO when I was younger and you could see the 1977 team coming together 25 years later.
“Then 25 years seemed like a very long time. And we are now halfway there.
“But the more you think about it, the more you realize it goes by in a flash.” “
Liverpool Champions League victory in Istanbul
The events at Atatürk Stadium in 2005 transcended not only the clubs involved but the sport itself, references emerging in the most unlikely places in the countries of the world.
“Even when I go on vacation during the summer, every time I go to a hotel, bar or restaurant somewhere in Europe, if someone spots me or finds out who I am, the first thing that comes up in the conversation is Istanbul, ”says Carragher, speaking to ECHO.
“What makes Istanbul so special is the way we won it. It affected Liverpool fans more than anyone, but it is a game that will be remembered all over the world.
“It means something to people. You just don’t get finals like that. ”
It is easy to forget how Liverpool was most certainly ranked among the night’s underdogs.
Milan had won the competition two years earlier and was known to have the best team in the world.
The Reds, however, were in the final for the first time in 20 years and finished fifth with 37 points behind Premier League winner Chelsea.
“We knew before the match that Milan was much better than us,” says Carragher. “It didn’t mean we couldn’t win.
“However, when you’re 3-0 at halftime against a much better team, it’s hard to say” well, let’s do this and that and that to get back into the game. “
“Milan’s performance was incredible. For 114 minutes, they gave one of the best performances you will see in the Champions League final.
“Half of the team would win the World Cup the following year. Shevchenko was the best striker in the world at that time, Kaka became the best player in the world alongside Ronaldinho for the next two years.
“It was a special team that gave a special performance outside of six minutes. But it’s football and that’s what makes our sport the best.
“He was a bit of a monster. It was called a miracle, and that’s what it was – a miracle. ”
Of course, one man’s dream is another’s nightmare. And Carragher points out how, even to this day, the game continues to resonate with players in Milan who could barely believe what had happened.
“The way Milan lost to us in Istanbul will be remembered by these players,” he said.
“In fact, it was one of the first things Carlo Ancelotti said to me when I went to speak to him when he took over at Everton …” You stole the cup from us! “.
“He laughed, but it would have been their feeling. It would have been so difficult for these players, especially considering the Italian press.
“Can you imagine what it would have been like in the English media if an English team had lost this way?
“What makes it so special for us makes it more painful for them. “
So how did Liverpool do it? For all the legendary speeches about the locker room events during the interval – and the tactical adjustments that were necessary – Carragher points to even finer details.
“Let’s not forget, people still think that after half time we were amazing,” he said. “But that was not the case.
“We had a six-minute spell where it is something that happens maybe once a season for each club, where they score two or three goals in quick succession. Ours just happened in the biggest game of our lives.
“You need a bit of luck for that to happen, and afterwards we hung on a bit. “
Carragher adds: “It wasn’t like AC Milan missed a lot of chances in the first half, it was more a matter of every chance they scored for. They probably had more in the second half.
The essential news from Liverpool FC
“I was about to cut Kaka’s pass for the third goal. For the second goal, I just miss my foot to block it, while in the second half I do this blocking.
“I don’t think there was a huge difference, it’s just that we were a bit unlucky in the first half and had our fortune in the second half.
“It all came together in one of the most watched games in the world, and that’s what makes it so special. “
Experience has taught us to never say never. But, 15 years later, a night in Istanbul continues to be the pinnacle of Liverpool.