Rafa Benitez and Jamie Carragher give the inside story of Liverpool's incredible 2005 CL win


Monday Night Football had a very special guest last night - Rafa Benitez.

The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle manager joined Jamie Carragher in the Sky Sports studio for West Ham vs Arsenal.

It was certainly interesting to get the Spaniard’s views on this current Arsenal side - especially as he’s one of the names touted to become their next manager.

If he was considering the job, he’d have been encouraged by their second-half performance as Arsenal came from 1-0 down to triumph 3-1.

Talking of comebacks, Benitez was also tasked with discussing a match that happened 14 years ago.

Of course, we’re talking about THAT champions League final in Istanbul.

Benitez and Carragher analysed that incredible final where Liverpool found themselves 3-0 down at half-time, only to produce a magnificent fightback to win the match on penalties.

UEFA Champions League Final - AC Milan v Liverpool

The manager explained how they couldn’t deal with the legendary Kaka in the first-half as he gave the inside story of the night.

"In the end, it was a mistake - not because of Harry, but because of the position of Kaka," Benitez now concedes. "He was killing us behind the lines because Stevie would go forward. I thought we could control him with the two midfielders.

"But when we went forward, there was space behind. Stevie was a box-to-box midfielder and Xabi is not the quickest."

So, Rafa had a plan to take off Djimi Traore and put on Didi Hammann at half-time. But it didn’t quite work out like that as carnage ensued in the dressing room.

"I wanted to play three at the back, that was the idea," added Benitez.

"When I finished, I was explaining everything then I was told Finnan couldn't play another 45 minutes. We had already lost Kewell and Hamann was coming on so we couldn't change another.

"I wanted to explain how we would play, have more control over Kaka through Hamann. That was fine. Then I was thinking Djibril Cisse on the right. I put him on the board instead of Luis Garcia and then someone told me we had 12! It was so complicated!"

And Carragher also remembered the confusion inside the dressing room at half-time.


 "I remember coming in, because your English wasn't great, you just said 'Traore shower,'" Carragher recalled.

"Djimi Traore got changed and went to shower but the physio was with Steve Finnan and he couldn't continue. He wasn't too happy and I think of Rafa saying 'Finnan shower, Traore out the shower'.

"We only had 15 minutes. Didi Hamann was outside warming up as he was about to come on."

UEFA Champions League Final - AC Milan v Liverpool

What followed was nothing short of miraculous.

Three goals in six second-half minutes from Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Alonso forced the final into extra-time and then the dreaded penalty shootout.

But Benitez insisted that winning on spot-kicks wasn’t luck. Instead, he claims his side was fully in control of the shootout.

It's brilliant to hear from the man who masterminded one of the most amazing comebacks in football history explaining exactly how he and his side did it.

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