Rafa Benitez did nothing in Istanbul - Sam Allardyce

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Football News

Istanbul 2005 is the most famous night in Liverpool's history. The story of their comeback from 3-0 down to snatch the Champions League trophy from AC Milan will be passed down from generation to generation.

The Anfield club's boss on that night in Turkey, Rafael Benitez, will be considered a legend among Liverpool fans forever and always. But according to a fellow football manager, the Reds' finest hour had nothing to do with the now Real Madrid coach.

New Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce, who's book ‘Big Sam, The Autobiography’ is being serialised by The Sun, believes the Spaniard takes credit for something he didn't cause.


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The 60-year-old said: "He can say he won the Champions League with Liverpool, which is something I never did. But it was nowt to do with him.

"Steven Gerrard took that final by the scruff of the neck and dragged Liverpool back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to eventually win on penalties.

"I don’t blame Benitez for claiming credit — but as managers we know the truth. It’s like when you make a substitution in desperation and it comes off. You get all the credit for your tactical brilliance when it’s often just luck."

Allardyce also believes Benitez disrespected him during his time at Bolton Wanderers and said victories against him were even sweeter because of his attitude.


The Spaniard's influence on that famed night is up for debate. Two of his substitutions had a huge influence on the game, but both were enforced due to injuries to Harry Kewell and Steven Finnan.

Had Finnan not picked up an injury, Dietmar Hamann may never have been introduced and the Reds may not have made the change of formation that changed the complexion of the game.

But what he said to his players at half-time, with them trailing 3-0, must have been special as his Liverpool charges came out and produced the best comeback in football history.

How big an influence do you think Rafael Benitez had on the outcome of the Champions League final of 2005? Have your say in the comments section below!

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Sam Allardyce

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