Happy Birthday Vladimir Smicer!

Born in Decin in the Czech Republic, Smicer started his career off at Slavia Prague before moving to France in 1996 to join Lens and was a key player when they captured the title in 1997/98 making 28 appearances and scoring seven goals.

Smicer joined Liverpool in May 1999 and made his debut against Sheffield Wednesday in August 1999. His progress with the club was not helped by the amount of injuries he picked up causing him to not be a frequent member of the squad.

A highlight of his Liverpool career would have been scoring the winner against Chelsea in March 2002 which sent Liverpool top of the table. He seemed to have lost his way after the 2002/03 season when he was mostly named on the bench. Once Gerard Houllier departed, he hoped for a second chance under new manager Rafa Benitez but after undergoing an operation on a fractured cartilage, he wasn’t able to be a part of the side until February 2005. Probably one of the best moments of his career came just a few months later in May 2005 when he replaced Harry Kewell in the Champions League final and scored Liverpool’s second of their incredible comeback meaning his time at the club ended in style.

Due to his contract expiring with the Reds, he moved to Bordeaux where he again struggled with injuries. He moved back to his first club Slavia Prague but also struggled there due to injuries. He announced his retirement as a player in 2009 at the age of 36 and became the assistant of the Czech Republic head coach Michal Bilek.

Vladimir Smicer will always be remembered for his contributions to Liverpool and his great goal in the Champions league final comeback against AC Milan. He made a total of 184 appearances for the club, scoring 19 goals.

Article by Lauren Black [email protected]

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