On this day in 2007, Liverpool faced Barcelona in the 1st leg of the knockout stages of the Champions league.
The Reds came out on top defeating the Catalonia side 2-1 with Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise grabbing the goals. Bellamy claimed the headlines for the right reasons after the game with him netting the first goal in the win, but he easily could have made the headlines for the wrong reason.
The Liverpool team had been on a training camp in Portugal just before their clash at the Nou Camp, a team-bonding night was arranged and the players insisted on doing Karaoke but Riise didn’t want to be involved and that later led to him being ‘attacked’ in his hotel room with an eight iron.
Riise spoke about the incident later saying “The manager allowed us to have one beer that night, obviously other players had more. Bellamy kept harassing me to go up and sing and even though I refused to sing multiple times he wouldn’t leave me alone. I ended up leaving and going back to my room”.
Reports of a bust up between team mates was reported and different stories where released but no one could really get to the bottom of it, here is Riise take on the event “I was sharing a room with Daniel Agger and when I heard the key in the door I just thought it was him coming back up but the next thing I was getting hit with a golf club and Bellamy said to me, meet me outside my room tomorrow at 9”.
Nothing happened the next morning but tensions where still high after the incident and that is not the best atmosphere to have in the camp before a Champions League knock-out match and there were questions at to whether it would affect the teams performance in the game.
Fast forward to the Barcelona match and both players ended up scoring in that game, Barcelona where leading thanks to a goal by Deco but Bellamy got the equaliser after he headed the ball towards goal, Valdes caught it but fell back over the line and a lot of people thought he had prevented a goal but he rolled the ball back over and Dirk Kuyt smashed the ball into the net, replays show that it crossed the line from Bellamy’s header and he was awarded the goal, his celebration is now famous as he chose to imitate the action of swinging a golf club.
Boosted by their equaliser Liverpool where now becoming a threat in the game and had a few opportunities to go 2-1 up. On the 68th minute Barcelona defender Ludovic Giuly passed back to his keeper, Valdes misread the situation and picked the ball up in the penalty area causing a free kick to be awarded in the box to give Liverpool a chance to further their tally, nothing came of the free kick but on the 74th minute Riise got the winner for the Reds after Kuyt broke into the box, his shot was saved by Valdes but it fell to Bellamy who squared it to Riise who’s first time right footed shot ended up in the roof of the net. Although Barcelona where still a threat and caused problems for the Reds in the remaining minutes of the game they managed to hang on and take 2 away goals into the 2nd leg at Anfield.
Liverpool managed to progress all the way to the final of the competition where they faced AC Milan, but they couldn’t repeat their famous win back in 2005 and got beat 2-1 in Athens by the Italian side.
Article by Lauren Black
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