Soccer

Jamie Carragher still disagrees with Benitez call in Liverpool vs AC Milan final

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Jamie Carragher has never forgotten Rafael Benitez's decision to leave two key players on the bench during Liverpool's 2-1 Champions League final defeat to AC Milan in 2007.

In the final 14 years ago, Sky Sports pundit Carragher said the Spaniard's decision to omit Craig Bellamy and Peter Crouch from the starting line-up cost the Reds the game.

Liverpool started the 2007 showpiece with Dirt Kuyt ploughing a lone furrow up front, as Bellamy spent the match on the bench, with Crouch coming on in the 78th minute.

AC Milan won the match – and with it the Champions League – thanks to a brace from Filippo Inzaghi, with Liverpool unable to mount a comeback despite Kuyt's late goal.

Carragher still laments Benitez's choice to leave Bellamy on the bench, telling Sky Sports last year: "I've never watched that game again. It's a killer losing a game of that magnitude, knowing how close you are.

"We can't complain. We were very lucky in 2005 and maybe Milan had a touch of luck in that we were probably the better side.

"But I didn't come away from the game thinking we'd done enough to win the game if I'm being totally honest."

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He continued: "It's easier with hindsight I suppose, but I just look at Craig Bellamy being on the bench that night and not coming on.

"I think they had [Paolo] Maldini who was 39, 40 at the time, and you're thinking 'oh if we just had Bellamy for 20 minutes running at him.

"So there are always little regrets, but you're also lucky to get to a final of that magnitude."

Jamie Redknapp, who was also on the Sky Sports’ The Football Show, added that leaving Crouch on the bench until the last knockings was a mistake too.

Carragher replied: "Yeah, you had Crouch and Bellamy both on the bench.

"He played Dirk Kuyt upfront on his own and I think we knew over the next few years Dirk was never going to be a centre-forward who'd play upfront on his own, it wasn't really his role.

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"Even though Dirk scored late on in the game you just feel the aerial ability of Crouch, also the pace of Bellamy, you'd have wanted those two players on the pitch.

"I know Crouchy came on but it's always a little regret that Bellamy didn't come on."

  • Liverpool FC
  • AC Milan FC
  • Champions League
  • Jamie Carragher

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