Unsung heroes


Den hockeysveisen er nesten i samme liga som Chris Waddle sin. Men jeg skal ikke bruke det mot han, han er faktisk også en av de som datt ned i hodet mitt da jeg tenkte på Unsung heroes.

Helt generelt: Jeg er ikke overrasket over at majoriteten av navnene som nevnes her er forsvarsspillere. Det er aldri dem som vinner Ballon d’Or, det er sjelden navnene deres man ser på baksiden av drakta til “kidsa”. Ved å forhindre mål i mot gjør de en like viktig jobb som angrepsspillerne som scorer, men det blir ikke like synlig og anerkjent. Publikum vil heller se feiende flott angrepsspill enn solid forsvarsspill. Sånn er det vel bare…



Født 1980
I Liverpool 2007 - 2010
Offensiv midtbanespiller
134 kamper, 29 mål

Liverpool were holding Real Madrid to a stalemate until Fabio Aurelio swung a free-kick from the right-hand touchline into a crowded penalty area, where an unmarked Yossi Benayoun, the smallest man on the pitch, headed Liverpool to a memorable victory.

the falsenine.co.uk skriver:

Benayoun’s arrival in English football was both understated and unheralded; not many were familiar with his rise to prominence, but his undeniable flair and unstinting work ethic won him substantial admirers. One such suitor was then Liverpool boss, Rafa Benitez, who harnessed his mercurial talent during a three-season stint on Merseyside.

It was with Liverpool, and more importantly under Benitez, where Benayoun enjoyed the best period of his footballing career. After a first season in which he largely flattered to deceive, Benayoun stagnated during the 2008-9 season on the periphery of the first-team squad. His defining moment, the turning-point of his season, maybe even his career, arrived on 25th February, 2009 at the Santiago Bernabéu.

It was the 82nd minute of a first leg in the Last 16 of the Champions League. Liverpool were holding Real Madrid to a stalemate until Fabio Aurelio swung a free-kick from the right-hand touchline into a crowded penalty area, where an unmarked Yossi Benayoun, the smallest man on the pitch, headed Liverpool to a memorable victory.

In typically understated fashion Benayoun has described it as “the most emotional goal of my career” – it transformed his career on Merseyside, along with both his reputation and legacy elsewhere.

Benayoun prospered as a regular starter in Benitez’s 4-2-3-1 system, he provided the artistry behind the power and poise of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. Between the end of February and May Benayoun enjoyed a spectacular run in the first-team, including a late winner at Fulham and a brace against Arsenal in a 4-4 thriller.

As Liverpool’s form plummeted in the 2009-10 season, Benayoun remained a mainstay in the team and one of its most consistent performers, cementing a firm relationship with the Anfield faithful. Since his departure to Stamford Bridge in July 2010, Liverpool have struggled to replace his guile and creativity.

lfchistory.net skriver

Benayoun’s first season at Anfield can certainly be described as successful as he featured in 47 of Liverpool’s 59 competitive matches but was introduced as a substitute 21 times which must have been frustrating. Benítez felt he was a match winner but more often than to Benayoun’s liking he didn’t have a place for him in the starting line-up. Still, eleven goals was a more than satisfactory figure for a man playing as a second striker and included hat-tricks against Besiktas in the Champions League and Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Cup. He had a knack of being ‘in the right place at the right time’ because no fewer than three of those six goals came when he reacted quickly to shots by his colleagues that had been saved or blocked.

Benayoun made further progress in his second season as Liverpool made a championship challenge. His skill on the ball was a joy to behold and his vision second to none but he was still considered mainly an impact player. He scored nine times from 42 first-team appearances in the 2008/09 season and signed a two-year extension to his contract binding him to the club until 2013. Benayoun had another steady season in 2009/10 starting 29 competitive matches but significantly being replaced in 22 of them. His hat-trick in the early-season Anfield encounter with Burnley was a unique treble in another way too, making him the only English-based player to have scored hat-tricks in the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup.




Fabio Aurelio

Født 24 September 1979.
I Sao Carlos Brasil
134 kamper, 4 mål.

Dette skriver LFChistory.net.

Aurélio started his career with São Paolo in Brazil in 1997. He joined Valencia in the summer of 2000 after featuring for Brazil’s u-23 team in the Sidney Olympics. A certain Rafa Benítez took over as coach of Valencia and Aurélio twice celebrated winning the Spanish championship in 2002 and 2004 as well as winning the UEFA Cup. However, Aurélio didn’t make as many appearances as he would have liked because of injuries, only making two appearances in the successful 2003/04 season after starring for Valencia on the left flank in the previous season, playing 35 games and scoring ten goals. Aurélio’s injuries unfortunately did not desert him when he arrived at Liverpool. Just when he had started to hit peak form he ruptured his Achilles against PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final in the 2006/07 season. Thirteen of his 29 appearances in 2007/08 came in cup matches and Benítez seemed particularly keen to use him in the Champions League. Aurélio had his best season at Liverpool in the 2008/09 season, making 27 starts and making five substitute appearances despite being six weeks on the sidelines with injury from November through January. He showed quick thinking when he scored from a wonderful free-kick at Chelsea in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final. His goal even earned a celebration from Rafa Benítez on the touchline! He also scored from a free-kick which was the highlight of Liverpool’s tremendous 4-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford. Aurélio seemed to have finally nailed a regular spot in the Liverpool line-up, but injured his knee in a freak accident playing with his son in the garden in the summer.

The 2009/10 season was on the whole a disappointment for the Brazilian who celebrated his thirtieth birthday a month after the season started having just recovered from his freak injury. Aurélio had little else to celebrate, making just 14 League and nine cup appearances with Emiliano Insúa establishing himself as first-choice left-back. Even the sale of Andrea Dossena to Napoli in January 2010 did not significantly improve Aurélio’s chances of regular first-team football because the manager, who had a surfeit of central defenders to try and keep happy, used Daniel Agger as his left-back on occasion. Aurélio injured his thigh against Blackburn Rovers on 28 February which ended his season. Aurélio’s contract was due to run out in the summer of 2010 and Liverpool were only ready to offer him a pay-as-you-play deal. He wanted more security and left Liverpool when his contract expired. Before the 2010/11 League season began, Aurélio re-signed for Liverpool on a two-year deal. New manager Roy Hodgson recognised that left-back was a position he needed to fill adequately and offered the Brazilian a second chance. The chances of poor Aurélio getting through an entire season without being injured were pretty slim; and so it proved. He picked up an Achilles injury and after he had recovered Hodgson used him sparingly but he was more of a regular after Dalglish succeeded the Englishman. But when picked to start at the Emirates in the middle of April, Aurélio got a hamstring injury and had to be substituted for Jack Robinson with less than a third of the match played. Dalglish picked him to start in the final League match of the season away to Aston Villa and amazingly the Brazilian got through the whole match unscathed! Aurélio only played in three first-team matches in 2011/12 partly due to the good form of Jose Enrique and partly because of injuries. Only 134 appearances in six seasons shows how often he was unavailable for selection. Leaving Liverpool at the age of 32, Aurélio hoped Fortune would smile on him more favourably at Gremio in his native Brazil. However, he has effectively been ruled out for the season after suffering a knee ligament rupture.

Aurelio called time on his playing-career on 4 April 2014 after realising that the many injuries he had received with different clubs would not allow him to continue playing at the age of thirty-four.


Aurelio var fantastisk. Eg set han høgare enn Riise. Dessverre var han skada nesten heile tida.


Er det lov å spå at Wijnaldum kommer til å bli en sånn om en del år, eller blir det off topic?


Riktig at det er offtopic, resten er feil. Wijnaldum scorer nemlig ett «bortemål» i Kiev som gjør at vi løfter nummer 6, samt at han sammen med Keita og Ox er den drivende midtbanen som endrer PL tørken neste mai. Men helt greit at du spør😉



Født 1932
Død 1989
I Liverpool 1958 - 1986

So highly was he thought of at Liverpool that he was offered the Manager`s job ahead of Mr Shankly, but declined it.

He may be the most unheralded member of the famous Boot Room but he was integral to the success Liverpool had during the 1960s and 1970s. While Shankly, Paisley and Fagan schemed, Bennett was the man behind the scenes who drilled the players.


(Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Ronnie Moran, Joe Fagan and Reuben Bennett)

footballpink.net skriver:

The five original members of that legendary coaching think-tank have been much-celebrated for their achievements over the subsequent decades. From Shankly himself, on to his managerial successors Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan, the quintet that made up the brains behind Liverpool’s success were wholly or partly responsible for the incredible haul of 10 First Division titles, 2 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 4 European Cups and 2 UEFA Cups amongst other minor honours. They were the creators of a dynasty; the instigators of an era.

Obviously, the greatest amount of credit for these achievements has rightly been apportioned to the figurehead and leader Shankly, and the master tactician and talent spotter Paisley, but it was Bennett who was the man that helped to galvanise and condition the players. It would be no good having the sharpest, most-skilful team in the land if they were not able to compete with and overcome opponents in the notoriously physical domain of English football.

Shankly and Bennett had an affinity for one another; their working-class Scottish upbringing, an iron will and the belief that fitness and conditioning the body would go a long way to conquer whatever obstacle was thrown in front of them. Bennett had also worked alongside Shankly’s brother Bob during his time in Dundee and at Third Lanark.

The pair spent a lot of time together travelling to games, scouting opposition and talking tactics – they were close confidantes. Shankly trusted Bennett implicitly, as did the Liverpool board; they offered him the manager’s job ahead of Shankly only for him to turn it down.

He may be the most unheralded member of the famous Boot Room but he was integral to the success Liverpool had during the 1960s and 1970s. While Shankly, Paisley and Fagan schemed, Bennett was the man behind the scenes who drilled the players, and while he was often uncompromising and hard on them with the aim of toughening them up, he gained a tremendous amount of warmth and respect along the way; inspiring good players to become great.

Just as Liverpool began to dominate domestically, Ronnie Moran was added to the backroom staff in 1971 and Bennett’s role changed in order to assist Shankly (and eventually Paisley and Fagan) take on the rigours of European football. He began to spend more time on various foreign spying missions, gathering as much information as possible with which to prepare the Reds for continental glory. These trips paid off spectacularly as Liverpool assumed the mantle of Europe’s dominant team vacated by the great Real Madrid side of the late 50s and early 60s.

gosfc.com skriver:

“In 1958 he was approached by Liverpool to come South and in December, he joined them. Liverpool, although then a Second Division club, were a big club with as good a history as the best [clubs] in England. He was a coach in demand, and when he went to Liverpool it was as Chief Coach, not just as a member of the coaching staff.”

He joined Liverpool’s coaching staff during the reign of Manager Phil Taylor. Phil Taylor was not the power to take Liverpool back to the top flight. A year after Bennett’s arrival Taylor resigned on 17th November 1959.

So highly was he thought of at Liverpool that he was offered the Manager`s job ahead of Mr Shankly, but declined it. That was probably one of his greatest decisions because history shows how important that was.

Bennett is the only member of the original Anfield boot room quartet who did not manage Liverpool at some point during his career. Thus the former keeper’s contribution and achievements remain relatively untrumpeted.

Wikipedia skriver:

Bennett joined Liverpool’s coaching staff when Phil Taylor was team manager. However Taylor resigned on 17 November 1959. In December Taylor’s replacement was announced as Bill Shankly who immediately set about rejuvenating the club with relish. Shankly arrived at a decayed club in stagnation but recognised the strength of the existing coaching staff of Bennett, Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan. Shankly elected to retain all three with Bennett staying on board until 1986. Shankly started holding his coaches meetings in the Anfield boot room. In this informal environment, between them they discussed tactics and plans, during which time Bennett was referred to as Sherlock, due to his preferred choice of headwear, a deer stalker. Thus the management philosophy behind Liverpool’s success over the next three decades was born. A fitness fanatic, at Liverpool Bennett was entrusted by Shankly with responsibility for player training and physical condition.

Shankly signed Ian St. John from Bennett’s former club Motherwell and Ron Yeats from Dundee United after the season’s end in 1961. Yeats was immediately installed as captain.




Født 1985
I Liverpool 2005 - 2008
Defensiv midtbanespiller
87 kamper, 1 mål

Benitez loves him, arguing that Sissoko should have been a candidate for the PFA Young Player of the Year award and suggesting: “He could be better than (Patrick) Vieira. I don’t want to put him under any pressure here, but I think he can be."

Liverpool Echos artikkel etter Liverpools finaleseier i FA-cupen i 2006:

Benitez accepts many of his stars were below par in Cardiff, but he says Sissoko was as inspirational as skipper Steven Gerrard in helping the Reds fight their way back from two down.

The aftermath of the final summed up Sissoko’s season, with few outside Merseyside recognising the importance of the Mali international.

Benitez, however, believes the 21-year-old has proved to be one of his most successful signings.

“Momo did for us what he’s done all season,” said Benitez.

"He worked very hard right until the end, and he was very important for us, not just on Saturday, but throughout the year.

"Some of my staff came to me at the end of the game and said they thought Momo would have been their man-of-the-match as well as Steven Gerrard.

“Maybe a lot of people don’t recognise how important Momo is, but everyone at the club knows it.”

Wikipedia skriver:

His first appearance was against Kaunas on 26 July 2005 in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers. In February 2006, he suffered serious eye injury after collision with Benfica’s midfielder Beto.

Sissoko was part of the FA Cup winning side in 2006 and played an integral role for the team.

In the summer of 2007, Sissoko rejected offers from Barcelona, CSKA Moscow and Juventus to stay on Merseyside. His only goal for Liverpool came on 25 August 2007, a low shot from twenty yards out against Sunderland in a 2-0 away win.

lfchistory.net skriver:

Liverpool’s Mohamed Sissoko risks his sight and his career every time he plays, but nothing will stop him facing West Ham in Saturday’s FA Cup final. Footballers are supposed to take each game as it comes and play every one as if it’s their last.

It would be melodramatic to say Mohamed Sissoko frets that he could be 90 minutes from retirement whenever he steps onto a pitch, but at the very back of his mind, in the place people put things they would rather not consider, a little thought is there. In February, Sissoko took a boot in the right eye from Benfica’s Beto, which left him temporary blind and with damage that continues to affect his vision. Another blow in the same place could finish his career. Sissoko is supposed to wear goggle-like sports glasses when he plays in order to protect his vulnerable eye, but he chooses not to.
Given that Sissoko could lose not only his livelihood, but the sight in the afflicted eye should the worst occur, you might ask why he feels the risk is necessary. But then watch him play. Pounding the grass as if in permanent pursuit of a mugger making off with his wallet, Sissoko does not halt from first whistle to last. Energy is expended; hunger, a deep, gut-gnawing, visceral hunger, is exuded.

His parents emigrated to France from Mali to find a better life — Mohamed, his father, working long hours in a factory, Fatou, his mother, doing similar as a cleaner, and Sissoko seems to have inherited their determination. He is focused on the better life, on giving everything, and you sense that he doesn’t want to waste a minute in this career of his. A chance of injury? So be it.
Well Benitez might smile. In Liverpool’s semi-final victory over Chelsea, and in their defeat of Manchester United in the fifth round, Sissoko’s sweat went a long way towards establishing superiority in the key central midfield area against the Premiership’s top two sides, and West Ham, especially with Hayden Mullins suspended, face a hounding. It is Sissoko’s second big final under Benitez; his first was as a 19-year-old, when he helped Valencia win the Uefa Cup against Marseille in 2004.
Sissoko is as popular among the staff at his club as he is with its support. Jamie Carragher suggests him as a candidate for Liverpool’s player of the year and colleagues appear to recognise that, although technical aspects of Sissoko’s game need refining — close control especially — if he does not become a very top player it will not be for the want of trying. Benitez loves him, arguing that Sissoko should have been a candidate for the PFA Young Player of the Year award and suggesting: “He could be better than (Patrick) Vieira. I don’t want to put him under any pressure here, but I think he can be because he runs a lot further than Vieira.”