May 14, 2021

Sports Legend

“Cherry on the cake” – Steven Gerrard’s “surprise” as Liverpool’s cult hero silenced Old Trafford


When Liverpool traveled to Old Trafford on March 14, 2009, they hadn’t won at the home of their big rivals since April 2004.

Manchester United had done things their own way, and it looked set to be the case again when Cristiano Ronaldo scored an early penalty.

But Rafa Benitez’s Reds were a very confident team, and they had an unlikely hero ready to continue a short but sweet purple spot.

Just four days earlier, Liverpool had hosted Real Madrid at Anfield.

Fernando Torres was at his best while Steven Gerrard marked his 100th European appearance with a dominant display.



Liverpool's trip to Old Trafford in March 2009 proved to be a momentous occasion with Man Utd fans silenced
Liverpool’s trip to Old Trafford in March 2009 proved to be a momentous occasion with Man Utd fans silenced

In the dying seconds, Andrea Dossena was deployed on the left wing as the Reds closed the game.

Usually left-back, Dossena had struggled to get a look since leaving Udinese for £ 7million to replace John Arne Rise the previous summer.

Fabio Aurelio’s performances largely kept him away from his preferred position, leading to a makeshift role further.

With just two minutes to go, he marked the occasion with his very first goal for the Reds, scoring at home to wrap up a 4-0 win and a memorable Champions League triumph.

Few players can say they scored at Anfield for Liverpool in the Champions League against Real Madrid, ”Dossena then reminded The Guardian.



Just four days earlier, Dossena scored his first Liverpool goal against Real Madrid at Anfield
Just four days earlier, Dossena scored his first Liverpool goal against Real Madrid at Anfield

“I have never found another atmosphere like this after leaving Anfield. You can feel it in the air – the fans are pushing you forward with their support.

“When I watch the game against Real, I can feel something behind my back. I can still see the Kop in front of me and I say, “I can do it”. It’s very difficult for me to explain how you are feeling at that moment. “

Just four days later, Dossena and Liverpool were still riding the crest of a wave.

And Dossena’s goals turned out to be like the London buses – after waiting almost a year to come out of the goal, he scored twice in four days.

This time it was a pretty mind-blowing chip over Edwin van Der Sar on the counterattack, again featured as a right winger with just over 20 minutes remaining.

United had gone to great lengths to find their way back into the game.



Dossena scored a superb chip in the finals to end the game at Old Trafford
Dossena scored a superb chip in the finals to end the game at Old Trafford

In the blink of an eye, as the ball passed over the Dutchman via the deft contact from Dossena, Old Trafford was silenced.

Even Steven Gerrard was surprised by the source of the goal that proved the “icing on the cake” after five years of painful trips to the Theater of Dreams.

Years later, Gerrard told Gary Neville’s Soccerbox TV show on Optus Sport: “It was more of a surprise to us actually, because Dossena is normally a left-back who stays.

“It was just one of those moments. I think United were obviously continuing the game at this point. Heads [are] gone, the crowds are heading [are] faded away. It was just the icing on the cake. “



Steven Gerrard later said he was "surprised" by the arrival of Dossena during an unforgettable afternoon
Steven Gerrard later said he was “surprised” by Dossena’s arrival on an unforgettable afternoon.

While Gerrard and most Liverpool fans were taken aback by Dossena’s momentous moment, the man himself gives a different perspective.

“I was not surprised,” he told The Guardian.

“As a player, I had this touch to make a pallonetto because I have scored two other times with a lob in my career. ”

Despite his confidence in his own abilities, Dossena’s two goals in the span of four days contributed to a total of just 11 in his 16-year career.

At the time, it was a victory that raised hopes for the Reds Premier League title.

Instead, Sir Alex Ferguson’s team rallied.

“It’s hard to take,” Ferguson said full time. “I thought we were the best team but the score doesn’t reflect that and unfortunately that’s the name of the game.

“Rightly so, when you win 4-1 at Old Trafford, you deserve all the applause.”

Although the Reds have lost just two points from their last 11 Premier League games, it was United who won the title by four points after an equally strong finish.

“We were a great team,” Dossena recalls. “Our spirit was to win the Premier League; the mentality of this team was to beat Man U to win the title as it was too many years since Liverpool won the league.

“We tried to fight until the end but Man U was very strong. Our team had a lot of character and attitude. “