Former Red Stephen Warnock has opened up on an error that former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez made before the 2005 Champions League final.

The Reds were set to face AC Milan in Istanbul. Warnock thought he was going to be apart of the matchday squad, as he was included in the squad of 18 that was posted up inside Melwood.

After Warnock saw he was named to make the trip to Istanbul, he told his family. However, one phone call later completely changed everything.

“It was just a strange one for me,” Warnock told BBC, as quoted by the Mirror. “I had been sort of in and out of the team that season and cutting my teeth on the Liverpool team.

“I had played in six or seven of the games. Whether that was coming on as a sub or starting in the Champions League leading up to the final.

“Then the last game of the season we played Aston Villa at home and I played the game. We had a break of two weeks in between the final so I trained up until the final.

“What Rafa used to do is you would come in after training and he would put a squad list up of the 18. So if you were in the 18 you knew you were at least on the bench.

“The squad list went up and I was on the bench, so I was delighted. I rang home and told everybody to get ready for Istanbul because I’m at least on the bench.

“Two hours later I got a call from Pako Ayestaran, who was the assistant manager at the time to Rafa. He said ‘Listen we have made an error. The squad list was wrong. You’re not in the squad’. But it wasn’t Rafa who made the call, it was Pako Ayestaran.

“It was a bit of a kick in the teeth. As a local lad who supported Liverpool growing up, it was the ultimate dream to go to a Champions League final playing for the team you grew up supporting. It was suddenly taken away from me.”

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 28: Danny Higginbotham of Southampton is challenged by Stephen Warnock of Liverpool during the Barclays Premiership match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield on December28, 2004 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT

It is the hope that arguably would have hurt Warnock the most. Warnock has seen his name included in the squad of 18, which naturally brought excitement to him.

He was going to to be apart of a Champions League final that Liverpool were involved in.

To have that taken away from him was clearly hard to take going by his aforementioned comments. I know I would personally prefer to not be named at all, rather than accidentally being named originally.

That is simply because I could not go through the range of emotions that Warnock went through on that particular day.

About The Author

Freelance sports journalist and Red from Melbourne.

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