Former Red Robbie Fowler has opened up on being left out of the 2007 Champions League final.
Liverpool faced AC Milan in the 2007 Champions League final, but it was a tough night for the club.
Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool lost the game 2-1, and Fowler was forced to watch the entire match, as he was left out of the matchday squad.
Fowler said not being given the opportunity to be apart of the matchday squad left him feeling “devastated”. He had never played in a Champions League final before.
Fowler departed the club the following season for Cardiff City.
“Even though I knew I wouldn’t start against Milan, I still felt I could be on the bench. And if you’re on the bench you can dream,” Fowler wrote in his column for the Mirror.
“But I didn’t make the matchday squad and I’m not ashamed to admit it was devastating.
“I was really emotional when I knew I wasn’t in. On the way to the stadium, I had a tear in my eye. But it was Rafa Benitez’s prerogative. He was paid to make tough decisions.
“I will say this though, and without wishing any lack of respect to any player, but I felt there was a case to be made for giving me that place on the bench.
“Rafa picked someone who’d hardly made an impact at Anfield at all. And that’s being kind. And he was leaving too.
“I guess I was picturing being on the pitch at the final whistle, and Liverpool winning the trophy. It would have been the perfect way to say goodbye.
“As it was, Crouchy and Craig Bellamy both didn’t start, which as we lost, and with the benefit of hindsight, suggests Rafa got his team wrong. With those two on the bench, Rafa wanted balance, so picked a wide player as a potential sub ahead of me – though I couldn’t work out how he’d ever get on the pitch.
“What puzzles me still is when we were losing 2-0 with just a few minutes to go, Steve Finnan came off, and the manager put on Alvaro Arbeloa, another full-back.
“Milan were no great shakes. I think we were a match for them, certainly, on paper we had a better chance against them than the 2005 team. Just tells you everything about football, that.
“And it gnaws away at a lot of us who travelled to Greece – that was a game we should have won. Another glorious Liverpool European chapter. Instead, there was no fairytale ending for me.
“I remember going on the pitch at the end, and trudging around for a bit, devastated at the result, devastated at not being part of it.
“You know, as a striker, I always think, with us trailing 2-1, I could have got the equaliser. That’s how I’d always see it.”
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
Liverpool conceded just before half-time against AC Milan in 2007, which meant the Reds were losing that particular match for the entire second-half.
With that being the case, I think it would have been handy to have Fowler on the bench. Fowler scored a total of 162 goals in the Premier League.
Fowler was 32 years of age when the 2007 Champions League final came around, which meant that he was at the backend of his career, but the aforementioned statistic does suggest that he could have changed the game.
He had the ability to score, which is what Liverpool needed at the time.