Tuesday, April 20

Andrea Dossena: ‘Not many players have scored at Anfield against Real Madrid’ | Liverpool

THere’s a laugh, then a long pause as Andrea Dossena contemplates her response. As a Liverpool player, in five glorious days, he took the roof off Anfield and silenced Old Trafford with the fourth goal in Real Madrid and Manchester United goals, but deciding which was more enjoyable is difficult.

“I think it’s better to score at home in front of your supporters,” Dossena finally says, recalling the events of March 2009. “Obviously, for opposition supporters to go home quietly is also fantastic, especially since it was against Man U and everyone knows the rivalry between the two teams, but when you score you want to scream and watch your fans jump. Not many players can say that they have scored at Anfield for Liverpool in the Champions League against Real Madrid ”.

An opportunity to do just that awaits Jürgen Klopp’s squad this month in the quarter-finals that open in Spain on Tuesday. A result as emphatic as the one Dossena enjoyed at the same juncture would be a surprise. Rafa Benítez’s team thrashed Madrid 5-0 on aggregate and followed with a 4-1 win over their title rival United. It seemed unthinkable then that Liverpool would end the season without a trophy when Steven Gerrard was in his prime and Fernando Torres was putting fear in the centrals. For Dossena, that week looked like it was going to be a turning point after a difficult half-season since his arrival from Udinese for 7 million pounds.

Dossena only lasted a season and a half at Anfield but left with many memories. “I never found another atmosphere like that after leaving Anfield,” he says. “I remember when I started to warm up against Real, it was strange as I had never felt an atmosphere like that, except maybe against Man U at home in September. You can feel it in the air: the fans push you forward with their support. “

Anfield were rocking out after Torres and a Gerrard double left Madrid reeling, with Dossena adding sparkle to a memorable night for the club. “When I watch the second leg against Real, I feel something behind my back. I can still see the Kop in front of me and say, ‘I can do it. It is very difficult for me to explain what you feel at that moment ”.

Andrea Dossena (left) is congratulated by his Liverpool teammates after sealing a 4-1 win at Manchester United.
Andrea Dossena (left) is congratulated by his Liverpool teammates after sealing a 4-1 win at Manchester United. Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian

Confidence was understandably high as Liverpool traveled to face United, who were seven points behind Benitez’s team at the top. Torres spent the afternoon making Nemanja Vidic look like a fan, as Liverpool rekindled their title challenge, boosted by Dossena, again as an auxiliary winger, sending a 91st-minute knockout blow to Edwin van der Sar.

“I was not surprised,” he says. “As a player I had that touch to make a lob because I scored another two times with a balloon in my career ”. However, it must be said that Dossena scored just 11 goals in a 16-year career, so it came as a shock to many that nearly a fifth of that total came in five days.

“We were a great team. Our mind was on winning the Premier League; the mentality of that team was to beat Man U to win the title, as it had been too many years since Liverpool won the league. We tried to fight to the end but Man U was very strong. Our team had great character and attitude ”.

Andrea Dossena tangles with Everton's Tony Hibbert during an FA Cup derby at Goodison Park in February 2009.
Andrea Dossena tangles with Everton’s Tony Hibbert during an FA Cup derby at Goodison Park in February 2009. Photograph: Peter Byrne / PA

That week was a highlight in a difficult season for the Italian, who played 16 league games, a total inflated by Fábio Aurélio’s injury problems. It ranks among his career favorites, alongside his Italian and Serie A debuts.

“It was very difficult,” he says of his time at Liverpool.. “I wasn’t that young, I was 25 years old, but I didn’t have that much experience … When I got there, I assimilated everything the teacher told me, but if I could talk to that Andrea, I’d like to say to her: ‘Hey, she’s still on. Your way. You need to work harder than the other players to be good with your physique and mentality, because God gave them great technique, great physiology and they don’t need to work the extra two or three hours. In my career, in my best seasons I worked a lot. This situation did not happen in Liverpool and, after a year, I decided to leave because I did not feel 100%.

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The shirts of the triumphs over Madrid and Manchester United adorn their home in Italy. Dossena will be aware of the next matches against the Spanish champions. “I turn off my phone so no one can bother me, I have my routine. I want to study because I love Klopp, I want to learn from him through my work. I want to learn when to move a player, how he likes to attack, how defense changes and I like to push so much. I try to take some secrets out of it, so I need to focus for 90 minutes. “

Dossena is pursuing promotion from Serie D as Crema’s coach, but he has bigger goals. Could he one day return to Liverpool as a manager? “Ooof! It’s a dream in my head and I have to try to make it come true ”.


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