Dirk Kuyt Craig Bellamy Ryan Babel Fabio Aurelio
Alberto Aquilani Charlie Adam Maxi Rodriguez
Nathan Eccleston David Amoo Stephen Darby
Fernando Torres Raul Meireles David Ngog
Paul Konchesky Christian Poulsen Emiliano Insua Philipp Degen
Thomas Ince Milan Jovanovic Sotirios Kyrgiakos
Javier Mascherano Yossi Benayoun Andriy Voronin Andrea Dossena
Charles Itandje Damien Plessis Lauri Dalla Valle
Nicolas Anelka Gary McAllister Christian Ziege Nick Barmby
Stephen Wright Jari Litmanen Pegguy Arphexad Bernard Diomede
Vegard Heggem Markus Babbel Emile Heskey Abel Xavier
Vladimir Smicer Mauricio Pellegrino El-Hadji Diouf Alou Diarra
Igor Biscan Gregory Vignal Richie Partridge Paul Harrison
Jon Otsemobor Mark Smyth Antonio Nunez Milan Baros
John Welsh Josemi Fernando Morientes Zak Whitbread
Bruno Cheyrou Neil Mellor Robbie Fowler Jerzy Dudek
Daniele Padelli Craig Bellamy Mark Gonzalez
Chris Kirkland Paul Jones Gabriel Paletta Darren Potter
David Raven Djibril Cisse Bolo Zenden Stephen Warnock
Jan Kromkamp Momo Sissoko John Arne Riise Harry Kewell
Anthony Le Tallec Peter Crouch Danny Guthrie Robbie Keane
Steve Finnan      

Monday, January 14, 2008

PAST PLAYER PROFILE - Luis Javier Garcia Sanz

Luis Javier Garcia Sanz
Date of Birth: 24/6/1978
Birthplace: Badalona, Spain
Debut : 29th August 2004 v Botlon Wanderers (a) Premiership: lost 0-1
1st team games: 121
1st team goals: 30
Other clubs: Real Vallodilid, CD Toledo (loan), CD Tenerife (loan), Atletico Madrid, Barcelona
International caps while with Liverpool: 18
International goals while with Liverpool: 4
Honours with Liverpool: Champions League(2005), Super Cup (2005), Community Shield (2006)


He didn't drink sangria, but Luis Garcia came from Barca and most definitely brought us plenty of joy in his short but successful career at Liverpool.

Without doubt he proved himself as the little man for the big occasion and, in turn, won the hearts of almost every Liverpudlian.

His critics argued he was lightweight, drifts in and out of games and didn't contribute enough on a consistent basis but try balancing that against the fact that in just three years at the club the diminutive Spaniard netted some of the most memorable and important goals in Liverpool history and there's no argument.

Rafael Benitez knew what he was getting when he swooped to sign him from Barcelona at the start of his first full season at the Anfield helm. Having worked with him at Tenerife, Benitez was confident he'd added a creative spark to the team and that was certainly the case.

The number ten shirt at Liverpool has long been associated with exciting, skilful players and Garcia fulfilled this reputation. A tricky attacker who could beat defenders and set up goals as well as score them, Garcia was capable of filling a variety of forward positions – left side, right side or through the middle in the 'hole' just behind the strikers.

Despite his small frame he was more than adept in the air but it was with the ball at his feet that he was at his mesmerising best. His goalscoring instincts were evident on his first game for the club, when in a 1-0 defeat at Bolton he had what looked a perfectly good goal disallowed but he soon made up for that disappointment.

During Liverpool's glorious march to Champions League glory in 2004/05 Garcia registered an impressive five goals, including two that Kopites will never tire of replaying over and over again, albeit for different reasons – a spectacular dipping 30-yarder that set up victory over Juventus in the quarter-final and the less spectacular but more crucial scrappy effort that ultimately defeated Chelsea in the semi-final.

Throw in a decisive strike in the Merseyside derby and it's easy to see why Garcia became such a firm favourite of the fans. After such a successful first season at the club, his second was always going to be difficult but while, on the whole, he was probably slightly less effective, his remarkable knack of netting in big games continued and the now famous 'Luis Garcia' song, to the tune of 'You Are My Sunshine' regularly rang around Anfield.

Another derby goal raised the roof of the Kop once again, while Chelsea were made to suffer at the hands of little Luis for a second time in a major semi-final, this time in the FA Cup at Old Trafford.

Although suspension ruled him out of contention for a place in the FA Cup Final victory over West Ham, you got the impression that with Garcia in the team anything was possible. His trademark thumb-sucking goal celebration was mimicked by kids all over Merseyside and he was well on his way to achieving cult-status among those who sat on the Kop.

Unfortunately, he then suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in a Carling Cup-tie at home to Arsenal and the sight of him being stretchered off the Anfield pitch was to be the last we'd see of him in a red shirt. During the summer of 2007 he surprisingly returned to Spain to rejoin Atletico Madrid.

He may only be five foot seven but thanks to Luis Garcia Liverpool fans were taken to football heaven and back more than once. And for that, he'll forever be fondly remembered at Anfield.

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