Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Three Great Liverpool Memories From Patrik Berger

Patrik Berger joined his boyhood club right after a fantastic performance with the Czech Republic in Euro '96. He is remembered as an attacking midfield player with a fabulous left foot and a great engine. Long range shots and runs into the opposition box were his specialities. Before Steven Gerrard, Paddy Berger was doing all the lung bursting midfield runs that Stevie G became famous for. Incidentally Gerrard's formative years were during the tail end of Berger's Liverpool career, quite clearly the now Liverpool captain and stalwart picked up some great tips on long range accurate shooting.

Berger also married a gorgeous hairdresser named Jaroslava, spot the similarity now?

Patrik Berger had scored some memorable goals and been involved in great games over his career in Liverpool but three matches stick permanently in my mind. These are:

Two goals against Chelsea (5-1) 1996/97 season
This was Berger's first Premiership start for Liverpool and he grabbed the chance brilliantly! Two goals against a very classy Chelsea team of that era was fantastic and truly defined what Liverpool fans would come to expect of the alice-band wearing Czech.

Hattrick against Chelsea (4-2) in 1997/98 season
Patrik Berger certainly love playing against Chelsea. After scoring two goals in 1996, he went one better and bagged a hattrick in the 1997 season. It was his first hattrick in the English Premier League. His display in that game made the difference as he also provided the assist for Liverpool's fourth goal scored by Fowler.

Assist to Micheal Owen in the 2001 FA Cup Final
In Liverpool's historic treble winning season, Patrik Berger came on as a substitute for Danny Murphy and proceeded to supply a breathtaking ball onto the path of Micheal Owen who sprinted past the aging Arsenal defence to score the winner for Liverpool. A great piece of quick thinking and fantastic vision with the left foot from Berger!

I found this great Youtube video tribute to Patrik Berger showing his service in Liverpool colours.

The Kop had a song for Berger, it's sung to the tune of Lola,
He's got long hair and he's strong as an ox
And he scores great goals from the edge of the box
His name is Berger
Whoa whoa Patrik Berger!

Patrik Berger is ranked no. 79 in the list of "100 Players Who Shook The Kop". Great player, fabulous career with Liverpool. He may have retired now from competitive football but his memories will still live on in the minds of Liverpool fans worldwide.

"You know, the greatest day in my football life was the day I signed for Liverpool. I couldn’t believe it. When I was young in Czechoslovakia, we didn’t see much European football, but my father’s friend went to England and he watched Liverpool. When he came back, he gave me the programme, the ticket and a scarf. I still have them all.
When I moved to Southport to live, my neighbour was Kenny Dalglish. Alan Hansen lived around the corner. I met them, they were normal guys, but they were my heroes. To me, it’s the best club in the world and when I am finished playing and I’m telling my children about it I will be proud to say that for seven years I was a Liverpool player."
The Sunday Times, 8 February 2004.

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