Liverpool's 2001 'Mickey Mouse' Treble winners: Where are they now?
A defender turned salmon farmer, a crusading politician, and a keeper wrongly rumoured to be a PORN STAR… 20 years on from Liverpool winning their ‘Mickey Mouse treble’, here’s where their stars of that glorious year are now
- It’s been 20 years since Liverpool won a famous treble of trophies in one season
- The 2000-01 campaign saw the Reds win the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup
- Houllier’s men put Liverpool back on the map with their stunning season
- For the two-decade anniversary, Sportsmail digs to find where the stars are now
Today marks 20 years since Liverpool won a treble of trophies in one scintillating season.
Proud supporters of the club lauded ‘the Treble’ under former boss Gerard Houllier, as the Reds surged to victory in each of the FA Cup, League Cup and the UEFA Cup.
Rivals scoffed, as much in jealousy as in anger. It was not the Treble, many insisted. Such revered status is usually held for the holy trinity of the Premier League title, the FA Cup and the Champions League, as Manchester United famously achieved in 1999.
Despite slurs and insults hurled at their ‘Mickey Mouse treble’, Liverpool reveled in the moment and looked to be a side very much on the up.
In has been 20 years since Liverpool lifted a treble of silverware comprising the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup – though it has often being criticised as not being a ‘true treble’
Plenty has changed in the two decades which have followed. Indeed, Liverpool are very much back at the pinnacle of world football, albeit enduring a rather miserable campaign at present.
Players have come and gone, though the DNA of the club firmly remains. But what of those stars of yesteryear? The faces who triumphed against Arsenal and Birmingham in the domestic finals, before toppling Alaves in the European final (and eliminating Barcelona en route in the semis)?
Sportsmail decided to do a little bit of digging, to find out where they are now…
The Dutchman spent a rather chaotic couple of seasons on Merseyside, though it culminated with him starring in the treble win and earning icon status as a result.
Huge things were expected of Westerveld when he arrived in England in then a club-record fee for a goalkeeper, reported to be around the £4million mark.
Gerard Houllier was desperate to improve upon the erratic David James, and Westerveld fit the bill.
Quickly replacing the England international, penalty-save heroics in the League Cup final shootout with Birmingham drew Westerveld into the hearts of Liverpool fans, though in the December of 2001 – just months after lifting the three trophies – he would find himself shipped off to Real Sociedad.
Sander Westerveld made the crucial save to deny Andy Johnson in the 2001 League Cup final
From there, Westerveld cut a nomadic figure, switching from club to club without ever really settling. After four years at Sociedad the Dutchman finally got a return to English football with Portsmouth, but it just didn’t work out.
An emergency loan switch to Liverpool’s bitter rivals Everton would even follow, after the Toffees found themselves with a goalkeeping crisis. Westerveld would make two appearances for the club.
His final years in professional football would be spent in Italy and South Africa, where he made almost 100 collective appearances for Monza and Ajax Cape Town.
Now, at the age of 46, Westerveld remains very much a part of the Liverpool family. Regularly an invitee on Anfield match days, Westerveld can often be found in the executive boxes operating as a speaker for VIP parties and guests prior to home matches. He also works as a goalkeeping coach.
His sons have been brought up as Liverpool fans and his eldest, Sem, is currently a goalkeeper in the youth ranks of Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.
Westerveld seen with his sons at Anfield prior to Liverpool’s famous 4-0 victory over Barcelona
Pegguy Arphexad – Goalkeeper
The Guadeloupe-born stopper was brought in on a Bosman deal after leaving Leicester City at the beginning of the famous 2000-01 season, alongside a collection of other faces as Houllier looked to flesh out his squad and have all bases covered.
As second-in-command to Westerveld, Arphexad won each of his medals from the treble year as an unused substitute, but hardly made an impact during his time at Anfield, becoming a largely forgotten figure.
The season which followed saw Arphexad add to his medal haul when the Reds won both the Charity Shield and the European Super Cup.
Loan spells at Stockport County and Notts County would follow later in his career, sandwiched between a permanent exit from Liverpool to Coventry – where he failed to become first-choice keeper.
Pegguy Arphexad (centre) arrived with a host of stellar new signings under Gerard Houllier
It was some years after his retirement from football, however, that Arphexad made the news for a most bizarre reason.
Rumours had spread that Arphexad had entered the pornography industry as a male actor, and was alleged to have started to forge a career in front of the camera under an alias of ‘the stopper’.
The speculation gained so much traction that Arphexad was forced to come out and publicly set the record straight, during an interview with the Leicester Mercury.
The former goalkeeper said: ‘Look, this is a bad rumour. It’s been going round a long time.
‘One English guy wrote on the internet years and years ago that I was doing this and now people say to me: “Hey, are you making porn films?” I haven’t made any porn films, okay.
‘I don’t do that. I work for a sports insurance company. That’s what I do. Put it in your paper – I don’t do porn films, just insurance, okay?’
Markus Babbel – Defender
After joining the Reds from Bayern Munich, Babbel quickly set about becoming a remarkably consistent full-back in Houllier’s side, with Liverpool forging a solid defensive unit as a result.
Babbel quickly developed a reputation for his marauding runs down the wing, helping to give his side a new dimension.
His boldness was duly rewarded in the UEFA Cup final itself, as Babbel scored after just three minutes played against Spanish side Alaves, in a match that would stretch over to extra-time and finish as a nine-goal thriller in favour of the Reds.
German international Babbel was admired on Merseyside but was cruelly held back by illness; he is pictured coaching in Sydney last year (right)
Babbel collected his medals that season and the future looked bright, only for the German to later get struck down in the most cruel of circumstances. Not longer after the treble season the defender saw his Liverpool career stall after contracting Guillain–Barre syndrome.
The illness – a rapid-onset muscle weakness caused by the body’s immune system attacking nerves – saw Babbel spend months away from the football field as he worked to regain his overall health and then some element of football fitness.
After being supported by the club through the ordeal, Babbel later returned during a loan spell with Blackburn Rovers, before permanently leaving Liverpool for a final spell in Germany with Stuttgart before hanging up his boots.
After retiring Babbel went into the world of coaching, most recently managing Australian outfit Western Sydney Wanderers.
Sami Hyypia – Defender
Liverpool fans today are blessed with the colossus that is Virgil van Dijk at centre-back, but those fans of a certain vintage will remember vividly just how much of a tower of strength Hyypia was.
Composed, agile and possessing an ability to read the game better than most of his peers, Hyypia was a bedrock of this Liverpool side, crucial to their success.
Many people forget that Hyypia captained the Reds before opting to give up the armband for the emerging Steven Gerrard, and he remained vital for Liverpool well into the Rafa Benitez era, winning the Champions League in 2005 and still proving his worth to the club even in the twilight of his career, eventually leaving in 2009.
Jointly sharing the captaincy duties with Fowler, Sami Hyypia was Liverpool’s rock in defence
The big Finn went into management after retiring, getting a break with Bayer Leverkusen (with who he had finished his playing career) in Germany before being handed an opportunity in English football with Brighton and signing a three-year deal. After six months of poor results, however, Hyypia tendered his resignation on the south coast.
Another coaching stint with FC Zurich lasted almost 10 months, before he was sacked in May 2016. He has not had a coaching role since, and now works as a club ambassador for Liverpool.
An intensely private person, Hyypia hops back and forth between England and his native Finland, where he has set up a fund to help young promising athletes achieve their goals.
Jamie Carragher – Defender
Local hero Carragher hasn’t left the TV screens since hanging up his boots in 2013 and bringing to an end his football career as a one-club man.
Carragher was a young, emerging full-back during the treble season, before later maturity into an imposing central defender following Benitez’s arrival at the club.
The Bootle-born star was a key part of the transition to modern-day Liverpool, and helped keep the strong identity of the club when the evolution to the Benitez way of thinking began.
After leaving football many people expected Carragher to immediately enter the world of coaching in order to build up to becoming a manager.
A youthful Jamie Carragher seen holding the FA Cup with Houllier after the Cardiff heroics
In previous interviews both Houllier and Benitez had said that they had never worked with a player so obsessed with every facet of the game, though Carragher opted to take the punditry path and is now one of the most recognisable faces on the Sky Sports network.
Carragher has featured as a newspaper columnist, including for Sportsmail, while also expanding his broadcasting work to include stations across Scandinavia and the United States.
Carragher was awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Sefton for his local charity work and ‘the exceptional example he sets to the youth of today’ in 2008.
His reputation was stained, however, when he was filmed spitting at a teenage girl in the passenger seat of a passing car after the driver had goaded him following Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat by Manchester United in March 2018. Carragher apologised, calling it a ‘moment of madness’ and the ‘worst mistake’ of his career. He was taken off the air by Sky but controversially not sacked, and has since become reintegrated as one of their top pundits.
Stephane Henchoz – Defender
Swiss star Henchoz was the Robin to Hyypia’s Batman, a trusty double act.
Under Houllier, Henchoz became a staple of the Liverpool side, regularly turning in sublime performances and earning cult status as a result – however, he was not without controversy.
In the 2001 FA Cup final Henchoz left Liverpool fans with hearts in mouths after all but turning into a goalkeeper against Arsenal yet managing to get away with it.
Thierry Henry appeals against Stephane Henchoz during the controversial 2001 FA Cup final
Henchoz on the touchline as coach of FC Sion during a pre-season game in July 2019
Arsene Wenger’s side thought their early pressure was about to pay off in the 17th minute in Cardiff when Thierry Henry rounded Westerveld and shot towards goal, only for Henchoz to palm the ball wide of the near post.
The officials missed it, Arsenal were livid, and Liverpool breathed a sigh of relief. In the League Cup final of the same season it was Henchoz who would give away a penalty to send the match into extra-time and ultimately a shootout. Never a dull moment.
Henchoz called it a day with playing in 2008, before embarking on a managerial career. He worked with FC Sion for a spell, which ended when he resigned in November 2019, before moving to coach at Neuchatel Xamax.
Christian Ziege – Defender
Ziege had a glittering CV before moving to Merseyside, after starring for both Bayern Munich and AC Milan.
After a breaking into English football with Middlesbrough, where he won Player of the Season, Ziege moved to Anfield and provided drive and impetus from the back, along with a formidable shot.
After lifting the treble with Liverpool he moved to Tottenham, where he went on to feature – and score – in the League Cup final the very next season, against Blackburn Rovers.
Christian Ziege had the likes of Bayern Munich and AC Milan on his CV before Liverpool; he is pictured with his wife Pia in April 2019 (right)
After finishing up his career in Germany and being forced to retire due to a persistent ankle issue, Ziege went rapidly through his coaching badges before embarking on something of a varied managerial career.
The 49-year-old German has taken charge of Arminia Bielefeld and SpVgg Unterhaching in Germany, before taking a brief spell in Spain with Atletico Baleares and then moving to Thailand to hold the fort at Ratchaburi Mitr Phol.
Presently he is the first-team coach of FC Pinzgau Saalfelden in the Austrian third tier, and also spent time earlier in his managerial phase working with the Germany national side at U18 and U19 level.
Djimi Traore – Defender
Ask most Liverpool fans to name their all-time cult hero and Traore will be high up the list.
Known for his thrills and very frequent spills, Traore was signed in 1999 and spent a season with the Reds before being loaned back to France for game time. Traore was a Liverpool player at the time of the treble, but did not really come into recognition until Benitez later arrived at the club and installed him in the side for the famous 2005 Champions League charge to Istanbul.
Djimi Traore (bottom) made an impression at Anfield in the years after the treble
Traore during a visit to the Newcastle United Training Centre in December 2018
After leaving Liverpool, with a highlights reel of extraordinary moments including a roulette turn own-goal against Burnley, Traore had spells with the likes of Charlton and Portsmouth before heading back to France to Monaco and Marseille and ending his playing days in the States with Seattle Sounders.
Traore remains an avid Reds fan and can be found regularly commenting on all matters regarding his former team across social media.
He began coaching in America after finishing as a player, and now says he watches ‘all the details’ of Jurgen Klopp as he looks to install the German’s methods into his own approach in Seattle.
Gregory Vignal – Defender
Frenchman Vignal was reduced to a marginal role in the Treble season, making just seven appearances in all competitions.
Yet he was a regular part of the senior ranks and would later come into his own for the Reds as cover for Babbel following the German’s illness.
With medals already in his cabinet, Vignal finally started to make an impression for the Reds before a freak injury against Grimsby Town in the League Cup cruelly ruled him out for the remainder of the season following the treble.
Gergory Vignal (left) was a bit-part player for Liverpool but later coached at Rangers
Vignal at Fernando Ricksen’s funeral in 2019
He would return and make just four more appearances for the club before being loaned out to Bastia, Rennes, Espanyol and Rangers, after which he was finally released in 2005.
Portsmouth took him on and Vignal would make 14 League appearances for the south coast club (more than his entire career with Liverpool), but was still released at the end of the 05/06 season.
Spells at Southampton and Birmingham followed before the concluding of his playing days in France.
After retirement Vignal would join ex Liverpool team-mate Gerrard at Rangers as part of his coaching team, before moving on to manage the women’s team of the Glasgow club, a role he held until moving back to France in 2020 to join Marseille, where he is now a senior first-team coach.
Vegard Heggem – Defender
Another star very much on the periphery of the treble win, Heggem was plagued with injuries during his career on Merseyside.
The Norwegian right-back was ultimately forced into early retirement in 2003, having played only sparingly for Liverpool since he began struggling with his fitness three years earlier.
Injuries in the year before the treble season saw Vegard Heggem hardly contribute
All in, Heggem managed only four appearances for the club during the success-laden 2000/01 season.
Opting for a life of quiet normality after football, Heggem moved away from the sport in his retirement and became a consultant in wild salmon management in his native Norway, based back in the town of Rennebu where he grew up and started his football career with his local Sunday league club.
Dietmar Hamann – Midfielder
The German general quickly stamped his mark on the Liverpool midfield and became a priceless player for the Reds.
Fans loved him, as did manager Houllier. Hamann played 53 games during a packed season in which the Reds lifted three pieces of silverware, and became an integral part of a rapidly improving Liverpool team.
Hamann brought about a slow end to his playing career in the years after leaving Liverpool, eventually joining MK Dons as a player-coach in summer 2010 and staying for eight months before taking a coaching role at Leicester.
German powerhouse Didi Hamann seen in action against Barcelona en route to the UEFA Cup
His only experiment in the managerial world was a chaotic and short-lived one, taking the reins at Stockport County for just four months as the club languished in the Conference and was ran into the ground behinds the scenes.
Hamann, a former Bayern Munich and Germany stalwart, ultimately resumed playing the game at amateur levels, representing German club TuS Haltern before stepping away an offering his services in a punditry capacity.
The former midfielder is now noted for rather strong views on German TV, and caught a lot of attention earlier in the season when he slammed Liverpool’s star summer signing Thiago Alcantara and controversially accused the Champions League winner of making Klopp’s team worse.
Steven Gerrard – Midfielder
Captain, leader, legend. The story of Gerrard does not need retelling in any great detail, but this was the season where the shaven-headed youngster really started to catch the eye.
Gerrard was all power, passion and tenacity. With his completely fearless performances he soon forced his way into Houllier’s side and was crucial in spurring Liverpool on to the treble of honours.
A fresh-faced, short-haired Steven Gerrard made a huge impression during the season
Gerrard went on to lift the FA Cup and League Cup again with the Reds, along with that famous European night in Istanbul.
After saying an emotional farewell in 2015 he spent 18 months with LA Galaxy, before coaching Liverpool’s youth sides and then taking over as Rangers manager in 2018.
Guiding the Scottish giants to the title this season, Gerrard is on course to complete an ‘Invincibles’ campaign without losing a single domestic match, and is widely tipped to return to Anfield as manager in the future.
Gary McAllister – Midfielder
Despite being 35 at the time, ‘Gary Mac’ proved to be an inspired signing for Liverpool in the summer of 2000, and goes down as one of the finest examples of a free agent acquisition in English football.
The Scottish playmaker brought experience and guile to Liverpool and became an Anfield cult hero as a result of his contributions during the treble season – including famous late winners against both Barcelona and Everton.
Seen as one of the best ever free-agents, Gary McAllister scored crucial goals in the treble win
McAllister left in 2002 to become player-manager at former club Coventry and later took over at Leeds in 2008.
Remaining in the coaching world he has held assistant roles at Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and briefly back at Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers, before joining Rangers as Gerrard’s right-hand man in 2018.
Danny Murphy – Midfielder
During the treble season Murphy developed a knack for being an important player for Liverpool, despite not always being a regular Premier League starter.
The versatile midfielder racked up 47 appearances in all competitions in 2000/01 and scored an impressive 10 goals from midfield, with a series of notable match-winning contributions from the bench.
Coming in and out of the team, Danny Murphy played a pivotal role in Houllier’s side
Murphy left Liverpool soon after Benitez took over in 2004 and played for Charlton, Tottenham and Fulham, with his most successful spell at the latter, during which he reached a European final.
Murphy retired in 2013 and has established himself as one of the leading pundits on the BBC’s football coverage, as well as working with talkSPORT and becoming a regular Sportsmail columnist.
Nick Barmby – Midfielder
In what now seems like an unspeakable act, Barmby crossed the Merseyside divide for £6m in 2000 when he joined Liverpool from Everton.
The hard-working midfielder came in and out of the side and offered the Reds a measure of experience and balance, but would soon be troubled by injuries.
After playing a role in the winning of the treble, Barmby departed and joined Leeds for less than half of his initial transfer fee in 2002 as Liverpool cut their losses.
The veteran star later wound down his career in style by joining home-town club Hull in 2004 in League One, and was part of the Tigers side that reached the Premier League.
Nick Barmby (left) became an important part of the Liverpool set-up during his short tenure
Barmby would later go on to manage Hull, and joined Scunthorpe as a coach in 2019 but left the role after just a few a few months. He has not returned to the dug-out since.
In what can be looked back on as an under-rated career, Barmby was capped 23 times for the England national team.
His son Jack followed in his footstep in becoming a professional footballer, playing for Liverpool’s rivals Manchester United before moving to Leicester in 2014 and then heading to the USA.
Vladimir Smicer – Midfielder
Another under-the-radar type of signing who had some truly golden days in a red shirt.
Only injuries prevented Czech international Smicer from becoming one of Liverpool’s certified best signings of the 1990s, having been bought from Slavia Prague for around £4m in 1999.
Comfortable in possession and creative out of it, Smicer was strong with both feet and regularly offered something different.
He played 49 times during 2000/01, often as a substitute in the Premier League, and is most fondly remembered for his spellbinding impact and goal on that legendary night in Istanbul in 2005.
Injuries troubled Vladimir Smicer but he still collected several honours with Liverpool
Smicer (centre left) with fellow Reds’ legends at Carragher’s pub in New York in 2019
Smicer managed only 16 appearances in his final season in 2004/05, which ended with the Champions League final being his last showing, after which he moved to Bordeaux and retired back with Slavia in 2010.
Due to his standing in football back in his homeland, Smicer was offered the role of Czech Republic head coach just a day after hanging up his boots, working alongside Michal Bilek.
Smicer later adjusted to a role within the Czech FA, before later standing for minor Czech political party VIZE 2014 in the European Parliament election – stating his priority was to reduce obesity among children.
He now owns and runs a hotel in Prague.
Igor Biscan – Midfielder
At first few people took to Biscan. The Croatian looked unorthodox and way below the pace of English football.
Biscan was on the fringes of the treble side and spent five years as a Liverpool squad player following his arrival from Dinamo Zagreb in 2000, costing over £5m after being courted by the likes of Juventus, Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax.
It was only after the departure of Houllier that Biscan would come into his own. Benitez opted to use the robust star due to limited funds available to completely overhaul the squad.
Few fans took to Igor Biscan but in the years after the treble season he earned cult status
Biscan celebrates a goal for Croatia’s Under-21s at the European Championship this year
Biscan became an unsung hero of Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final in 2005, and was the recipient of one of the most creative banners ever seen on the Kop.
Riffing on the iconic Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious song from the Mary Poppins film, creative Scousers devised a banner which read: ‘SuperCroatIgorBiscanUsedToBeAtrocious,’ which was taken to the Ataturk for the European final.
Biscan later joined Panathinaikos when his contract expired.
A short swansong was performed at Dinamo Zagreb before retirement in 2012. Biscan has since managed clubs in Croatia and Slovenia and is now in charge of Croatia’s Under-21 team, where he continues to hone his coaching pedigree.
Biscan was the recipient of one of the most creative banners ever seen on the Kop
Patrik Berger – Midfielder
After his best season at the club in 1999/00, during which he had started to become a crucial member of the squad, Berger was limited by injury problems in his final three years at Liverpool.
He had recovered sufficiently to appear from the bench in the both the FA Cup final and UEFA Cup final in 2001, earning his place in the Liverpool Hall of Fame. It was Berger who would provide a sublime long pass, arced down the wing for Michael Owen to latch on to and break Arsenal hearts in the FA Cup final.
Patrik Berger returned from injury to appear from the bench in the FA Cup and UEFA Cup finals
Berger (centre) being interviewed ahead of a Liverpool pre-season game in 2019
Berger left Anfield for Portsmouth before a stint at Aston Villa but managed to make only 32 appearances in three years.
The long-haired heart-throb hung up his boots in his homeland with Slavia Prague in 2010 aged 36 after another injury setback.
Berger has performed plenty of media work since, for various broadcasters, and also remains involved with Liverpool in an ambassadorial capacity, regularly attending Anfield matchdays and starring in Legends charity fixtures.
Bernard Diomede – Midfielder
Diomede had been a World Cup winner with France in 1998 and was one of his homeland’s top attacking players during his time at Auxerre in the late 90s, meaning excitement was at fever pitch when the Reds took him on.
But his Liverpool career simply never took off when Houllier sanctioned a £3m move in 2000, and though Diomede collected his medals as part of the squad, he remains one of those names who drift away into the back of the mind.
Bernard Diomede had been a World Cup winner with France but never settled at Liverpool
Diomede was pictured watching the Paris Masters tennis tournament back in 2019
The attacking star played just four times in all competitions in his debut season and left in unremarkable fashion in 2004 after an unfulfilled spell.
He finished his career in France’s lower leagues and went on to become heavily involved in youth coaching, setting up his own academy and managing various France junior age groups since 2015.
Robbie Fowler – Forward
Revered as ‘God’ on Merseyside, Fowler enhanced his burgeoning reputation with a stunning volley against Birmingham in the League Cup final to secure the first of the trophies in the treble season.
The season sparked something of a rebirth for the local boy, who had started to struggle with repeated injuries.
In the absence of captain Jamie Redknapp, who had been ruled out for the season during the treble year, Fowler shared armband responsibilities jointly with Hyypia and lifted each of the trophies with the big Finn.
Robbie Fowler celebrating his stunning volley against Birmingham in the League Cup final
After spells with Leeds United and Manchester City, Fowler returned to Liverpool in 2006 as a free agent for a brief, emotional last dance under Benitez, before winding down his career in Australia and Thailand.
After taking his badges, Fowler then coached in Liverpool’s academy, before transitioning into full-time management with Brisbane Roar in 2019, and then switching to the managerial hot seat of East Bengal in India, where he remains today.
Emile Heskey – Forward
Heskey really found his niche at Liverpool and developed into one of the most feared strikers in English football.
He played a starring role in the run to the treble, forming a telepathic understanding with Michael Owen in the front line.
Such was Heskey’s impact on the UEFA Cup stage, his performances against Fabio Capello’s Roma in the latter stages of the competition would prompt the Italian to recall Heskey to the England international fold years later, when he took over as Three Lions boss.
The treble season was a period of growth for Emile Heskey (left), who became an elite striker
After retiring Heskey has dipped his toes into punditry work, while also taking his coaching badges.
In May 2020 the former striker revealed that he was on a UEFA Management course and was looking to take up an internship with Leicester City’s women’s side as part of his studies.
Michael Owen – Forward
The man who had it all and yet broke so many hearts.
Many Liverpool fans have still never forgiven Owen for his exit from the club.
In truth, large portions of the fan base ultimately did forgive his ditching of Merseyside for the dazzling lights of Real Madrid and the Santiago Bernabeu, but it was his joining of rivals Manchester United years later which burned many bridges.
Before hamstring injuries robbed him of his lightning pace, Owen was a genuine phenomenon during his early years with Liverpool and England. He was the inspiration for the 2001 FA Cup victory over Arsenal with a sublime late double, including a remarkable winning goal in the Welsh capital.
His feats this season even saw him crowned as the Ballon d’Or winner.
After breaking Arsenal hearts in the FA Cup final, Owen did the same to Liverpool when leaving
He departed Liverpool just before the club went on to win the Champions League in Istanbul, though returned in the years following his retirement as a club ambassador; working closely with the Reds on the marketing and promotion aspect of pre-season tours, along with charity matches at Anfield.
Owen has moved heavily into punditry since retirement, becoming a prominent face for BT Sport.
He also has a strong property portfolio and business investments across the north of England, and is the owner of Manor House Stables where he operates a team which breeds, trains and purchases elite race horses.
Jari Litmanen – Midfielder/Forward
A free transfer arriving in January who was due to turn 30 a matter of weeks later is not usually the sort of signing to stir the senses, but the reputation with which Finland star Litmanen arrived set tongues wagging.
The playmaker had dazzled during spells with Ajax and Spanish giants Barcelona previously, and was regarded as one of the most graceful players to watch on the football field.
Despite being in the twilight of his career, Jari Litmanen brought class to Anfield
Litmanen pictured at the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax v Feyenoord in 2018
Litmanen made an instant impression at Anfield with his flair, remarkable vision and a first touch vastly above that of his peers, but was unfortunate to miss each of the three cup finals they won in 2001 through injury.
After retiring, Litmanen was able to capitalise on his status as Finland’s greatest ever star by becoming a regular presence on TV screens in his homeland as a football pundit, while also contributing to print media.
Richie Partridge – Forward
Partridge was just a hot prospect back then, and strongly regarded as the Liverpool striker of the future.
Held up as the potential next Owen, pressure was placed on the pacey forward but the promise never materialised.
Injuries held back the potential-laden former Stella Maris schoolboy, who made his last appearance for the club in 2004.
Richie Partridge was hailed as the next big thing but injuries soon curtailed his football career
Partridge’s Liverpool career wouldn’t end there, however. Some years after retiring from the game due to reoccurring knee injuries, he invested in his growing interest in the athlete’s physique.
Partridge studied Physiotherapy at Salford University where he graduated with a first-class honours degree in 2009.
He then returned to Liverpool and became a physio in the medical department, spending two years with the academy and then five years with U21’s before being promoted to the first-team set-up in 2016.
After obtaining a university degree Partridge returned to Liverpool in the physio department
P.S. GERARD HOULLIER – THE MANAGER
Liverpool went into mourning in December last year when the architect of one of their greatest seasons, Houllier, sadly died at the age of 73.
Houllier had a history of heart problems and suffered a heart attack while in charge of Liverpool, falling ill at half-time of the match at Leeds United in October 2001, just months after winning the treble.
Houllier’s life was saved by emergency surgery and he would return to manage Liverpool after five months recovering. He won the League Cup in 2003 but never mounted a successful title bid, and left the club in 2004.
The Frenchman’s final two jobs in management were at Lyon and Aston Villa, stepping down from that post after again becoming ill.
He later became head of global football for Red Bull, establishing successful academies at Red Bull Salzburg, RB Leipzig, New York Red Bulls and more, before his death last year in hospital following more heart surgery.
Houllier will be remembered as a legend of the game. Not only did he give Liverpool fans this season of joy, his work at the Clairefontaine academy has long been credited as the inspiration behind France’s 1998 World Cup triumph.
Even more importantly, he was loved by his players. Steven Gerrard perhaps summed it up best with his touching tribute: ‘He was a special man, a caring man, a loving man. He was more than just a manager.
‘I always try and take all the best bits from all the coaches and managers I worked. It’s impossible for me to add the charisma, the care and the love that Gerard carried.
‘I think every player that has worked with him will certainly echo that. He was just a special human being.’
Legendary former boss Gerard Houllier, who sadly died last year, put the Reds back on the map
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