Can you name Liverpool’s XI from Xabi Alonso’s debut v Bolton, 2004?
You remember Xabi Alonso’s spell at Liverpool. Of course you do, it was glorious. Question is, how well do you remember his much less glorious Reds debut in a 1-0 loss to Bolton?
Alonso arrived as a 22-year-old midfielder who was relatively unknown to English football fans. But Liverpool’s new manager Rafael Benitez had long admired his technical ability.
“Xabi is very clever,” Benitez said upon his compatriot’s arrival on Merseyside. “He is good with long and short passes. He has more skill than strength.
“He is intelligent and will play well. He will give us more possibilities in the midfield.”
All of that turned out to be a quite significant understatement. The possibilities Alonso offered were almost limitless, his passing range sublime and his goals just as good.
He won the Champions League with Liverpool in his first season, scoring in the final. He won the FA Cup the following campaign. And though he could never quite win that elusive league title at Anfield, fans were livid when he left in 2009.
He had made himself a hero at Anfield. As Steven Gerrard put it, “It was clear Alonso was royalty after our first training session together in August 2004.
“He was, by some distance, the best central midfielder I ever played alongside.”
The Spaniard’s Liverpool career got off an inauspicious start, though. The Reds travelled to Bolton for the fourth game of the 2004-05 season and Alonso started in midfield.
It was a taste of the rough and tumble of the mid-00s Barclays-era Premier League and Liverpool were beaten with a Kevin Davies goal.
Things got better later in the campaign, but here we’re asking you to name Liverpool’s XI from that chastening encounter at the Reebok Stadium.
The time to beat from the office is 01:05 and if this puts you in the mood for another quiz, then have a crack at naming the Spanish players with the most Premier League apperances.
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