Steve Finnan: I'm the reason Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005
Former Republic of Ireland defender Steve Finnan claims the main reason Liverpool triumphed in Istanbul a decade ago was because of his absence on the pitch.
The Reds famously battled back from a 3-0 deficit at half-time to defeat Carlo Ancelotti's AC Milan on a penalty shoot-out, with Jerzy Dudek's heroics helping the Merseysiders to a famous victory.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the right-back says he deserves the main plaudits for the Champions League success after injury forced his removal from the game at the interval, with Didi Hamann brought on in his place.
“I always say I changed the game that night,” Finnan told the ECHO.
“If I hadn’t have got injured, we wouldn’t have won the European Cup. That injury I got was the best thing that ever happened to Liverpool.”
A hamstring injury forced Rafa Benitez's hand, who had planned on substituting Djimi Traore. Finnan admitted that he didn't want to leave the game, but knew he had little choice.
“I didn’t want to come off but I knew I had a problem,” Finnan said.
“At the time I wasn’t happy but it was the right decision. With me coming off, Rafa changed the system. Didi was so important to the comeback that followed.”
While receiving treatment, his team-mates recorded the greatest comeback ever witnessed in a Champions League Final, not that he saw any of the goals himself.
“I was having treatment so I missed all three of our goals,” he recalled.
“But I knew what was happening. I could tell from the roars. I knew it was us scoring because the noise was so great.
“It was surreal. By the time I got back out to watch it was 3-3."
Mystery surrounded Finnan's whereabouts last week, with the bizarre hashtags #FindSteveFinnan trending after the Liverpool Echo reported that former Red could not be contacted to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Liverpool's Champions league win in Istanbul.
Finnan now runs a property business in London.