Gerard Houllier continues to accumulate rare polished silverware with the flint-eyed zeal of an East End pawnbroker. Another here last night brings the total to five this year, following the Worthington Cup, FA Cup, Uefa Cup and Charity Shield.
This stadium provides probably the most sumptuous backdrop of any European occasion, with the Royal Palace peering imperiously over one stand. Yet, you learn to regard any occasion with has to attach the label "Super" to its title with suspicion.
Previous years have often confirmed that despite its grand billing as Champions' League victors against Uefa Cup winners this cup contains the left-over dregs of last season's most accomplished performances. They have tended to be permeated by a festival atmosphere and contested by teams who regard the whole night as something of an irrelevance.
But here the wealth of football – mostly from Liverpool – reflected the setting. Two splendid first half goals, one a glorious piece of interplay, culminating in John Arne Riise's first Liverpool goal on the ground where he used to play, the other a remarkable individual effort from Emile Heskey brought a glow to the cheeks of what had looked in the early minutes as all set to become yet another insipid occasion. Michael Owen added a third less than 20 seconds after the interval.
As an hors d'oevre eight days before next Saturday's rather more piquant dish at Munich between England and Germany the event told us little, although it did confirm the well-being of five possible England starters among the 18 men on the Liverpool team-sheet. In particularly, the watching England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson will have been gratified that Steven Gerrard, of whom so much is anticipated in the World Cup qualifier, lasted 65 minutes, and did so with his customary authority, while Owen and Emile Heskey frequently confounded the opposition with their pace and awareness. Robbie Fowler was absent from the starting line-up, but replaced Owen for the last seven minutes.
Eriksson will have been intrigued to discover that Bayern's Owen Hargreaves, who is set to be retained in the England squad announced tomorrow, and Liverpool's Jamie Carragher were restored by their club managers to their optimum positions, in right central midfield and full-back respectively.
Although Salihamidzic and thesubstitute Carsten Jancker reduced the areas, Liverpool never looked likely to be denied another pot.
Bayern Munich: Kahn, Sagnol, Lizarazu, Thiam, Elber, Sforza (Niko Kovac, 66), Robert Kovac, Pizarro (Jancker, 66), Salihamidzic (Santa Cruz, 70), Hargreaves, Linke.
Liverpool: Westerveld, Babbel, Hyypia, Henchoz, Carragher, Gerrard (Biscan, 66), McAllister, Hamann, Riise (Murphy, 69), Owen (Fowler, 82), Heskey.
Referee: M Pereira (Portugal).Reuse content