Wednesday, February 7, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 79: Patrick Berger

Blasting his way into our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is the attacking Czech Republic midfielder Patrik Berger.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Patrik Berger

Years at Liverpool: 1996 to 2003

Date-of-birth: 10/11/1973
Birthplace: Prague

Position: Attacking midfielder
Signed from: Borussia Dortmund

Games: 196
Goals: 35

Honours: FA Cup (2001), UEFA Cup (2001), Charity Shield (2001)

Signed by Roy Evans in a £3.2 million deal just months after impressing for the Czech Republic in Euro 96, Patrik Berger made an explosive start to his Liverpool career. A Bundesliga winner with Borussia Dortmund, he came off the bench to net twice in only his second game – a 3-0 win away to Leicester – then repeated the feat on his first home start as Chelsea suffered a 5-1 drubbing. Not surprisingly, the fans took to Berger straight away following these early goalscoring heroics, while his flowing dark locks drew an army of female admirers. Possessing pace, skill and a thunderous shot he was a lethal weapon in the Liverpool armory but injuries were to frustratingly plague him for much of his time at Anfield. Despite being one of the club's most exciting attacking talents he fell out of favour with the manager towards the end of the 1997/98 season and at one point looked to be on the verge of leaving. Fortunately, for Berger, Evans was soon replaced by Gerard Houllier and the new boss showed faith in him, for which he was rewarded with an impressive run of form from the left-sided Czech international. Unfortunately, he was then hit by injury again, although he recovered in time to play a bit-part in both the FA and UEFA Cup Finals in May 2001. But with new blood being drafted in by Houllier time was running out for Berger to stake his claim for a regular starting place and after suffering more ill-fortune with regards his fitness it came as a shock to no-one when he was allowed to leave on a free transfer during the summer of 2003. He left having not fulfilled the vast potential he arrived with but will always be warmly remembered by his many fans at Anfield.

Sold to: Portsmouth (July 2003)

Claim to fame: Hitting the defence-splitting pass that set Michael Owen up for the winning goal in the 2001 FA Cup Final

Did you know? He scored a penalty in Czech Republic's 2-1 defeat to Germany in the final of Euro 96

Where is he now? Aston Villa

Chris Bascombe on Patrik Berger: "He was a very elegant midfield player, with lots of skill. I remember speaking to Jamie Redknapp when Patrik was first getting into the team and he said he was one of the best midfielders he's ever played against and a real class player. I think injuries took their toll in the end but again you know Patrik left a lot of fantastic goals for us all to remember him by, and also that pass for Michael Owen in the FA Cup Final which helped Liverpool win that cup."

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