Sunday, June 3, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 24: Luis Garcia


At number 24 in our ’100 Players Who Shook The Kop’ countdown is diminutive Spanish scorer of so many recent crucial goals, Luis Garcia.
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: Luis Garcia

Years at Liverpool: 2004 to present
Position: Attacking midfielder

Date-of-birth: 24/6/1978
Birthplace: Badalona (Spain)

Signed from: Barcelona (August 2004)

Games: 98
Goals: 24

Honours: European Cup (2005), Super Cup (2005), Charity Shield (2006) FA Cup (2006)

His professionalism may only allow him the odd glass of sangria, but Luis Garcia did come from Barca and has most definitely brought us plenty of joy in his so far short but successful career at Liverpool. He has without doubt proved himself as the little man for the big occasion and, in turn, won the hearts of almost every Liverpudlian. His few critics will argue that he's lightweight, drifts in and out of games and doesn't contribute enough on a consistent basis but try balancing that against the fact that in just two years at the club he's netted some of the most memorable and important goals in Liverpool history and there's no argument. The diminutive Spaniard has played such a key role in the Reds' most notable recent triumphs that he'd forever be lauded on the Kop even if he never kicked a ball on Merseyside again. Rafael Benitez knew what he was getting when he swooped to sign him from Barcelona at the start of his first full season at the Anfield helm. Having worked with him at Tenerife, Benitez was confident he'd added a creative spark to the team and that has certainly been the case. The number ten shirt at Liverpool has long been associated with exciting, skilful players and Garcia has fulfilled this reputation. A tricky attacker who can beat defenders and set up goals as well as score them, Garcia is a capable of filling a variety of forward positions – left side, right side or through the middle in the 'hole' just behind the strikers. Despite his small frame he's more than adept in the air but it's with the ball at his feet that he's at his best. His goalscoring instincts were evident on his first game for the club, when in a 1-0 defeat at Bolton he had what looked a perfectly good goal disallowed. But he has since more than made up for that disappointment. During Liverpool's glorious march to Champions League success in 2004/05 Garcia registered an impressive five goals, including two that Kopites will never tire of replaying over and over again, albeit for different reasons – a spectacular dipping 30-yarder that set up victory over Juventus in the quarter-final and the less spectacular but more crucial scrappy effort that ultimately defeated Chelsea in the semi-final. Throw in a decisive strike in the Merseyside derby and it's easy to see why Garcia became such a firm favourite of the fans. After such a successful first season at the club, his second was always going to be difficult but while, on the whole, he was probably slightly less effective, his remarkable knack of netting in big games continued and the now famous Luis Garcia' song, to the tune of 'You Are My Sunshine' regularly rang around Anfield. Another derby goal raised the roof of the Kop once again, while Chelsea were made to suffer at the hands of little Luis for a second time in a major semi-final, this time in the FA Cup at Old Trafford. Although suspension ruled him out of contention for a place in the FA Cup Final victory over West Ham, you get the impression that with Garcia in the team anything is possible and if he carries on scoring goals of the calibre he has been then there'll surely be many more big games to come. He may only be five foot seven but thanks to Luis Garcia Liverpool fans have been to football heaven and back on more than one occasion in the last two years. And for that he's fully deserving of his high placing in this countdown.

Claim to fame: Scoring the winner v Chelsea in the 2005 Champions League semi-final

No comments: