Monday, May 14, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 36: Jerzy Dudek


At number 36 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is the hero of Istanbul 2005, goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek.
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: Jerzy Dudek

Years at Liverpool: 2001 to present
Position: Goalkeeper

Date-of-birth: 23/3/1973
Birthplace: Rybnik (Poland)

Signed from: Feyenoord (August 2001)

Games: 180
Clean Sheets: 74

Honours: European Cup (2005), League Cup (2003)

Whatever the future may hold for Jerzy Dudek it's doubtful his career will ever scale the heights of that glorious night in Istanbul on 25 May 2005. It was Dudek's goalkeeping heroics that helped secure a never-to-be-forgotten fifth European Cup triumph at the Ataturk Stadium and ensured his name will forever be etched in Liverpudlian folklore. The son of a Polish miner, Dudek was signed from Feyenoord by Gerard Houllier on a dramatic deadline day swoop in August 2001. Fellow keeper Chris Kirkland joined on the same day but it was the big Pole who was immediately handed the chance to stake his claim for the number one shirt. Renowned for his bravery and strong reflexes, his early form was impressive but a high-profile howler that contributed to a home defeat against Manchester United blotted his copy-book. He was eventually forgiven by the Liverpool fans for that misdemeanour against their bitter rivals but when he made a similar error in the same fixture three years later it seemed as though his reputation would be permanently stained. It was going to take something special for Dudek to redeem himself in the eyes of the fans. A man-of-the-match performance in the Worthington Cup Final triumph over United later that season went some way towards that but it was not until the 2004/05 season reached the most dramatic of climaxes that his past sins were finally forgotten. His stunning double reflex save from Andriy Shevchenko when the score was tied at 3-3 has deservedly gone down as one of the greatest saves ever, while his antics in the subsequent penalty shoot-out mean he'll now always be looked upon in the highest esteem by everyone connected to this club. His penalty saves from Pirlo and Shevchenko even inspired a pop song to be recorded in his honour but just weeks later a new goalkeeper was brought to the club and Dudek has since made only sporadic appearances in the first team. His future has been the subject of much speculation for the past 12 months but he remains a popular member of the Reds squad. If he was to play on until he's 100 it's unlikely he'll ever eclipse the high of Istanbul but the memories will never fade and for that he rightly takes his place alongside some of the more illustrious legends in this club's history.

Claim to fame: Saving Andriy Shevchenko's penalty to win the European Cup

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