THE SCOUSE CONNECTION
By Chris Green
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Before the match, it was widely believed that if England possessed any particular asset that the Germans felt threatened by, it was the strike partnership of Emile Heskey and Michael Owen. As we now know, it was a threat that even then the home side severely underestimated, as Owen netted his first international hat-trick and Heskey grabbed the fifth himself, giving the pair an extraordinary combined goals-to-shots ratio of 67%.
The other England goalscorer was another Liverpool star - Steven Gerrard. The youngster's goal was arguably the most important of all, giving the visitors a timely lift with virtually the final kick of the first half. Given his exceptional shooting from distance in last season's Premiership it may seem odd that Gerrard attempted just one effort during the game, but given the end result, what he lacked in quantity he clearly made up for in quality.
The Liverpool-based players in the side did not have the same monopoly on assists that they had on goals, with Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes also chipping in to set up strikes. However, Gerrard, Heskey and the fourth Liverpool man in the starting line-up, Nick Barmby, all provided a key pass each just before Oliver Kahn saw the ball fly past him once again.
The overall pass completion rate for the English was a healthy 77%. Although Barmby's distribution could have been better - he found a colleague with less than half of his attempted passes, spending much of his time helping Ashley Cole defensively down the left flank - each of the other Liverpool players provided a respectable level of supply.
The contribution made by two of England's substitutes with Liverpool connections should not be overlooked. Ex-Liverpool midfielder Steve McManaman was introduced with 25 minutes to go, and showed a superb level of accuracy in his distribution. Of 23 passes attempted by the Real Madrid man, only one failed to find it's intended target.
Although featuring for just the final seven minutes with the game already sewn up, Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher also did the job expected of him when brought on to replace Scholes. He succeeded with all but one of his 11 attempted passes to frustrate the Germans at the end of the match, and also had time to make two tackles before the whistle blew for full time.
While there can be little doubt that this was an incredible team performance by the English, with every player doing exactly what was asked of him, a red streak certainly ran through the side. Liverpool have arguably made a greater contribution than any other team to one of the country's finest sporting moments for years - a fact unlikely to be overlooked by hoards of Scousers in pubs across the land.