Six years on from the glory of the 2005 Champions League final, we caught up with Istanbul hero Vladimir Smicer to recall his personal memories of that historic night.

On his final appearance for the Reds, Smicer came off the bench at the Ataturk Stadium after 23 minutes to replace the injured Harry Kewell, though he was unable to prevent AC Milan racing into a three-goal lead by half-time.

However, the Czech was influential as Liverpool stormed by to draw level in six crazy second-half minutes, netting the crucial second with a long-range strike.

Smicer was later the coolest man in the Ataturk as he stepped up to successfully convert in the penalty shootout to put the Reds 3-2 ahead, meaning Jerzy Dudek's save from Andriy Shevchenko ensured the European Cup would be heading for Merseyside for a fifth time.

Speaking to LFC TV at the recent Malaysia Masters tournament, Smicer said: "Rafa told me to play my game and just to enjoy it when I was going on. I told him, 'Don't worry, boss, I will - it's my last game.'

"Because we were 1-0 down, he wanted to put on an offensive player - but when we finished for half-time we were 3-0 down and I thought 'good change!'

Click the image below to watch our chat with Vladi

"We were really disappointed at half-time. We knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in the Champions League final and we were 3-0 down.

"Benitez was quite calm. He told us first we have to stop conceding goals and that we'd be changing system to 3-5-2 with two strikers and Stevie G behind them.

"He told us: 'We have 40,000 fans here, so we have to try to score at least one goal and who knows, if we score early then we can probably get a second and it will be game on.' 

"Slowly we started to believe it. When we came out from the dressing room and heard the supporters, we really wanted to score a goal for them.

"I remember my goal really well. Didi (Hamann) passed me the ball and I had no other option than to hit the ball because there was nobody on the right or left, so I tried to hit the ball and I hit it well.

"It's definitely one of the greatest goals I've ever scored. Because of this strike, I could touch the Champions League trophy. I never scored many goals from outside the box, so I was happy to see it go in.

"It was 2-2 in the shootout when I took my penalty. I wasn't happy when John Arne Riise missed because I knew if he had scored, I could have been the last penalty taker for Liverpool and score the winning goal!

"But I had already scored in the game and felt quite confident. Sometimes you have a game where you feel you can do anything on the pitch, and I did in that final.

"After I scored (the penalty) my emotions were running really, really high and my celebrations were a way of saying goodbye to the club.

"It was definitely the highest moment of my career - I played in the Champions League final and scored two goals, that has to be the peak of my career.

"Afterwards we went back to the hotel then myself, Igor Biscan and Milan Baros went to a disco nightclub and we were there until the morning, then we went back to the hotel and then to the airport!" 

Tune into LFC TV tonight at 9pm to watch our exclusive Big Interview with Vladimir Smicer.

LFC TV is FREE to air on Sky channel 434 and Virgin channel 544 (as part of the XL pack). 

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