Steven Gerrard Image, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Steven Gerrard was at the heart of the last Liverpool team to play Luton / Wikimedia Commons

Liverpool are set to face Luton Town for the first time in over 15 years.

It was January 2008 when Luton travelled up to Anfield for an FA Cup third-round replay. The Reds battered the Hatters 5-0 with captain Steven Gerrard scoring a hattrick as well as goals from Sami Hyypia and Ryan Babel.

A lot has changed in the time since, but where are Liverpool’s starting XI from that day?

Goalkeeper – Charles Itandje

Charles Itandje was a 6”4 Cameroonian shot-stopper brought in as a back-up to Liverpool’s safest pair of hands, Pepe Reina. Arriving from French side, RC Lens, Itandje only ever made seven appearances for the Reds.

The keeper was controversially caught laughing during the 20th anniversary memorial service for the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy. Itandje was promptly released, jumping from club to club after his stint on Merseyside with his final top-flight club being Adanaspor Kulubu in the Turkish Superlig.

Right-back – Alvaro Arbeloa

Dependable Spanish full-back, Alvaro Arbeloa had a quietly successful career, making his way through the Real Madrid youth academy, before joining Deportivo La Coruna. He made 20 appearances in La Liga before being picked up by fellow countryman, Rafael Benitez who was then managing Liverpool.

A no-nonsense defensive full-back, Arbeloa enjoyed three years at Anfield before Real Madrid came calling again. He retired at West Ham United in 2017 and currently manages Real Madrid Castilla – the very same youth team that he began his career with.

Centre-back – Jamie Carragher

Jamie Carragher
Jamie Carragher made over 500 appearances for the Reds.

If you are a fan of football, it is difficult to avoid Jamie Carragher’s face nowadays, with the former Liverpool centre-half being arguably the most famous football pundit on TV.

Born in Bootle, Liverpool, Carragher was a one-club-man – a rare trait in the modern game. Standing at 6”1’ “Carra” achieved 38 England caps and a total of 508 appearances for his boyhood club before retirement in 2013.

He immediately began punditry with Sky Sports and has developed a notoriously hilarious relationship with fellow ex-pro and co-host Gary Neville.

Centre-back – Sami Hyypia

Finnish defender, Sami Hyypia signed for Gerard Houlier’s Liverpool side from Eredivisie side, Willem II at the turn of the millennium.

A boyhood Reds fan, Hyypia spent just over a decade with the Reds. He won a Champions League and a UEFA Cup, as well as two League Cups, two Community Shields, and two UEFA Super Cups.

Hyypia ended his career in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen, before becoming assistant manager of Finland upon his retirement. After brief stints as head coach of Leverkusen and Brighton and Hove Albion, he is currently assistant manager of FC Haka back in Finland.

Left-back – John Arne Riise

John Arne Riise was infamously erratic, which helped cement his status as a cult-hero around Anfield. His seemingly infinite stamina was a useful asset to Liverpool and helped to compensate for his sometimes suspect defensive awareness.

The Norwegian wing-back was mostly recognised for his powerful long-range strikes and set-pieces. He notched an impressive 31 goals during his six years on Merseyside. Since his retirement Riise moved into coaching, taking charge of women’s side, Avaldsnes IL in Norway.

Right-midfield – Jermaine Pennant

A journeyman, Pennant’s ability was never in question, however his off-pitch antics have often led to early departures from clubs. He tallied 17 clubs during his 19-year career, which ended at Billericay Town in the 7th tier of English football.

At the peak of his controversy he left a Porsche outside a Spanish train station, as well as featuring on an episode of the now-cancelled Jeremy Kyle show. The retired winger now hosts a podcast and occasionally features on TalkSport radio.

Central-midfield – Steven Gerrard

Stevie G needs no introduction. His career is one of the most iconic in the history of English football. “Captain Fantastic” spent his entire career at Anfield, turning down advances from Chelsea and Real Madrid, until his final season which was spent at LA Galaxy.

Since retirement Gerrard has managed Liverpool U21s, Rangers, Aston Villa, and currently is head coach of Saudi side Al-Ettifaq.

Central-midfield – Xabi Alonso

Partnering Gerrard in the middle of the park was an equally excellent player in Spanish midfield stalwart, Xabi Alonso. Alonso enjoyed an illustrious career and “La Barba Roja” (“The Red Beard”) went on to star for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

After retiring, he entered management with Real Sociedad, before struggling Bayer Leverkusen took a chance on him. He has rewarded their faith, taking over with Bayer in 17th and steadying the ship, achieving a 6th place finish by the end of his first campaign. Alonso currently has them unbeaten, sitting atop of the Bundesliga after nine games.

Left-midfield – Ryan Babel

Dutch winger, Ryan Babel was the youngest player in the XI for Liverpool back in 2008. The pacey Dutchman is the only starter still professionally playing to this day.

The Reds sold Babel to Hoffenheim in 2012 and he currently performs for Turkish second-tier side, Eyupspor having left Galatasaray in 2022.

Striker – Peter Crouch

One of the more memorable footballers to have played the English game, Peter Crouch was a talented footballer who was often maligned by his one unique characteristic – his height. Standing at 6ft 7in, Crouch possessed dominant aerial ability, and excellent positioning.

A likeable character off-pitch, “Crouchy” has since started one of the more popular footballing podcasts. He hosts other current and ex-professionals offering an insight into their lives.

Striker – Fernando Torres

Despite beginning his career as a goalkeeper, “El Nino” is one of the most talented strikers to play for Liverpool. The Spanish superstar was electric, possessing pace, power, and technical ability.

Signed from Atletico Madrid, he bagged 65 goals in 102 appearances for the Reds. He was then sold to Chelsea in 2011 for a British transfer record. He retired at Japanese side Sagan Tosu in 2019 and currently manages Atletico Madrid U19s.