Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A belated huzzah, thank you and all the best possible wishes to the great Sami Hyypia

Earlier this week, as you likely know, it was revealed Sami Hyypia will leave for Beyer Leverkusen after this season to end a decade of brilliance in a Liverpool shirt. Sami's lack of pace in his old(er) age makes him a poor fit for the modern Premier League, and Skrtel and Agger are ready now to step in alongside Carra in the back four to take Liverpool's defense into the future.

But I come today not to bury Sami Hyypia, but to praise him. He practically owns the term "loyal servant" and I will always remember two terrific moments that defined his unique blend of the iconic center half who also posed a goal threat.

1. His goal in 2005 against Juventus at Anfield. The cross comes in from the right to the far post, where Sami volleys in with his left foot. Combined with Luis Garcia's wonder strike from distance and it ended up 2-1. Game on, 0-0 in Turin and then the miracle of Istanbul. Thank you, Sami.

2. A few years ago, in a Premier League match at Anfield, Middlesbrough was giving an underachieving Liverpool a tough run. I might not be remembering this correctly, but I'm fairly certain Liverpool was down a goal early, then fought back in the second half to go up 2-1 late but Boro kept pressing and looked a threat. There was a collision and Sami's head started bleeding from a deep cut. He had to go into the locker room and Boro looked likely to equalize. Boro had a free kick given about 35-40 yards out or so, and while they're setting up, Sami comes charging out of the tunnel to huge applause, his head wrapped cartoon- and Terry Butcher-style with a huge bandage. The kick comes flying in and Sami immediately heads it clear while Anfield erupts. He makes another clearance a few seconds later and the lead is preserved.

Thank you, Sami Hyypia, for everything you've done in a Liverpool shirt.

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