Kop Legends

On this day: Sami Hyypia makes his mark vs arch-rivals Manchester United

Image for On this day: Sami Hyypia makes his mark vs arch-rivals Manchester United

September 11th 1999 may seem like a long time ago. It was only a year earlier that a certain Steven Gerrard made his first-team debut. The rest was history.

But this day was not about him. It is regarding a tall Finnish defender that went on to have a wonderful career at Anfield. The only and only, Sami Hyypia.

Moving to the team he supported as a child for £2.6m as a fresh-faced 25-year-old, the former Finland international was ready to make his mark on the Premier League and with our club.

Towards the back end of the 20th Century, our problems at the back were becoming more magnified as the weeks and games passed. We simply had to do something to form a sturdier spine.

Gerard Houllier placed his trust with Hyypia as his first game could not have been bigger, against arch-rivals Manchester United.

The stage was set for him. Hyypia featured alongside Dominic Matteo as the centre-back pairing and with a young Jamie Carragher at right-back. He did not let his manager down. In the 28th minute, Hyypia struck home with an easy header to get us back into the game where we were 2-0 down at the time.

We went on to lose the game 3-2. An unfortunate way for the Finn to make his first outing. Two own goals from Carragher and a goal from Andy Cole pretty much sealed the win for the Red Devils before half-time.

Patrick Berger added to Hyypia’s first-half opener but it wasn’t enough as we failed to stage a comeback.

It will be one of Hyypia’s least memorable moments for us over the years, scoring 35 goals and providing nine assists from 464 appearances for us (as per TransferMarkt). He is rated highly among the Kop faithful and remains a favourite to this day.

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