Jamie Carragher made his first major public appearance since his spitting controversy as his Liverpool Legends team played out a sun-kissed goal-fest against Bayern Munich at Anfield.
In times of trouble it’s often best to return home and Carragher was back at the place that loves him best as the Liverpool Legends took on the Bayern Munich Legends in a charity game which will raise more than £1million for charity.
Nothing captured on video after that Manchester United defeat of Liverpool a couple of weeks ago will have changed his status in the eyes of the Reds faithful, even if they were as disappointed as the player himself in the spitting incident captured so vividly on video.
Top: Dietmar Hamann, Jamie Carragher, Dirk Kuyt, Steven Gerrard, David James. Bottom: Steve McManaman, Luis Garcia
Carragher was making his first major public appearance since being filmed spitting at a Manchester United fan
The veteran defender, pictured taking on Luca Toni, was suspended by Sky Sports for the rest of the season for the incident
Michael Owen celebrates with strike partner Robbie Fowler after scoring to double Liverpool’s lead over Bayern Munich
The former England international bundled his effort into the goal after nine minutes to relive his Liverpool glory days
LIVERPOOL LEGENDS: Dudek (James), McAteer (Kvarme), Agger, Carragher, Riise (Babb), McManaman (Berger), Gerrard, Fowler (Garcia), Owen (Smicer (Rush (Aldridge), Alonso (Hamann (McAllister)), Kuyt.
Goals: Kuyt 5; Owen 9; Fowler 17, 45; Kvarme 88
BAYERN MUNICH LEGENDS: Butt (Gospodarek), Ze Roberto, Demichelis, Lizarazu, Matthaus (Pflugler), Tarnat (Alonso), Zickler, Sergio (Misimovic), Makaay (Ottl), Elber, Toni (Zimmermann).
Subs: Witezcek, Roberto, Sternkopf.
Goals: Toni 20; Zickler 23, 33; Sergio 30; Alonso 73
Carragher’s first main involvement in the game was in barging Brazilian Giovane Elber to the ground in a typically tough but fair challenge. The Kop had seen it many times before in his 737 appearances as they roared their approval.
The Liverpool defender played a full 90 minutes though may not have entirely enjoyed the experience given the free-scoring nature of the 5-5 friendly which will raise more than £1m for the clubs’ respective charities.
But he got plenty of support from a 54,000 sell-out crowd who greeted his first challenge — and most afterwards — with a huge cheer.
The crowd was full of youngsters, many watching players who were in their prime before they were even born, but it was a mouth-watering line-up for anyone who has loved football over the last 30 plus years.
Lothar Mattthaus, Luca Toni, Paulo Sergio and Bixente Lizarazu represented World Cup winners in the Bayern side, while another in Xabi Alonso played a half for both sides.
The first half offered a huge glut of goals with ever-popular Dirk Kuyt opening the scoring within five minutes. The unmarked Dutchman rose to head home a lovely flighted cross from the left by Michael Owen.
That lead was doubled by the 10-minute mark after a blunder from Bayern keeper Hans-Jorg Butt who spilled a cross right in front of Owen. A few boos reminded the striker that joining Manchester United after being a hero at Liverpool will never sit well with some.
If there’s goals around Robbie Fowler will never be far away and he stretched Liverpool’s lead seven minutes later from another Kuyt cross.
The Liverpool crowd were loving it but Bayern weren’t going to let the Reds have all the fun.
Two minutes later they started the comeback as Brazilian Ze Roberto found Luca Toni and the Italian’s looping header dropped over Dudek and into the Kop net.
The whole Bayern Munich team pose for a team photo in front of the Anfield Main Stand ahead of their charity match
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher sign autographs on their return to Anfield on Saturday afternoon
Kuyt celebrates after scoring Liverpool’s opener during the LFC Foundation match against Bayern Munich Legends
Former Brazilian international Ze Roberto evades a tackle from Carragher as the first half at Anfield is played out
The second arrived quickly with Alexander Zickler rising at the back post to plant his header past Dudek from a superb deep cross from Paulo Sergio.
Goals were raining in now and it was no surprise when Bayern levelled, Paulo Sergio’s curling shot beating Dudek after a lay-off from Ze Roberto. Just the six goals in 30 minutes.
Bayern took the lead within minutes and it was pure comedy.
Alonso was in Liverpool red for the first half but must have got confused as his pass across his own goal found only Zickler to head his second. The Spaniard celebrated with his second half team-mates while the crowd sang his name. It was that sort of day.
Fowler ended his afternoon on the stroke of half-time by pulling his side level, his left-foot free-kick beating Butt courtesy of a kind deflection.
A raft of substitutes arrived in the second half and any flow to the game rather suffered for it.
Dirk Kuyt of Liverpool scores the first goal during the LFC Foundation charity match at Anfield on Saturday afternoon
Fowler uses his stomach to guide the ball into the empty net to give Liverpool a three-goal lead in charity game
Alexander Zickler of Bayern Munich Legends skips over the tackle of John Arne Riise and Daniel Agger of Liverpool Legends
Xabi Alonso of Liverpool Legends shares a light hearted moment with McManaman and Giovane Elber of Bayern Munich
But the crowd were delighted to see legends like Ian Rush and John Aldridge take the field, even if just for 10 minutes.
Matthaus departed after an hour to a huge ovation — they know their history in parts — while Alonso tried one from his own half but couldn’t recreate the glory of his famous effort against Newcastle in 2006.
Bayern got their fifth on 73 minutes as crowd favourite Alonso fired a 20-yard bullet free-kick past David James. The home crowd merely chanted his name louder.
Chances came and went — Misimovic somehow missing after rounding David James — but Liverpool finally levelled with just a few minutes left with Bjorn Tore Kvarme volleying spectacularly into the top corner. Reds’ fans won’t remember many of those.
The crowd only craved a Gerrard goal but his late shot was somehow tipped on to the post by substitute keeper Uwe Gospodarek, who instantly became the most unpopular man in Anfield.
It ended 5-5, a great day for the old legs on the pitch and the young faces off it.
Former Liverpool captain Gerrard, who is now a youth coach at Anfield, dribbles with the ball down the Anfield turf
Xabi Alonso (left) swapped sides for the second half while Gerrard (right) played the whole game for Liverpool