Didi Hamann believes the atmosphere at Anfield during the Champions League defeat of Chelsea last week was so good that it even tops the day in 2002 that he became a World Cup winner with Germany.
Hamann’s future is still uncertain as his contract expires in the summer, but whatever happens he’ll have some special memories of his time as a Reds player. Speaking to Liverpool’s official website, he said: "We have had some tremendous games at Anfield and as everyone says European nights are always special whoever we play, but this certainly goes down as one of the best – or the best ever – atmosphere I’ve played in or have been in and that includes the World Cup Final."
Hamann was a late addition to the squad for the game after being out injured, but was obviously glad to have been involved: "You play in front of your own fans at Anfield but in the World Cup it was quite far away from Germany so we didn’t have too many supporters there. This was totally different as we played in front of 45,000 with 38,000 of them your own fans and everybody wants the same result, to win and go through to the final. The atmosphere from the word go was electric and with the early goal everybody just seemed to explode at the same time. It was unbelievable the support they gave us and I think everyone who was at the ground on Tuesday will remember it for a long time."
Hamann is well aware of the tradition and history at Anfield, as he says, "The fans have had great times here in the 70’s and the 80’s and Liverpool have won the European Cup four times. It showed how much it means to the fans that they are desperate to get the glory days back they showed it on Tuesday. The team responded and it’s a great achievement for everybody connected to Liverpool FC."
Jose Mourinho was not the most gracious losing manager that had ever visited Anfield, with his comments after the game including the memorable, "The best team lost". Not according to Didi: "We felt we could beat them and we did it. I think we’ve been unfortunate not to get anything out of all the three games they beat us. I think we definitely deserved a win or draw in the home game in the league and the cup final we could and should have won. The 1-0 win for them at Stamford Bridge might have been a fair result even though we matched them for most parts of the game. I think we were due some luck against them and we beat them, end of story."
Hamann now wait to see if he’ll be playing in the final – as long as no new injuries crop up for Benitez the Liverpool boss will be spoiled for choice in central midfield. And it’s this choice for Benitez that could ultimately see Hamann leave Anfield. Hamann wants to wait before he decides what to do: "I’ve not agreed or signed any contracts. We’ve got two more important games and I’m not going to think about my future until after we’ve played the final. This game is too important for me to start thinking about anything else before then."
Liverpool have one more league game left, when they play host to Aston Villa Sunday. With Liverpool’s chances of fourth place gone, the game could be a nothing match – not to Didi though: "We’ve all got places to play for so this is still an important game. We want to go into the final on the back of a victory so this a chance
to build up our confidence. Whenever you play in front of your own crowd you want to put on a show and we don’t want to slip further down the Premiership table." Liverpool are level on points with Bolton so need to win to be sure of fifth place.
As for the defeat on Sunday Hamann said: "We were all disappointed after the Arsenal match, but you’ve also got to recognise their first half performance was as good as anyone’s played against us this season. We responded well in the second half, but sometimes you have to acknowledge how well the opposition played."
He continued: "Fourth spot wasn’t lost on Sunday, it was earlier in the season. Six weeks ago we felt really confident of catching Everton, but when you lose 11 games away from home, it’s clear where the problem is. Our home form has been as good as I can remember since I joined the club, but we lost too many matches away and that’s cost us."