The reds' pre-season campaign finishes on Saturday, as we welcome Valencia to Anfield. YNWA looks back at our previous encounters as we face the Spanish side for the seventh time, having won only one of these meetings.
In the Champions League
Dietmar Hamann was sent off in our 2-0 Champions League group stage defeat in September 2002, with Salif Diao given the run-around at centre-back. Pablo Aimar and Rubén Baraja struck, while Jerzy Dudek said, "We didn't close down quickly enough and we weren't strong enough. We played like girls." The following month, Francisco Rufete's deflected shot was the only goal of the game at Anfield to leave us needing a win at Basel to progress to the second group stage. Future red Mauricio Pellegrino featured under Rafael Benítez's management in both of these meetings.
First time around
Our first encounter with Valencia came in October 1998 in the Second Round of the UEFA Cup, when they were managed by future Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri. The first leg at Anfield ended goalless, with the strangest aspect being that the reds actually played in all white as the visitors insisted on wearing orange.
However, things were much more exciting in the return at the Mestalla. Steve McManaman hit the post, but Claudio López opened the scoring shortly before half-time. McManaman headed in an equaliser late on, and then Patrik Berger put us ahead with a trademark strike five minutes from time.
The home side's Amedeo Carboni was sent off in the dying minutes, along with Paul Ince and Steve McManaman after an almighty fracas. Almost immediately, Valencia equalised to set Liverpool nerves on edge, as a López free-kick hit a post, and rebounded off David James into the net. Despite the Spaniards' late equaliser, we hung on to progress on the away goals rule to meet another Spanish side in the next round, Celta Vigo.
Facing Rafa in friendlies
Ex-Ajax star Jari Litmanen struck the only goal of the game for us to send the Amsterdam ArenA crowd wild in July 2001. It was a brilliant volley after a fifty-yard run and superb cross from Bernard Diomède. Rafael Benítez left Anfield with the Ladbroke.com Cup in August 2003, having beaten the reds 2-0, with the goals coming from Vicente Rodríguez and Xisco Muñoz. Future red Mauricio Pellegrino featured in both of these meetings, with Fábio Aurélio also turning out in Amsterdam.