If you were to ask a Premier League fan ‘name a Liverpool defender that played in the noughties’, the most common answer would be Jamie Carragher, but it shouldn’t be.
Whilst there is no doubt that the now Sky Sports News presenter was a fine defender in his playing days and a player who Liverpool fans adore, he wasn’t the most consistent centre-back in his best years and is often remembered as a someone who’s love for a club was way too apparent, whereas Sami Hyypia, is one of the most underlooked players from that era.
Signed for £2.6 million from Willem II in May 1999, the Finish defender was a complete unknown in English football. Recommended to former Liverpool chief executive Peter Robinson by a TV cameraman, Hyypia wasn’t meant to succeed as well as he did with the Reds, but reflecting on his career there is a good case for the centre-back being a candidate for one of the best bargains in Premier League history.
In 10 years on Merseyside, Hyypia made well over 400 appearances for the club, scoring 35 goals and being part of a Liverpool side that were one of the best sides on the continent in the 2000s.
Hyypia partnered Carragher in defence in the famous 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan, and the defender won two FA Cup trophies with Liverpool in 2001 and 2006. The Finnish international was also captain of the club for a number of years, taking the armband from Jamie Redknapp in 2002 before manager Gerard Houllier gave the captaincy to Steven Gerrard a year later.
When the defender announced he was leaving the club for Bayer Leverkusen in 2009, and a club he would go on to manage, Hyypia was given a guard of honour at his final game at Anfield and a standing ovation from the home fans.
Hyypia remains one a Liverpool favourite of the Premier League era and a role model for those who watched him play during his prime years on Merseyside.
Liverpool fans, what is your favourite memory of Hyppia at the club? Let us know!