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Last Updated: Monday, 23 May, 2005, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Pirlo the dangerman warns Hodgson
By John Sinnott

Andrea Pirlo
Pirlo was at Inter Milan when Roy Hodgson was coach
Former Inter Milan manager Roy Hodgson has identified AC Milan's Andrea Pirlo as the player Liverpool must stop if they are to win the European Cup.

According to Hodgson if Liverpool can nullify Pirlo that will enable them to contain European Footballer of the Year Andriy Shevchenko in Wednesday's final.

"Pirlo is the outstanding ball player, with wonderful passing range and vision," Hodgson told BBC Sport.

"For me he is the one I would really want to stop getting on the ball."

Pirlo was an Inter Milan player when Hodgson returned for his second stint as the club's coach.

"Pirlo is the player for AC Milan who drops deep to start the play and can also provide the decisive pass to the attackers," added Hodgson.

"Shevchenko is obviously a very dangerous forward who doesn't need a lot of time and space to score his goals.

"But Liverpool will think they have already knocked out two of the competition's very strong favourites who had excellent strikers.

"They managed to contain Juventus' Zlatan Ibrahamovich and Alessandro del Piero as well as Chelsea's Didier Drogba and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

"I don't think Shevchenko will cause them extra problems. Liverpool must just think he's another excellent forward who they need to take care of.

"Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyppia have been absolutely outstanding for Liverpool in the Champions League and they have been well protected by the full-backs.

"They will go about their jobs in the same way as they did in those previous two rounds."

Milan struggled to beat PSV Eindhoven in their semi-final and Hodgson sees similarities between the Dutch side and Liverpool.

"They are both strong, athetlic teams that play simply, not as easy as it sounds to do.

"They pass the ball well and have clear attacking patterns. They are two good teams that have been slightly underrated throughout the tournament.

Hodgson also believes Liverpool could trouble Milan from set-pieces.

"Liverpool have reached the final by making sure their defence is solid and breaking quickly, using strength and pace.

"Cisse's return is also a boost as he is a strong weapon up front.

"But Rafael Benitez's other major weapon is their set plays. They get exceptional delivery on the ball and have the players to get on the end of those crosses.

"That will send shudders down the opposing team."

News conference: AC Milan's Clarence Seedorf


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