John Arne Riise

John Arne Riise

John Arne Riise and how did he score THAT goal. A popular chant for a popular player. On this day 20th June 2001 we sign John Arne Riise from Monaco for a fee in the region of £4m. This move enabled Riise to be reunited with Gerard Houllier. The Norwegian left-back was relatively unknown before he moved from France. However, it did not take him long to establish himself.

John Arne Riise

John Arne Riise
John Arne Riise – Signs For Liverpool On This Day 20th June 2001


John Arne Riise signed for Monaco for £700,000 from Norwegian second division side Aalesund in the summer of 1998.

However, after coach Jean Tigana left Monaco, Riise also wanted to move on. Leeds were interested but could not agree a deal with Monaco. As a consequence, Riise was frozen out of the first team. However it seemed that he finally got a move he wanted as his old mentor Tigana wanted to buy him for Fulham.

Almost on his way to Fulham, Liverpool stepped in. Liverpool improved Fulham’s offer after Riise agreed terms with the London side and hijacked the deal. Riise greatly benefited from his three-year-stay in France and combined good technique and power.

Now At Liverpool

John Arne Riise had no trouble in adapting to the English game and was a huge success in his debut season. He helped Liverpool bring in the Charity Shield and the European Super Cup to add to their impressive treble from the previous campaign. Also he endeared himself to Liverpool fans everywhere in only his second start in the Premier League. It was during a Merseyside derby at Goodison when Riise ran half the length of the pitch to score Reds’ last goal in a 3-1 victory over Everton.

If that made him a fans favourite, what happened two months later placed him into permanent folklore it would seem.

Riise’s excellent engine and powerful left foot impressed the club’s supporters when he unleashed an incredible shot outside the penalty area that reached 70 mph. (112 km.) before going in off the bar against Manchester United at Anfield. Ripping off his shirt in celebration became his trademark.

This goal of course was the backdrop for his popular chant reverberated around the Fields Of Anfield Road for years.

You can see THAT goal again here……


Better Going Forward Than Defending

The Norwegian delivered on the attacking front, but sometimes his defensive skills left a lot to be desired.

Consequently he was also utilised in left midfield. His stock dipped somewhat in the 2003/04 season when he was dropped on occasions and drew a blank in the scoring stakes.

Rafa benitez believed in him though. He played in all but one League game under new boss Rafa Benítez in the 2004/05 season that culminated in the drama that was Istanbul.

Me And Watching Liverpool Penalties

I was lucky enough to go to Istanbul. As was my superstition I didn’t watch Liverpool’s first two penalties. I was persuaded to watch the next one however. Up stepped John Arne Riise and promptly……missed.

Riise was actually the only Liverpool player to miss in the penalty shoot-out. I kept up this ‘not watching Liverpool penalties up until the season before last when again I was ‘persuaded’ to watch Milner’s penalty against Southampton. Milner missed!! I may be onto something here.

Riise however did provide the superb cross that enabled Gerrard to head in Liverpool’s first goal in their astonishing revival.

With regard to penalty taking, Riise made amends a year later for his penalty miss in 2005. In the FA Cup final against West Ham he did put his away.

As Riise says, “I asked the manager to let me take the fourth penalty given what happened in Istanbul last year. I was carrying an injury at the time which meant that I couldn’t blast the penalty there which I’d normally do. I had to place it and their keeper (Dida) saved it. That was a nightmare, even though we won the cup, it still left me demoralised but I could use the power now. I blasted it down the middle and it flew in, and as soon as it hit the back of the net, I burst into tears. They were stinging my eyes,” Riise explained.

The Beginning Of The End

Riise lost his way at Liverpool in his last two seasons. He was often exposed by his lack of skill in receiving the ball and delivering it to a teammate. I know how I used to despair at times when seemingly not under pressure he would hoof the ball upfield.

His big nightmare however was his own-goal in the 2008 semi-final against Chelsea in the Champions League. Liverpool were heading for a priceless 1-0 win in the first leg when Riise dived to head the ball into his own net at the Kop end in the 90th minute.

I also remember that one so well. No pressure and no need to stoop and dive to head the ball away really. But there you go.

Time To Move On

After an eventful seven years of highs and lows at Anfield Riise left for Roma on 18 June 2008.

Jamie Carragher felt Riise would be missed. “He can be very proud of what he’s achieved with Liverpool. He has played nearly 350 games and scored a lot of goals. He’s played at a very high level for a long time now. He’s never injured and he’s a great professional who has always looked after himself.”

Riise had two decent seasons in Rome before joining his brother Björn Helge at Fulham in July 2011. Finally he got to join The Cottagers!!

John Arne was a regular at Fulham and deservedly got a great reception when he returned to Anfield as a visiting player on 1 May 2012 when the Cottagers beat Liverpool 1-0.

At the end of his three-year contract, Riise was released by Fulham. He had played nearly a hundred matches for the Cottagers in three seasons but failed to score a single first-team goal during that time.

At the start of September 2014 Riise signed a two-year contract with Cypriot club APOEL Nicosia but after winning the league and cup double in his first season his contract was terminated by mutual consent.

He then announced he had joined Delhi Dynamos for the 2015 Indian Super League season. Riise rejoined his old club Aalesund in March 2016 but only three months later he confirmed his retirement from football, saying his body could no longer cope and he no longer had the motivation to carry on at a high level.

In all John Arne Riise played 348 times for Liverpool, scoring an impressive 31 goals.

Thanks for the memories John….especially THAT goal….but not the penno in Istanbul!!

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