"I was at Wimbledon when I was 16. I was absolutely gutted to be released because, as everybody knows, at school you set your heart on something and when you are let down it is so disappointing.
"When I then went to Welling I had to think about the possibility of getting another job outside of football. If that hadn't worked out then I would probably have joined the family building firm, working as a brickie or something like that. It is a big leap to be playing in the Champions League final - the biggest game of my career - but after what I've been through to get here, it holds no fears for me."
Finnan in May 2005
"Finnan is a player who will always play at a consistent level. He will be seven, eight, nine or even 10 out of 10 every week. This is really important for the team. Some players find a good level for individual games but don't do the same every week. Finnan does it for a whole season."
Rafa on Finnan in January 2006
"I don't think we've changed anything about how we defend from last season. I think it's just down to time - we've been working with the boss for longer now and I think we now understand what he wants from us better. A year ago, we'd only been with the manager for six months and it takes time to change things at any club. We were used to playing one way before Benitez arrived and now, 18 months on, we're used to his style, his tactics and the way he wants us to play.
The zonal defending system is a good example of how things take time to perfect. I don't think many of the players had played it before because throughout most of our careers we've always gone man-to-man in the box but as soon as Rafa drilled it in to us what to do, I don't think we had many problems adjusting to it. The defence isn't perfect yet but as long as we keep working hard in training and during matches, we should improve further still."
Steve Finnan in December 2005
"I was playing a different role at left-back then [2000-2001], and Markus Babbel was superb as right-back. What I’d say is as brilliant as Markus was that season, Steve Finnan’s the best right-back I’ve played with. He doesn’t get a lot of credit, but when the PFA team of the year awards are announced, I’d be amazed if he isn’t right-back. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to vote for your team-mates. If you could, he’d be my first pick."
Carra on Finnan in 2005-2006
"Steve has shown a massive improvement over the last eighteen months or so. I can't think of a better right back in the Premiership at the moment. The way he's been playing all season has been outstanding but he's a relatively unsung hero. You only have to look at his performances on a weekly basis to see how good he is now. I always thought Finnan was good on the ball but he's dramatically improved defensively since he's been at Liverpool.
"That defensive improvement also brings the best out of him when he's on the ball because of the confidence factor. If you go back to the start of last season when Carragher was switched to centre half, it looked like right back could be a problem position. Not any more it doesn't. Finnan has got to take all the plaudits for that because sometimes, when people aren't sure about you, it can transmit to a player and they sink. The opposite has happened to Finnan. He's grown in confidence and is now playing better and better and better."
Alan Hansen on Finnan in 2005-2006
"He is a very good player and has been great for the past couple of seasons. He's now Ireland's main right-back by some distance and he's also the best in the Premiership at the moment. He goes about his business very quietly, he doesn't grab the headlines but he does an excellent job on the right side of defence.
"When he first signed for Liverpool, you couldn't help but think, 'is he really that good?' but he is getting better and better. His consistency has been first class and you can't ask for anything more. He's proven to be a very shrewd signing. His attacking play is coming on in leaps and bounds and it is no surprise that he's had so many assists this year. He's set up a lot of important goals. On top of that, he defends really well. He knows when to pass, when to stay on his feet. I'm sure he can improve even further.
In many ways, he's like Phil Neal. He is always steady and gives you 100% every game. He's the type of player every successful side needs."
Ronnie Whelan on Steve Finnan