The ingenious practice of spaghetti legs is employed by Liverpool goalkeepers in European Cup Finals in order to win a penalty shoot-out against Italian opposition.
When displaying spaghetti legs, a goalkeeper will wobble his legs from side to side in mock fear as the penalty taker begins his run-up.
The technique was first demonstrated by shady Liverpool goalkeeping maverick Bruce Grobbelaar during the 1984 European Cup final against Roma at the Giallorossi’s Stadio Olimpico.
The tie ended 1-1 after extra-time and went to a shoot-out. After behaving like a normal man for the first four kicks, indomitable clown Grobbelaar pulled the ace out of his sleeve for Francesco Graziani’s pivotal final spot-kick.
The Zimbabwean nutcase staggered to the goal-line with the wild-eyed expression of an injured animal and proceeded to sway from side to side with his knees knocking together.
Roma penalty taker Francesco Graziani looked all at sea and sent his effort well over the bar as the commentator crowed ‘antics on the line from Grobbelaar’.
After the game, a deflated Graziani confirmed that Grobbelaar ‘gave me the err… heebie-jeebies. One minute he had legs of a man, the next is err... pasta.'
Amazingly, over 20 years later, Liverpool would again cripple Italian opposition courtesy of spaghetti legs.
Openly ignoring the rule that the Champions League final has to be an anti-climax, Liverpool battled back from 3-0 down in 2005’s showpiece event to take a baffled Milan to penalty kicks in one of the best games in history.
Polish ‘keeper Jerzy Dudek, who had previously had and would return to having a forgettable career, became the vessel for spaghetti legs.
The shell-shocked Milan players, who had already drunk most of the winners’ champagne at half-time, weren’t that up for a penalty shoot-out in honesty and the sight of Dudek squirming around on the line tipped them over the edge.
Dudek’s antics proved too much for Andrea Pirlo and Serginho while functional Dane Jon Dahl Tommason ignored the pressure, as did Kaka.
In the end Andriy Shevchenko, who had dead eyes after seeing a shot from eight centimetres saved by Dudek’s neck in extra-time, barely bothered to take his crucial fifth kick at all and flicked a timid effort while tears streamed down his cheeks. To this day, the Ukrainian won't eat spaghetti.