These six players failed to breathe new life into the Liverpool badge…
It’s taken some time, but Liverpool are finally back at the very top table of English football. After a period of sheer dominance in the 70s and 80s, the 90s and the 2000s were something of an arid era in terms of success and trophies.
While we’d all like to drool at the current squad that Jurgen Klopp has put together, it’s important to look back at just how far the Reds have come in recent years.
Forget the Salahs and the Firminos, who are helping Liverpool attempt to go the entire season unbeaten, here are some of the flops that the Anfield faithful have had to contend with in the last two decades of mediocrity:
- Bruno Cheyrou (signed in 2002)
Liverpool supporters were licking their lips in anticipation after the £3.7m acquisition of French playmaker, Bruno Cheyrou back in 2002. That’s because the then boss, Gerard Houllier, made a bold statement comparing the 24-year-old to French legend, Zinedine Zidane.
Unfortunately for the Reds, Cheyrou did not have a ‘Zizou’-like impact at Anfield, scoring only five goals in 48 appearances, before disappearing meekly back to French football with his tail between his legs.
- Fernando Morientes (signed in 2005)
Morientes arrived at Anfield to tremendous fanfare from the Liverpool faithful. After bagging almost a century of goals for Real Madrid, hopes were high that he could replicate that feat with Rafa Benitez’ men.
Nevertheless, the English game simply never suited Morientes. He only managed three goals in his first half-season with the club, and even managed to miss the club’s Champions League triumph in 2005 through being cup-tied.
15 years later, the Reds may have forgotten all about Morientes, but they are still a formidable force in Europe and are strongly tipped to overcome Atletico Madrid and reach the quarter finals of the Champions League this term.
- Christian Benteke (signed in 2015)
There’s no denying that Liverpool were in a state of flux after the gut-wrenching departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona in 2014. Both Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert failed to light the blue touch paper, so Brendan Rodgers turned to Aston Villa hot-shot, Christian Benteke to try and transform the Reds’ front line.
Unfortunately for Benteke – and Rodgers – his £32.5m arrival was deemed one of the club’s most expensive mistakes ever in the transfer market. The Belgian was eventually cast off to Crystal Palace by Klopp, whose high-pressing, high-energy style of play cruelly exposed Benteke’s misgivings.
- Alberto Aquilani (signed in 2009)
Italian playmaker, Alberto Aquilani was yet another player signed to try and replace a departing hero, this time in the shape of Xabi Alonso. Aquilani was billed as the heir to Alonso’s throne in the Liverpool midfield, but the Roma youngster failed to live up to his reputation as a cool, calm and collected deep-lying playmaker, instead lacking the physicality for the Premier League.
Aquilani was promptly bombed out to Juventus and AC Milan on loan, before being sold to Fiorentina in 2012 with very little fanfare.
- Charlie Adam (signed in 2011)
Scottish playmaker, Charlie Adam was your archetypal one-season wonder in the Premier League. During the 2010-11 campaign, everything Adam touched turned to gold in a Blackpool shirt, battling valiantly to try and keep the Tangerines in the top-flight. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Ian Holloway’s men, but Adam’s performances earnt him a second crack at the big time with Liverpool following a £6.75m switch.
It quickly became apparent that Adam was much better suited to being a big fish in a small pond at Blackpool, than a bit-part option at Anfield. A move to mid-table Stoke City was eventually deemed best for all parties.
- Paul Konchesky (signed in 2010)
Last but by no means least, left back Paul Konchesky, the man that was signed to play as first-choice left back for former Reds chief, Roy Hodgson. No player characterises Liverpool’s indifference and stagnation under Hodgson better than Konchesky. One-paced, dreadfully one-footed and lacking in end product, Konchesky didn’t spend long on Merseyside.
After only narrowly outlasting Hodgson, Konchesky was promptly loaned out to Championship playoff hopefuls, Nottingham Forest, who were much more his level.