Liverpool’s worst signings – of the 21st century

Supporting Liverpool, especially during transfer windows at times, can bring emotions of disappointment & hype.

We hear a report of a marquee signing potentially signing for the club, but in the end, it never materalises! The never-ending talk & saga can be difficult to contend with, especially when it’s regarding other clubs being able to attract big names.

Liverpool have been mocked in the last 3-4 years by rival supporters, for only being able to attract over-hyped players to Anfield, for extortionate prices, whilst other clubs are able to spend large sums on marquee players who claim to be dedicated to that club – that was discussed in an article a couple of months ago. Klopp played down rumours of Liverpool being a ‘selling club’ – and those days appear to be well and truly over.

The likes of Michael Owen, Xabi Alonso, Luis Suarez & Fernando Torres etc all left Liverpool due to casting doubt over the club’s ambition and hopes to win that coveted title – and what would have really been the killer blow for the club, above all – would’ve been the sale of Steven Gerrard to Chelsea, in 2004/2005.

Anyway, enough talk about selling, time to humiliate myself by looking back at the worst Liverpool signings of the 21st century…

12. Bruno Cheyrou

Signed in the summer of 2002 along with fellow flops El Hadji Diouf & Salif Diao, the Frenchman completely flattered to deceive during his spell at Anfield. Gerard Houllier dubbed Cheyrou as the “new Zidane”, but this tag proved to be one that Houllier would rather look back on as ignominy.

He had impressed at Lille prior to his move, even scoring against Manchester United in the Champions League; many supporters were hoping he would add that extra creativity needed to our midfield, but he only found the net once in his debut season – that was in the Champions League against Spartak Moscow at Anfield.

Cheyrou was eventually deemed surplus to Rafa Benitez’s requirements in the 2004-2005 season, resulting in him being loaned to French clubs, before making a permanent move to Rennes in 2006.

He lacked pace, physicality, creativity, poor work-rate, and in general, he just seemed like an ordinary player from the moment he arrived Merseyside. A let-down.

Highlight? He produced some decent performances during the 2003-2004 season – his highlight probably being scoring the winning goal at Stamford Bridge in January 2004.

11. Salif Diao

Diao was another who endured a miss-and-hit career at LFC. Gerard Houllier appeared to alienate Diao too, when he arrived in May 2002, suggesting he could be “the next Viera”. Sure, he also caught the eye with Senegal in the 2002 World Cup during the summer, but he was unable to replicate that quality amongst the likes of young talents such as Steven Gerrard – who was left distinctly unimpressed by the Senegalese’s quality:

With Salif, I knew after a week of training that he wasn’t going to be good enough.

Houllier often used Diao out of his preferred position at defensive midfield – with the Frenchman preferring to use him at CB. This, arguably, hindered his progress, as the Senegalese hinted;

Houllier has changed his tactics and uses one ball-winner in midfield. It’s fair to say this has been a blow to my chances.

He managed three goals for Liverpool, with only one coming in the league, against Leeds United in October 2002.

But, he then demonstrated he wasn’t good enough, even in his preferred position at DM – under Benitez he put in several poor displays which saw him fall down the pecking order, to regulars such as Xabi Alonso.

Diao was released on loan to Birmingham City for the remainder of the 2004/2005 season, eventually joining Portsmouth on a permanent basis.

Positive? We only paid 4 odd million for him!

10. Fernando Morientes

This was a deal that excited a lot of Liverpool supporters back then. Rafael Benitez pushed a deal through for Morientes in January 2005, which was seen as a coup for the Reds at only £6.5 million. Morientes, at the time, was nearing 100 goals for Real Madrid, so it was easy to see why LFC fans were so enthralled by the raid from La Liga.

However, despite the excitement following the done deal, Morientes never looked like justifying the optimism Liverpool fans divulged – he only managed three goals in his debut season, and was cup-tied for the Reds’ Champions League games on their road to a historical triumph in Istanbul.

The following season, he scored nine goals – but his form in the league was poor. He only managed five goals in the Premier League itself – and it was clear that he wouldn’t be a part of Benitez’s plans for the 2006/2007 season. He was sold to Valencia in May 2006, as the likes of Peter Crouch began to break into the side.

Highlight? Netting in the 2005 League Cup Final

9. Antonio Nunez

Nunez was Benitez’s second signing in charge of Liverpool – but he rarely featured in the side. Benitez signed the young midfielder [used as a full-back, however] in August 2004, which came part of a deal which saw Josemi arrive at Anfield too, with Owen leaving for Real Madrid in part exchange.

But unfortunately, for the Spaniard, he injured himself in his first day of training at Liverpool, and was out of action in all competitions for three months.

When he did feature, he often went very quiet.

Nunez, however, did score in the 2005 Carling Cup final against Chelsea, which Liverpool lost 3-2 in Cardiff. This made him the only player in LFC history to have scored his only goal for the club in a major cup final!

He had a Champions League medal to show for his efforts, but otherwise – it was a disappointing spell for Nunez, who was simply never cut out to the pace of English football.

Highlight? Scoring against Chelsea in the League Cup Final.

8. Josemi

Josemi was Benitez’s first ever signing at Liverpool in 2004 – and he was also part of that swap deal involving Michael Owen, signing for £2m.

He managed more Premier League starts than Nunez in his debut season [15], but he was sent off against Fulham in a 4-2 away win in October 2004 – this ban lead to Steve Finnan establishing himself as a regular starter at right-back.

He also made seven appearances during Liverpool’s memorable 2004-2005 Champions League campaign, but eventually was not included in the substitutes bench. His lack of starts under Benitez lead to him wanting to leave Anfield in December 2005. Contributed little.

Highlight? His Luis Garcia-esque hair. Only accolade I can think of.

7. Jan Kromkamp

Signed in January 2006 for Josemi, who went to Villarreal.

He was unable to get any starting time, usually restricted to substitute appearances. He only made 14 appearances, and he looked like an imposter of Dirk Kuyt’s hair. All you need to know.

Highlight? Making the bench for the FA Cup Final in 2006.

6. Andriy Voronin

Resembled My Little Pony – Voronin was signed in February 2007 by Benitez, who was given more funding power by the Yanks at the time – pushing through deals for Ryan Babel, Yossi Benayoun & Fernando Torres.

Voronin was viewed as somebody who could bolster Liverpool’s attacking options, but he contributed nothing of note. He managed a measly 6 goals in 27 appearances, and was subsequently sent on loan by Benitez for the 2008-2009 season to Hertha BSC.

When he returned in 2009/2010 following his loan spell, he looked like a League 2 player. That’s all you need to know. He managed 0 goals in his last season.

Highlight? Scoring in a Champions League qualifier.

5. Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane arrived for odd £19m (+1.3m in performance based compensation) in the summer of 2008 – hopes were high. Having hit the ground with strike partner Dimitar Berbatov at Spurs, LFC fans were hoping he could be integral to LFC’s title success in May.

Unfortunately, the Irishman proved to be a huge waste of money, like his predacessor Voronin. He had a lean time for goals in his first few months, and bagged his first in all comps in October 2008, first in the league coming in November 2008 against West Brom – otherwise, he was on a hiding to nothing. Keane managed 5 goals in the Premier League, and two in Europe. He was a player devoid of confidence.

It wasn’t his dedication that let the side down, or work rate  he struggled to settle at a club like Liverpool that had such stark expectations under Rafa Benitez. In the transfer window, he eventually was reunited with Spurs in January 2009.

Highlight? Scoring against Arsenal in December 2008 away – a goal that helped us maintain in the title race.

4. Alberto Aquilani.

Some would put Alberto Aquilani ahead of Andy Caroll in my worst transfers list, but I was actually a fan of Aquilani.

I’ll admit the Italian was out of his depth at the club, but it didn’t help that he bought at a time the club were still dwelling on the baffling departure of midfield maestro Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid. Days after the Alonso transfer, Aquilani signed in August 2009. He was carrying an injury in his first few days at the club, which again, hindered his progress

Some people saw him as potentially a signing that could fill the void that deep-lying midfielder Alonso left, but Aquilani was more of a dynamic-attacking midfielder than a defensive/holding one.

He was limited to substitute appearances due to his injuries, but when he did come on, he usually showed neat touches on the ball, and could even defend when relied on at times.

But, he was usually seen as an average midfielder by a lot of LFC supporter, due to suffering from injuries regularly, which limited his potential & game-time too. He was eventually loaned to Juventus & Milan, so that he was provided with an opportunity to regain his match fitness & confidence.

He did train with LFC’s pre-season side in the summer of 2012, but he left to Fiorentina eventually in 2012 – after flattering to deceive after a disappointing spell littered with injury – thus we didn’t see much of him.

Highlight: The MOTM performance against Portsmouth in March 2010


3. Andy Carroll.

Due to the astronomical £35m we spent on the Gateshead-born striker in 2011.

Some will argue £30m for a striker who scored 31 goals in 80 games is good enough, but considering his injury record, maybe it wasn’t the wisest move to sign him [Aquilani ring any bells?]

When he arrived, he was carrying an injury sustained at Newcastle, which meant he had to wait for his debut. He eventually scored his first goal(s) for the club in April 2011, in a comprehensive 3-0 win over Man City at Anfield. He looked like a great buy then.

But the following season, he struggled for goals – he had to wait until October for his first in the league, and only managed a measly 4 goals in 35 appearances; an extremely unfulfilling return for a player who had been valued highly as one of the deadliest in the league.

Don’t get me wrong – he did score a few important goals every now and then. For example, he was instrumental in Liverpool’s run to the FA Cup Final, where he scored the winner for the Reds against Everton in the semi-final derby. Jamie Carragher valued the goal as £35m itself. He even netted in the final, which Liverpool lost 2-1 to Chelsea. He almost grabbed an equaliser that would’ve taken the game to extra time, only to be denied by the linesman’s decision to conlcude that Carroll’s header did not cross the line.

Otherwise though, it wasn’t a spell Liverpool fans will remember fondly – whilst other rival supporters will greet it with glee.

Highlight? The header that clinched victory for Liverpool at Wembley against local rivals Everton in the FA Cup semi-final.

2. Paul Konchesky

If anyone compounded Roy Hodgson’s dismal spell at Liverpool, it was left-back Paul Konchesky.

Yep, that’s right. The Hodgson we know – the one that branded a 1-0 win away at Bolton in 2010 a ‘famous result’, and the man who thought he was on level terms with Sir Alex Ferguson’s silverware [yep, that was hard to write].

When Roy brought this annihilation of a defender in August 2010, I always knew he would have problems settling in at a club like Liverpool – only Hodgson can understand why he came to the conclusion of deciding to purchase a player that was better with his hair than feet.

Konchesky may have won the Goal Of The Month award in January 2009, but that’s as good as it got for him in his career.

Konchesky was simply an embarrassment to this club, he was costing us points, day in, day out. It got to the stage when our own fans were CHEERING when he was substituted off against Wolves in December 2010. That said it all, and that pretty much put an end to his LFC career.

Oh, and not to mention the ‘Scouse Scum’ remark his mother made on Facebook.

Highlight? Having better hair than feet, and resembling the look of a football steward.

1. El Hadji Diouf

This was a no brainer. El Hadji Diouf was always at the top of my list, before I even started writing this article.

This deal was finalised in June 2002 for £10m, when manager Gerard Houllier had a split choice between either deciding to make Nicholas Anelka’s move to Liverpool permanent, or signing Diouf as a replacement for Anelka, and letting Anelka go in part exchange.

Every Liverpool player & supporter back then wanted Anelka’s move to be made permanent, but Houllier baffled everyone by instead choosing to take Diouf on, by signing the Senegalese in early June of 2002.

Steven Gerrard, in one of his biographies, stated that Anelka was the better option, due to the fact that he had made himself a favourite with the fans. And it wasn’t difficult to see why – the previous season, Anelka had made a contribution to Liverpool’s title charge which saw them finish 2nd.

But it appeared that Houllier’s decision to sign Diouf as based on him impressing in the 2002 World Cup for Senegal – but that proved to be, again, as good as it got for the greedy, snobby & lazy Diouf we began accustomed to seeing at the club from day 1.

It wasn’t just his attitude that ensured he became far from the cult hero status he thought he was at – it was his work rate & ability. Despite impressing early on in the season, Diouf didn’t score a league goal from August to March, which came against Bolton.

He again, divulged his bad boy image to the world in Parkhead in March 2003, when he spat at a Celtic fan during a UEFA Cup match – this was a stint that still casts over his disgraced & dark career, and that was the point when Liverpool fans began to feel disillusioned with the striker.

Following the incident, he didn’t score a single goal [not even competitively!] from the end of the 2002-2003 season and the whole of 2003-2004.

The positive that can be taken from this is that when Rafa Benitez arrived at Liverpool, he didn’t want to include Diouf in his plans, loaning him out to Bolton Wanderers.

Since then, he’s aimed digs at Jamie Carragher & Steven Gerrard – accusing Gerrard of being racist, and his deluded digs at his former team-mates, claiming his quality on the pitch shined through. He insisted on Gerrard being a ‘nothing player’ – yep, that’s right. The player who was won every competitive trophy there is to be, bar the Premier League. What did Diouf have to show for his spell? A League Cup final he played no part in, and a spit at a fan. Well done, El Hadji.

Here’s a quote that Diouf one said to a French magazine;

The difference between Jamie and me is that I am a world-class player and he is a s***. The type of s*** that writes a book and mentions me all the time. Me, in my book, he does not warrant oe phrase: he’s a f****** loser.

Let me just remind you. Jamie Carragher scored more goals than El Hadji Diouf at LFC. That’s not even counting own goals [Diouf struck three times in 55 outings in the league for Liverpool, while Carragher managed four in his 508 games.] All you need to know.

Before you open your mouth Diouf, take a look at these ‘world class’ statistics.


Highlight? Spitting at a fan, showing how low he really was. Get in the fucking bin.

Written by @SteLindellLFC

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