Liverpool is one of the most successful football clubs, and have won the most European trophies among the English teams. They were a force to be reckoned with during the 1970s and 1980s having won 11 League titles and seven European trophies during this period. It’s also among the clubs that genuinely boast a rich history. However, most eras come to an end and by the 1990s, they were already struggling to maintain their previous success. They are yet to win a Premier League title since its inception in 1992. They’ve also only managed to finish second on three occasions with the latest one being in the 2013-14 season. There are a number of factors which have contributed to their recent slump. These include improvements by rival teams, change in management/ownership, and the main reason being bad player signings.
Indeed, some managers made a total mess of their signings. Gerard Houllier can be singled out for his purchase of just about any French player he could find and even Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish made a couple of mistakes. Nowadays, there’s the much disliked ‘transfer committee’ which has been responsible for their recent blunders. Regardless of how many people participated in the process, some of the signings were absolutely shocking and their performance on the pitch turned out to be even more confounding. Some had already proven themselves elsewhere thus fans had high expectations which were shattered in the blink of an eye. Others were always expected to amount to nothing and they certainly delivered on that front while some were just the victims of unfortunate circumstances. Had all these signings been playing at the same time, Liverpool would probably have been in the lower divisions. Here are the players who were absolutely embarrassing when they donned the famous red jersey.
15 Torben Piechnik
The defender showed up on Liverpool’s radar after his impressive performance with Denmark in the 1992 European Championship, which they won. He joined Liverpool in September 1992, shortly after the inception of the Premier League. His debut was far from thrilling as the striker he was marking managed to score twice. After 16 league appearances in his first season, he only managed one in the next season.
The arrival of a new manager in January 1994 saw him request a transfer after realizing he didn’t have a place on the team. He joined AGF Aarhus in Denmark and was promptly forgotten. He was so bad Liverpool haven’t even bothered to include a picture of him in his profile on their official website.
14 Alberto Aquilani
He joined Liverpool in August 2009 from Roma at a fee of £17 million, when fan favorite Xabi Alonso left for Real Madrid. It’s quite baffling how he managed to pass the medical as he was clearly injured. This injury delayed his debut by around three months. He only scored twice for Liverpool that season after having spent most of his time on crutches. He was loaned to Juventus, then AC Milan in the following two seasons before being sold at a huge loss to Fiorentina. Liverpool just shouldn’t have bothered to buy him in the first place.
13 Bruno Cheyrou
Gerard Houllier bought quite a number of French players when he became Liverpool manager. Cheyrou was one of them and came from Lille in 2002. He scored once in his first season and despite a promising spell of four goals in five games the following season, he didn’t improve. His only career highlight was a winning goal he scored against Chelsea and a brace which won them an FA Cup match against Newcastle. He was loaned to Marseille in 2004, then Bordeaux in 2005 and eventually moved to Rennes in 2006. Houllier was perhaps a bit too hasty when he referred to him as the “new Zidane”.
12 Jean Michel Ferri
He joined Liverpool in 1998 from Turkish club Istanbulspor. He was actually called “The Machine” because of his work rate. However, his displays at Liverpool seemed to suggest he had broken down. Perhaps that’s why he made only two substitute appearances totalling 47 minutes during his time at the club. He left for Sochaux roughly eight months after joining Liverpool. The fact that he came injured, towards the end of his career and his nonexistent role in the team led some to believe he was only brought to be a dressing room spy for manager Gerard Houllier, who wanted to keep the players in check. If the manager really was into using spies, perhaps he should have sent one to confirm the player actually could play before signing him.
11 Jimmy Carter
No, it isn’t the 39th President of the United States of America, but if you thought it was that already says a lot about his underachieving namesake. Kenny Dalglish brought him from Millwall in January 1991 for a fee of £800,000. Dalglish handed him his former no.7 jersey but ended up resigning shortly after. He made only eight appearances before new manager Graeme Souness sold him to Arsenal. He played in only 25 league matches for Arsenal and was loaned to Oxford United twice. After a permanent move to Portsmouth in 1995 and a return to Millwall three years later, he retired at 33 due to a serious back injury.
10 Sean Dundee
He joined Liverpool from in July 1998. Having been born in South Africa, his decent goal scoring spell in the Bundesliga, saw him persuaded to get a German passport. He was never called up to play for the national team and was only used once at “B” level. He was restricted to being a substitute at Liverpool and after zero goals in five appearances, he was sold to VfB Stuttgart the next season. He had actually claimed to be quicker than Michael Owen when he first arrived. He certainly was quicker to leave though.
9 Chris Kirkland
He joined Liverpool in 2001 but made only a few appearances for them. He wasn’t necessarily a bad player, he just seemed to have the worst of luck as he was always injured. Even after ousting Jerzy Dudek as first choice goalkeeper in 2002, he couldn’t keep his position as he sustained another injury. He eventually dropped to third in the pecking order after Liverpool signed a new goalkeeper.
In 2005, he decided to join West Brom on loan after Pepe Reina’s arrival moved him to fourth choice. Despite having been regarded as a promising young keeper, he only managed to get one England senior cap. Things could have turned out differently had he not been so prone to injury.
8 Andriy Voronin
Voronin joined Liverpool from Bayer Leverkusen on a free transfer in February of 2007, after he had performed relatively well for a couple of Bundesliga clubs. He turned out to be quite clumsy as he often lost out on one on one situations. He scored just six goals in his first season and was loaned out to Hertha BSC in the next. He didn’t score at all when he went back to Liverpool for the next season and was sold for £4 million to Dynamo Moscow in January 2010. The only positive thing is that Liverpool managed to make a profit off him.
7 Antonio Nunez
He is best remembered for being part of the swap deal that sent Michael Owen to Real Madrid in August 2004. Madrid clearly got the better end of the deal as Nunez turned out to be an absolute bust. He actually injured his knee in his first day of training and was out for three months. He did little else when he came back and scored only one goal during his time at Liverpool.
His only achievement was winning the Champions League, courtesy of being on the bench of course. It’s unbelievable that Liverpool agreed to receive only £8 million and this guy for Owen.
6 Fernando Morientes
He joined Liverpool in January 2005 from Real Madrid in a much hyped move. This was due to his impressive goal scoring form at Madrid with whom he had won the Champions League three times. Unfortunately, only the madridistas got to see the best of him. Despite showing some glimpses of his quality, he had trouble finding the back of the net. He was also unfortunate to have been cup tied thus missing out on their Champions League victory that year.
After 12 goals in 60 appearances, he was sold to Valencia having lasted 18 months at Liverpool. He regained some of his good form in Valencia which proves that he just couldn’t adapt to the Premier League.
5 Joe Cole
He joined Liverpool from Chelsea on a free transfer in July 2010. Steven Gerrard soon claimed he was as good as Lionel Messi, a statement he obviously came to regret. Cole was sent off in the first half in his debut which perhaps foreshadowed how his time at Liverpool would be. He had sustained a lot of injuries during his latter years at Chelsea and was clearly past his best.
He was loaned to Lille the following season. He currently plays for Coventry City on loan from Aston Villa and has become a perfect example of a player who hasn’t lived up to his potential.
4 Robbie Keane
Keane’s time at Liverpool will forever be a mystery. After an impressive run with Tottenham, Liverpool swooped in and bought him in July 2008. He was supposed to form a partnership with Fernando Torres but this didn’t work out. Steven Gerrard was deployed as a no. 10 and was able to form the desired partnership with Torres instead. There was no place for him in the team and six months later, he was sold back to Tottenham but wasn’t as good as he had been before. He currently plays in the MLS for L.A. Galaxy and has been quite impressive.
3 El Hadji Diouf
He is quite possibly the most detestable of the bunch. He signed for Liverpool ahead of the 2002 World Cup, where he went on to impress with Senegal who reached the quarter final. This excited the Liverpool fans who were also pleased with the two goals he scored in his first home game.
The goals then became scarce and he gained a bad reputation after he spat at a Celtic fan. His lack of goals made him the only no. 9 in Liverpool to ever finish a season without scoring. He was loaned to Bolton Wanderers in 2004 having gotten more cards than goals. No one was unhappy about this.
2 Andy Carroll
Carroll joined Liverpool on the same day as Luis Suarez in January 2011. He was to replace Fernando Torres who had moved to Chelsea on the same day. Newcastle managed to pull off the ultimate heist by selling him for £35 million, then a record fee for a British footballer. He managed to score only 11 goals over one and a half seasons and was loaned to West Ham who later bought him for £15 million. He occasionally plays for them when he’s not on the treatment table. As far as mistakes go, this was a very expensive one for Liverpool.
1 Paul Konchesky
The left back joined Liverpool in August 2010 when Roy Hodgson decided to move with him from Fulham. He turned out to be as confused as Hodgson must have been when he signed him for he never seemed to know where to position himself. The only defending he was involved in occurred when his mum decided to stick up for him on Facebook by calling Liverpool fans scum after another of his poor displays. Not a good idea considering the fans already disliked him.
Kenny Dalglish’s arrival saw him sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest in January 2011, and sold to Leicester City at the end of the season. He is currently on loan at QPR and doesn’t seem any better. The mere mention of his name is bound to give the Kopites more headaches than the memory of Steven Gerrard’s famous slip.