Over the years, Liverpool Football Club has seen many wonderful players play in the red shirt. Local hero Steven Gerrard captained the club for the majority of his time at Anfield. Fernando Torres set the Premier League alight following his move from Atletico Madrid whilst Luis Suarez is regarded by many as the best striker in world football.
However, with all the success stories comes the transfer flops; whose moves to Liverpool just did not work out.
We take a look at the worst Liverpool XI of the 21st century…
Goalkeeper – Charles Itandje
Cameroon international, Charles Itandje, signed for Liverpool in the summer of 2007 as Rafael Benitez sought cover for Pepe Reina. He made his first appearance for the Reds in the League Cup against Reading but found himself transfer listed just one year after signing for the club. His exit became an inevitability after Itandje was caught laughing during the Hillsborough memorial which resulted in a 14-day suspension. The goalkeeper was eventually released and joined Greek side Atromitos.
Right-Back – Philipp Degen
Swiss defender, Philipp Degen was another player to arrive during Benitez’s time as manager and signed a four-year-deal at Anfield following the expiration of his contract with Borussia Dortmund. The deal was seen as shrewd business but Degen was dogged with injuries in England. He broke two ribs and punctured a lung during his competitive debut then suffered a broken metatarsal in his first game back from injury. Following another metatarsal injury, the defender was released and returned to Basel.
Centre-Back – Djimi Traore
Despite lifting a number of trophies during his seven years at the club, which included a Champions League winners medal, Djimi Traore will probably be remembered best by his calamitous own-goal against Burnley. Gerard Houllier brought the defender to the club and the Mali international made over 141 appearances for the Reds before leaving for Charlton. He also enjoyed spells with Portsmouth, Rennes, Birmingham, Monaco, Marseille and Seattle Sounders.
Centre-Back – Sebastian Coates
Liverpool fought off interest in Uruguayan defender Sebastian Coates in 2011 and secured his signature from Nacional for around £7m. He made his debut in a 4-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and lifted the Capital One Cup in his first season at the club. Although he scored a sensational bicycle kick against Queens Park Rangers, Coates struggled to break into the first-team. He eventually left for Sunderland but more inconsistent defending saw the 25-year-old loaned to Sporting Lisbon.
Left-Back – Paul Konchesky
Former Fulham defender, Paul Konchesky, was one of the many failed signings during Roy Hodgson’s reign as Liverpool manager. The former England manager allowed Emiliano Insua to leave on loan to Galatasaray and signed Konchesky as his replacement for around £3m. The defender was heavily criticised after a number of defensive mistakes and soon fell out-of-favour when Kenny Daglish took over at the club. He eventually joined Leicester in 2011 for an undisclosed fee.
Centre Midfield – Jay Spearing
Jay Spearing made his name in the Liverpool youth academy and successfully progressed to the first-team after being handed a professional contract by Benitez. Although Spearing racked up 55 appearances at Anfield, he was often identified as the weak link in the team and many felt he lacked the quality to play in Liverpool’s midfield alongside players such as Gerrard and Xabi Alonso. Spearing was finally moved on by Brendan Rodgers who accepted an offer from Bolton for his services meaning the Englishman ended his Liverpool career without ever scoring a goal.
Centre Midfield – Christian Poulsen
The majority of Liverpool fans aren’t big fans of Hodgson following his poor spell in charge and some poor signings that went with it. Arguably the worst signing of his reign was Christian Poulsen who was bought for £4.5m from Juventus. The Danish midfielder’s arrival meant Hodgson was happy to let fan favourite, Javier Mascherano, leave for Barcelona much to the dismay of the Anfield faithful. Poulsen did little to heal the wounds as he was simply too slow to match the pace of the Premier League. He was eventually sold to French side Evian.
Right Midfield – Antonio Nunez
Remarkably, Antonio Nunez is another Anfield reject who managed to earn a Champions League medal as he took his place on the bench during that historic night in Istanbul. The Spaniard arrived in the deal that saw Michael Owen leave for Real Madrid. His time on Merseyside was plagued with injuries and inconsistent performances. He eventually moved back to Spain destined for Celta Vigo after failing to impress Benitez.
Left Midfield – Stewart Downing
Considering former England international Stewart Downing was signed from Aston Villa for around £20m, many fans would have expected much more from the winger. The Middlesbrough man failed to score or register an assist in 36 Premier League appearances during his debut season meaning he was heavily criticised by the fans. He finally scored his first league goal in December 2012 but was deemed surplus to requirements following another poor season and was sold to West Ham for just £5m.
Striker – Andriy Voronin
Ukrainian forward, Andriy Voronin, joined the Reds on a free transfer in 2007 following a few successful seasons with various clubs in the Bundesliga. Although Voronin made a solid start to his Liverpool career, fans soon became disillusioned with the striker’s performances as a number of chances went begging. He managed just 6 goals in 27 appearances in one season with the Reds before moving back to Germany with Hertha Berlin.
Striker – El-Hadji Diouf
El-Hadji Diouf is one of the most hated strikers not only in Liverpool but across England. Following the 2002 World Cup, Houllier spent £10m to bring the Senegalese forward to Anfield. Following some poor displays, Diouf controversially spat at Celtic fans during a UEFA Cup match and was fined by the club. The forward’s troubles in front of goal continued and so did his disciplinary issues. Liverpool legend, Jamie Carragher, was also heavily critical of the striker who eventually left for Bolton Wanderers.
Who do you think was Liverpool’s worst player of the 21st century? Comment below