Liverpool’s €1.6billion road back to the top: All the stars, false dawns and flops of the Reds’ 30-year title journey

When Don Hutchison signed for Kenny Dalglish in November 1990, he joined a team of serial league champions who saw no reason why their reign wouldn’t continue.

ast-forward 30 years to last Wednesday when Liverpool will finally got their hands on the Premier League trophy having spent €1.3billion in making the dream come true.

For a long time, Jordan Henderson looked like he would join dozens of the 203 players signed by Liverpool since they last won the title who would flop in the heat of Anfield but, in the last couple of seasons, has become one of the club’s most successful captains.

Across three decades, there have been many themes to the transfer dealings with players seemingly bought in bulk from Scandinavia, France, Africa, Spain or Southampton before, finally, the right formula arrived.

This list has been compiled using the transfermarkt site for fees as well as the exhaustively impressive lfc history site for appearances and goals. It contains players who signed from other clubs – rather than came through the ranks – including several who never even made a professional first-team appearance.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revels in his success after receiving a Premier League winners’ medal. The German became the first title-winning Reds boss since Kenny Dalglish. Club great Dalglish, right, was at Anfield as part of the presentation ceremony, sporting a red face mask (Paul Ellis/PA)

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revels in his success after receiving a Premier League winners’ medal. The German became the first title-winning Reds boss since Kenny Dalglish. Club great Dalglish, right, was at Anfield as part of the presentation ceremony, sporting a red face mask (Paul Ellis/PA)

The debates can rage over who was the biggest waste of money; the best free transfer; the worst of the many, many goalkeepers as well as throwing up some trivia such as who is the only player to play under Rafael Benitez, Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish, Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp. Read on to find out.

ARRIVALS 1990/91: TOTAL €2.68m

Don Hutchison (Hartlepool United) €190,000; Appearances 60 Goals 10

The first signing added to Liverpool’s 1990 title-winning squad by Kenny Dalglish but could never establish himself in first team for sustained period. Sold to West Ham in 1994 for €2m, making Liverpool a handsome profit.

Tony Cousins (Dundalk) €55,000; Appearances 0 Goals 0

A combination of a strong first team and injuries meant Cousins never broke through. Moved to Middlesbrough before fulfilling some of his potential when he returned to the League of Ireland.

Jimmy Carter (Millwall) €925,000; Appearances 8 Goals 0

One of three signings bought by Dalglish before he resigned a month later. Carter made just eight appearances before being sold to Arsenal for €500,000 eight months afterwards.

David Speedie (Coventry) €760,000; Appearances 14 Goals 6

Dalglish’s final signing in January 1991, he scored on his debut at Old Trafford then scored twice in the Merseyside derby but didn’t fit with Graeme Souness’s plans and was sold that summer.

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6 Nov 1999: Jamie Redknapp of Liverpool celebrates his goal against Derby County with team mate Michael Owen during the FA Carling Premiership match at Anfield in Liverpool, England. Liverpool won 2-0. \ Mandatory Credit: Clive Brunskill /Allsport

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6 Nov 1999: Jamie Redknapp of Liverpool celebrates his goal against Derby County with team mate Michael Owen during the FA Carling Premiership match at Anfield in Liverpool, England. Liverpool won 2-0. \ Mandatory Credit: Clive Brunskill /Allsport

Jamie Redknapp (Bournemouth) €750,000; Appearances 308 Goals 41

Dalglish’s leaving present for Liverpool’s future. A classy central midfielder who played over 300 times for the club, although a League Cup was his only piece of silverware.

ARRIVALS 91/92: TOTAL €9.4m

Dean Saunders (Derby) €3.30m; Appearances 61 Goals 25

Signed to partner compatriot Ian Rush for what was then a record fee, Saunders’ record was decent but reputation suffered with Liverpool’s sixth-placed finish. Sold to Aston Villa for €2.5m just over a year later and scored twice in beating Liverpool soon after.

Mark Wright (Derby) €2.85m; Appearances 210 Goals 9

Like every player of that era, Wright suffered by comparison to what had gone before him in terms of winning trophies; however, his solidity at the heart of their defence certainly made him value for money although injuries took their toll.

Mark Walters (Rangers) €1.5m; Appearances 124 Goals 19

Established himself in midfield in the 1992/93 season. However, new signings and some impressive young players pushed him to the fringes before being sent out on loan twice and finally sold to Southampton.

István Kozma (Dunfermline) €500,000; Appearances 10 Goals 0

A Dunfermline legend does not a Liverpool player make. Signed by Souness but the Hungarian was well out of his depth in his six top-flight appearances.

Rob Jones (Crewe) €450,000; Appearances 243 Goals 0

A solid performer who, but for injuries, could have challenged Gary Neville as England’s leading right-back. Won the FA Cup in 1992 and League Cup in 1995 but career was effectively ended by a knee injury.

Lee Jones (Wrexham) €350,000; Appearances 4 Goals 0

Suffered two broken legs in his five-year stint which restricted him to just five appearances. Played over 200 games after leaving.

Scott Paterson (Cove Rangers) €25,000; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Another player brought from Scotland by Souness. Another player who made little or no impact with no appearances in his two-year stint.

Michael Thomas (Arsenal) €225,000; Appearances 163 Goals 12

Given he’d cost Liverpool the league in 1989, this seemed a peculiar signing although the midfielder did score the opener in the 1992 FA Cup final victory before a serious Achilles injury ruled him out for over a year. Will always be remember for what he did to them, rather than what he did for them.

ARRIVALS 92/93: TOTAL €4.15m

Paul Stewart (Spurs) €2.75m; Appearances 42 Goals 3

Looked nothing like the player who had impressed at Spurs. Failed to have any real impact at Anfield and didn’t play at all in his final two years at the club. In 2016, he revealed that he had been sexually abused as a boy by his junior coach.

David James (Watford) €1.4m; Appearances 277 Goals 0

A goalkeeper remembered far more for his mistakes than his saves. The nickname of ‘Calamity’ was harsh for a player who is fourth all-time on Premier League appearance list but, having arrived at Anfield aged 21, he was meant to be one for the future but the present was often a problem.

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Former Liverpool goalkeeper David James

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Former Liverpool goalkeeper David James

Torben Piechnik (FC Copenhagen) €500,000; Appearances 24 Goals 0

Played in the final as Denmark won a shock Euro 92 title but was neither commanding in the air nor composed enough on the ball in the pace of the English top-flight. Was moved on to Aarhus in 1994.

Stig Inge Björnebye (Rosenborg BK) €650,000; Appearances 184 Goals 4

Eventually proved to be one of the more successful of the Scandinavian imports although his debut was in one of Liverpool’s most infamous defeats of the era as they lost 5-1 to Coventry. Spent six-and-a-half years at Anfield and voted in Premier League team of season in 1997.

ARRIVALS 93/94: TOTAL€8m

Neil Ruddock (Spurs) €3.0m; Appearances 152 Goals 12

By the time he arrived, Liverpool hadn’t won the league in three seasons, the longest stretch without the title in 20 years. Ruddock’s best moment came when he netted an equaliser in a famous 3-3 draw against Manchester United at Anfield when they came back from 3-0 down.

Nigel Clough (Nottm Forest) €2.75m; Appearances 44 Goals 9

Like Ruddock, his best moment came in that 3-3 draw when he scored but, also like Ruddock, suffered as Liverpool changed formation and personnel at a club that may have still thought like champions but lacked the players to back it up.

Julian Dicks (West Ham) €2.25m; Appearances 28 Goals 3

Graeme Souness’s final signing and certainly not a traditional “Liverpool player”. Quickly became clear that he wouldn’t be part of Roy Evans’s plans and was back in the bosom of West Ham within a year.

ARRIVALS 94/95: TOTAL €12.06m

Phil Babb (Coventry) €5.43m; Appearances 170 Goals 1

Arguably his most famous Anfield moment came in 1998 when he tried to clear a shot off the line and his slide was brought to a painful halt by the post between his legs. Enjoyed a couple of good seasons but, like a few players of that era, didn’t consistently deliver on the talent that was undoubtedly there. Went on to win a league and cup double with Sporting Lisbon.

John Scales (Wimbledon FC) €4.10m; Appearances 94 Goals 4

Arrived within a few days of Babb but the would-be partnership never really took off although, as part of a back three with Ruddock, there were some successful moments. After retirement, Scales looked back on the team as lacking the necessary desire and discipline by comparison to the all-conquering Manchester United.

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Dubliner Mark Kennedy in action for Liverpool

Dubliner Mark Kennedy in action for Liverpool

Mark Kennedy (Millwall) €2.05m; Appearances 21 Goals 0

Signed as the most expensive teenager in British football history but the Irish man only started five games for the club with all of his other appearances coming as a substitute. Had a long pro career after Anfield but probably lost the best years of his career there.

Michael Stensgaard (Hvidovre IF) €480,000; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Dislocated his shoulder while using an ironing board which set in motion a run of bad luck that ended his career through injury at 26.

ARRIVALS 95/96: TOTAL €19.25m

Stan Collymore (Nottm Forest) €13.0m; Appearances 81 Goals 35

“COLLYMORE CLOSING IN!” –

Martin Tyler’s commentary captured the striker’s greatest Liverpool moment with the winner in the 4-3 epic against Newcastle. Seemed the perfect foil for Robbie Fowler but Evans eventually lost patience with certain off-field issues and sold him to Aston Villa for €7.7m less than two years after arriving for a British record €9.4m.

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Jason McAteer centre with the other Liverpool stars before the 1996 FA Cup final

Jason McAteer centre with the other Liverpool stars before the 1996 FA Cup final

Jason McAteer (Bolton) €6.25m; Appearances 139 Goals 6

Converted from Bolton box-to-box midfielder to right wing-back where he stormed forward with the sort of enthusiasm that you’d expect from a boyhood Liverpool fan. Far stronger going forward than back but never fitted into plans of Gerard Houllier once Frenchman took sole charge.

Stephen Pears (Middlesbrough); Free transfer; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Veteran keeper arrived from Boro after Stensgaard’s battle with his ironing board. Only ever made the bench.

ARRIVALS 96/97: TOTAL €3.65m

Patrik Berger (Borussia Dortmund) €3.50m; Appearances 196 Goals 35

A classy operator whose fee would have been higher had a deal been agreed after Euro 96 rather than before. Was unstoppable when on good form but fell out with Evans after refusing to take place on bench. Revitalised under Houllier and set up Michael Owen’s winner in 2001 FA Cup final.

Bjørn Tore Kvarme (Rosenborg BK) Free transfer; Appearances 54 Goals 0

Looked solid for a while but was badly exposed in a couple of defeats which affected confidence and the trust of his manager. Gradually dwindled out of reckoning and left for Real Sociedad.

Haukur Ingi Gudnason (Keflavík ÍF) €155,000; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Pacy forward who was on the bench as Liverpool beat West Ham and Arsenal 5-0 and 4-0. That he didn’t get a run-out told its own story.

ARRIVALS 97/98: TOTAL €18.95m

Paul Ince (Inter) €6.3m; Appearances 81 Goals 17

The type of “winner” it seemed Liverpool needed when he was picked up from Inter Milan, Ince enjoyed support from Roy Evans but was bombed out by Houllier whose behaviour, according to Ince, was “disgraceful”. Highlight was an equaliser against former club Manchester United to earn draw at Anfield.

Öyvind Leonhardsen (Wimbledon FC) €5.25m; Appearances 49 Goals 7

A winger best described as “industrious” at a club where they were used to sparkle. Solid but unspectacular time at Anfield.

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Danny Murphy in action for Liverpool

Danny Murphy in action for Liverpool

Danny Murphy (Crewe Alexandra) €3.0m; Appearances 249 Goals 44

A player who, looking back, never fully established himself making it slightly surprising he played so many games. Not much pace but lots of class and scored three goals in three 1-0 wins at Old Trafford to forever make him a fan favourite.

Karl-Heinz Riedle (Bor Dortmund) €2.5m; Appearances 76 Goals 15

A Champions League winner with Borussia Dortmund but never looked anything but a back-up striker once he moved to Liverpool if everyone was fit.

Brad Friedel (Columbus Crew) €1.5m; Appearances 31 Goals 0

Another in a long list of goalkeepers whose potential was clear but who delivered on it away from Anfield. Competed with David James for starting spot but couldn’t establish himself when given the chance.

Jörgen Nielsen (Hvidovre IF) €400,000; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Danish goalkeeper who watched from the bench as Steve Staunton took the gloves following Sander Westerveld’s red card against Everton. Liverpool had already used their three subs although Nielsen’s jersey did at least make an appearance.

ARRIVALS 98/99: TOTAL €15.1m

Vegard Heggem (Rosenborg BK) €5.20m; Appearances 65 Goals 3

Another on the well-trodden path from Scandanavia to Anfield, the Norwegian right-back never established himself either because of injury or lack of form.

Rigobert Song (Salernitana) €3.69m; Appearances 38 Goals 0

Committed was a good word to describe the Cameroonian defender, composed was not. Firmly in the ‘cult hero’ category of player for the passion, if not the quality, he showed in.

Sean Dundee (Karlsruher SC) €2.75m; Appearances 5 Goals 0

Regularly picked at centre-forward in ‘worst XI’ compilations. Didn’t get much of a chance although there was probably a reason for that.

Frode Kippe (Lillestrøm SK) €1.05m; Appearances 2 Goals 0

Scandinavian. Tick. Defender. Tick. Made no impact at Anfield. Tick tick.

Djimi Traoré (Stade Lavallois) €800,000; Appearances 141 Goals 1

A regular counterpoint to any argument that medals count towards a player’s ability is that Traore won a Champions League medal. Played some amount of games for someone who was so lampooned.

Steve Staunton (Aston Villa) Free transfer; Appearances 58 Goals 1

The lesser-remembered second coming of Stan at Anfield. Although he was only 29, the powerful runs from left-back that characterised his first spell was replaced by a more solid defensive option. His 15-minute cameo in goal in Merseyside derby probably his most memorable moment.

Jean-Michel Ferri (Istanbulspor) €1.6m; Apps 2 Goals 0

Houllier’s first signing allowed for ‘Ferri Across The Mersey’ headlines but not much else.

ARRIVALS 1999/2000: TOTAL €54.5m

Emile Heskey (Leicester €16.50m); Appearances 223 Goals 60

Spoke recently of how lonely he found making the switch as a young player from Leicester to Liverpool. Michael Owen’s favourite strike partner for his selflessness, a trait which made him popular with team-mates but, ultimately, may have stopped him fulfilling his potential.

Dietmar Hamann (Newcastle €12m); Appearances 283 Goals 11

The 2005 Champions League final made him the greatest supersub since David Fairclough. Minded the house in midfield allowing the likes of Steven Gerrard to rampage and was typically composed in possession. A great piece of business.

Vladimir Smicer (Lens €6.80m); Appearances 184 Goals 19

If he didn’t do anything else, a goal in the club’s most famous Champions League final, plus a successful penalty in the shoot-out make him a hero. And, really, he didn’t do much else and only completed a full game in 27 of his 184 appearances.

Sander Westerveld (Vitesse) €6m; Appearances 103 Goals 0

The latest answer to a decade-long problem, his most famous moment was arguably getting involved in a proper fight with Francis Jeffers. Solid goalkeeper but, like many before and after, wasn’t at the elite level. Writing was on wall when Houllier signed not one, but two, new goalkeepers.

Stephane Henchoz (Blackburn) €5.4m; Appearances 205 Goals 0

Made the save of the match in the 2001 FA Cup final even though he wasn’t playing in goal when his handball denied Thierry Henry and a certain goal and then repeated the feat in the second half. Would have been sent off twice with VAR. Solid performer who rarely let anyone down.

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Sami Hyypia. Photo: Clive Rose, Getty Images

Sami Hyypia. Photo: Clive Rose, Getty Images

Sami Hyypia (Willem II) €3.9m; Appearances 464 Goals 35

In an outstanding year of business, this might have been the best of all. The Finn was a totem at the heart of Liverpool’s defence with either Henchoz or Jamie Carragher. Dominant in the air and, although not the quickest from A to B, his positional sense meant he rarely started at ‘A’.

Titi Camara (Marseille) €3.9m; Appearances 33 Goals 9

An explosive but inconsistent talent. Scored a goal at Anfield on the day his father passed away. Fell out with Houllier and left for West Ham.

Erik Meijer (Bayer Leverkusen); Free transfer; Apps 27 Goals 2

A back-up striker who seemed popular with team-mates and fans due to his attitude if not his performances.

ARRIVALS 2000/01: TOTAL €34m

Nick Barmby (Everton) €9m; Appearances 59 Goals 8

The first player to go from blue to red in Liverpool since 1959, Barmby’s goal against Everton made him an instant hit. Enjoyed a 20-year professional career but injuries and loss of form meant he wasn’t at his best at Anfield.

Christian Ziege (Middlesbrough) €9m; Appearances 32 Goals 2

One of those baffling non-success stories for a player who seemed to tick every box in terms of experience, quality and knowledge of English football but just never seemed to fit and was moved on within a season.

Igor Biscan (Dinamo Zagreb) €8.25m; Appearances 118 Goals 2

Another player signed by Houllier but who seemed to perform best under the strict guidance of Benitez. Behind Didi Hammann in midfield pecking order but, like several players on this list, ticks the cult hero box as time goes by.

Bernard Diomède (AJ Auxerre) €4.5m; Apps 5 Goals 0

A French international when he arrived, he did little other than jump the queue ahead of a few frustrated youngsters.

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Former Liverpool football stars Steven Gerrard (C), Patrik Berger (L), John Aldridge (2nd-L), Jamie Carragher (C) and Gary McAllister (R) applaud the fans after playing for Liverpool Legends against Australian Legends in an exhibition football game at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on January 7, 2016. AFP PHOTO / Peter PARKS IMAGE STRICTLY FOR EDITORIAL USE – STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USEPETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Former Liverpool football stars Steven Gerrard (C), Patrik Berger (L), John Aldridge (2nd-L), Jamie Carragher (C) and Gary McAllister (R) applaud the fans after playing for Liverpool Legends against Australian Legends in an exhibition football game at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on January 7, 2016. AFP PHOTO / Peter PARKS IMAGE STRICTLY FOR EDITORIAL USE – STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USEPETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Gary McAllister (Coventry) Free; Appearances 87 Goals 9

Arguably only rivalled by James Milner in the ‘best free transfers’ category of this list, the Scot arrived at Anfield aged 35 but contributed hugely in his two seasons. Regularly name-checked by Steven Gerrard as a shining example to the young players at the club. A 45-yard, injury-time winner against Everton also helped his popularity.

Grégory Vignal (Montpellier) €750,000; Appearances 20 Goals 0

Started strongly but never recovered from breaking his foot as others raced past him in the pecking order before settling into a nomadic career.

Markus Babbel (Bayern Munich) Free transfer; Appearances 73 Goals 6

Looked set to be Liverpool’s full-back for several years after a strong first couple of seasons but was diagnosed with Guillan-Barre syndrome which changed him as a player. Did superbly well to battle back to full fitness but was never the same.

Jari Litmanen (Barcelona) Free transfer; Appearances 43 Goals 9

A little like Riedle, there was excitement about the player Litmanen was rather than the player he had become. Nearly 30, and with ankle issues, the Finn occasionally contributed but his best days were behind him.

Pegguy Arphexad (Leicester) Free transfer; Appearances 6 Goals 0

Impressed at Leicester and moved to Anfield as cover for Sander Westerveld. Never anything more than a back up.

ARRIVALS 2001/02: TOTAL €31.56m

Chris Kirkland (Coventry) €8.2m; Appearances 45 Goals 0

Stop us if you’ve heard this before – a goalkeeper bought for the future but whose lack of game-time stumped his development, mainly due the fact that they signed 28-year-old Jerzy Dudek at the same time. A bizarre move that was a bad idea in both foresight and hindsight although Kirkland wasn’t helped by injury.

Jerzy Dudek (Feyenoord) €7.4m; Appearances 186 Goals 0

Like every member of the 2005 squad – apart from Harry Kewell – his Istanbul performance overarches his Liverpool career with saves in the shoot-out and in extra-time from Andriy Shevchenko cementing his legendary status. Writing was on the wall once Pepe Reina arrived.

Milan Baros (Banik Ostrava) €7m; Appearances 108 Goals 27

Energetic and powerful but probably lacking the composure of an elite striker. The fact that nearly half of his appearances came off the bench tells its own story.

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Didi Hamann and John Arne Riise

Didi Hamann and John Arne Riise

John Arne Riise (Monaco) €6.36m; Appearances 348 Goals 31

The Norwegian scored a rocket of a free-kick against Manchester United in a superb first season to immediately establish himself as a fan favourite. Flew up the wing but was less effective going the other way. The only player to miss a penalty in the Istanbul shoot-out, but it’s a measure of his popularity that it’s barely remembered.

Nicolas Anelka (Paris SG) Loan fee: €1.40m; Appearances 22 Goals 5

Every manager who signed Anelka knew he’d be getting a star if he could keep him focussed. Gerard Houllier gave it a go, on loan, with relative success but decided against a permanent deal. One of Anelka’s five English clubs.

Abel Xavier (Everton) €1.20m; Appearances 21 Goals 2

Followed Barmby from Everton to Liverpool and, although he scored on his debut, never established himself at full back where his positional sense often left something to be desired.

El-Hadji Diouf (Lens) €15m; Appearances 80 Goals 6

Starred for Senegal at the 2002 World Cup which brought plenty of optimism for his arrival, as did two goals on his debut. Four more goals in 79 further appearances, however, proved to be closer to reality. Spitting issues didn’t help his cause.

Salif Diao (CS Sedan) €7.5m; Appearances 61 Goals 3

“With Salif, I knew after a week of training that he wasn’t going to be good enough,” Gerrard wrote in his book and if either Gerrard or Jamie Carragher had doubts, it would be an uphill battle. Possibly the best of a particularly bad year of recruitment.

Bruno Cheyrou (Lille) €6.5m; Appearances 48 Goals 5

Houllier seemed to see something in him that nobody else did, a trend which continued during his disappointment time at Anfield.

Anthony Le Tallec (Le Havre U19) €2.5m; Appearances 32 Goals 1

Among the best players at the 2001 U17 World Cup, Houllier hoped he would have the same impact as a young Nicolas Anelka but, unlike at Arsenal, Le Tallec found chances to shine few and far between. Never got near his potential.

Alou Diarra (Bayern Munich) Free; Appearances 0 Goals 0

He came, he saw, he went out on loan. Won 44 caps for France, none of which came because of what he did at Anfield.

Patrice Luzi (AC Ajaccio) Free transfer; Appearances 1 Goals 0

Another of the French ‘revolution’, the goalkeeper played 13 minutes in three years, although he did keep a clean sheet as a substitute in that 1-0 win over Chelsea in 2004.

ARRIVALS 2003/2004: TOTAL €15.65m

Harry Kewell (Leeds) €10m; Appearances 139 Goals 16

Looked world-class at times at Leeds and seemed certain to add quality but injury record summed up by being forced off in three consecutive finals in 2005 and 2006.

Steve Finnan (Fulham) €5.25m; Appearances 217 Goals 1

In an era of great Irish full-backs, Finnan was in among the best. Solid in defence, composed on the ball and decent going forward he fitted in well with Benitez’s structured approach. “Seven, eight or nine out of 10 every week,” was the Spaniard’s verdict.

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Steve Finnan during his Liverpool days

Steve Finnan during his Liverpool days

Florent Sinama-Pongolle (AC Le Havre) €400,000; Appearances 66 Goals 9

Slightly more successful than Le Tallec but similar frustration of potential versus performance. Brought off the bench to add impetus on famous night at Anfield against Olympiakos.

Darren Potter (Blackburn) Free; Appearances 17 Goals 1

Irish U21 midfielder with too many good players in front of him to make an impact at Anfield.

Carl Medjani (Saint-Étienne) Free; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Signed as a teenage, the French youngster made no impact. You may have heard that one before.

ARRIVALS 2004/05: TOTAL €58.4m

Djibril Cissé (AJ Auxerre) €20m; Appearances 79 Goals 24

On paper a decent record but always felt like the needed several chances to score. Suffered two broken legs at Liverpool which, obviously, wasn’t helpful to his cause.

Xabi Alonso (Real Sociedad) €16m; Appearances 210 Goals 19

A summer of playing Gaelic Football in Meath as a child set the Spaniard up for a stellar football career – at least if legend is to be believed. Could keep a game ticking over with short passing or break it open with long ones while his tackling toughness was underrated. Scored twice from inside his half but, if we’re being churlish, the keeper fell over on one and the other was into an open goal. We are being churlish.

Fernando Morientes (Real Madrid) €9.25m; Appearances 41 Goals 8

Another striker whose best days were elsewhere, Benitez was excited by his arrival but he was gone 16 months later.

Luis García (Barcelona) €8.75m; Appearances 121 Goals 30

Scored in the last 16, quarter-final and semi-final of the 2005 Champions League run, even if Jose Mourinho would still debate the last one. Inconsistent but a threat on his day before returning to Spain after three seasons.

Josemi (Málaga) €3m; Appearances 35 Goals 0

Behind Finnan in the pecking order and, at a push, probably a couple of others. An unsuccessful 18-month spell.

Scott Carson (Leeds) €1.4m; Appearances 9 Goals 0

Like Kirkland, found his chances blocked first by Dudek, then Pepe Reina. Too good to remain a number two, he forged a solid post-Anfield career including four international caps.

Mauricio Pellegrino (Valencia); Free transfer; Appearances 13 Goals 0

Known to Benitez from his time at Valencia. Whatever it was the manager saw in him, nobody else really did.

Antonio Núñez (Real Madrid) Free transfer;

From the French revolution to the Spanish armada, Nunez was injured early having arrived from Real Madrid when Michael Owen went the opposite direction. Little or no impact.

ARRIVALS 2005/06: TOTAL €44.06m

Mohamed Sissoko (Valencia) €12m; Appearances 87 Goals 1

A La Liga winner with Valencia, he followed a well-worn path to Anfield and started well but the grind of English game seemed to take its toll as consistent performances eluded him.

Peter Crouch (Southampton) €10.50m; Appearances 134 Goals 42

Certainly in the ‘cult hero’ status of popular players who provided occasional moments of brilliance, were all-round decent professionals but, ultimately, not the type of player who was going to bring a league title.

Pepe Reina (Villarreal) €9.8m; Appearances 394 Goals 0

Before Allison, the best and most consistent goalkeeper Liverpool had over the past three decades. Arguably sold too soon.

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File photo dated 01-05-2007 of Liverpool players celebrate after Daniel Agger scores the first goal of the game (left to right) Boudewijn Zenden, Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Peter Crouch, Daniel Agger, John Arne Riise and Jermaine Pennant. Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

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File photo dated 01-05-2007 of Liverpool players celebrate after Daniel Agger scores the first goal of the game (left to right) Boudewijn Zenden, Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Peter Crouch, Daniel Agger, John Arne Riise and Jermaine Pennant. Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

Daniel Agger (Brondby) €8.76m; Appearances 232 Goals 14

When fully-fit, the Dane was a classy operator who could also mix it with some of the tougher strikers in the Premier League. Unfortunately, in four of his eight seasons at Anfield, he played fewer than half of the Premier League games but he is remembered fondly.

Mark González (Albacete) €2.50m; Appearances 36 Goals 3

Another punt for a few million that didn’t work out. Chilean scored on his debut but that was the height of it.

Besian Idrizaj (LASK) €275,000; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Austrian young player of the year when arriving at Liverpool where he made no appearances before a few loan moves. Sadly, passed away in 2010 aged just 22.

Jack Hobbs (Lincoln City) €225,000; Appearances 5 Goals 0

Has forged a successful career at Championship level but leap from Lincoln to Liverpool was too large.

Miki Roqué (UE Lleida) Free; Appearances 1 Goals 0

Made one appearance as Champions League substitute having been brought to Anfield from Spanish second division club Lleida. After loan moves he ended at Real Betis, however, was diagnosed with cancer and passed away aged 23.

David Martin (MK Dons) Free; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Son of West Ham legend Alvin, he occasionally made the bench but spent most of his four years at Anfield on loan elsewhere.

Antonio Barragan (Sevilla) €250,000; Appearances 1 Goals 0

The right-back arrived with plenty of potential but failed to settle and was back in Spain within a year.

Boudewijn Zenden (Middlesbrough) Free transfer; Apps 47 Goals 3

His final appearance came in the 2007 Champions League final. The fact he was taken off after an hour rather summed up his two seasons at the club.

Jan Kromkamp (Villarreal) Swap; Appearances 18 Goals 0

Arrived in a swap deal with Josemi but had similarly little impact at full-back. Came on as a sub in the successful 2006 FA Cup final.

ARRIVALS 2006/07: TOTAL €46m

Dirk Kuyt (Feyenoord) €18m; Appearances 285 Goals 71

Signing a Dutch player was usually a guarantee of outstanding technique, however, what Kuyt lacked in that category he more than made up for in work-rate. Ploughed up and down the right wing for most of his six years and chipped in with some critical goals plus a 2011 hat-trick against United from a cumulative total of six yards.

Jermaine Pennant (Birmingham) €9.1m; Appearances 81 Goals 3

Was once the most expensive teenager in British football when signed by Arsenal, enjoyed a renaissance at Birmingham which helped him move to Liverpool. Like every team who had him over the years, there were flashes of brilliance but, in the end, just not enough.

Craig Bellamy (Blackburn) €9m; Appearances 79 Goals 18

His first spell was best remembered for an incident with John Arne Riise and a golf club and the golf swing celebration after scoring against Barcelona soon after. Left after a season but returned in 2011 for a more successful second spell. A loved or loathed character.

Craig Bellamy

Álvaro Arbeloa (Dep La Coruña) €3.9m; Appearances 98 Goals 2

Reasonably solid and unspectacular full-back mostly used as a back up to either Steve Finnan or, latterly, Glen Johnson. Didn’t let anyone down but shirt was unlikely to be a big seller.

Fabio Aurelio (Valencia) free; Appearances 134 Goals 4

Played under Rafael Benitez at Valencia so knew what was expected of him with the manager but injuries rarely let him get a run of games together to show his best form. Best moment came when scoring a free-kick against United in the famous 4-1 victory at Old Trafford.

Gabriel Paletta (CA Banfield) €2.7m; Appearances 8 Goals 1

Argentinian defender who came too soon to England. In the six games he started, in an unfortunate coincidence, Liverpool conceded 16 times. Went on to forge a successful career in Italy.

Javier Mascherano (West Ham) Loan fee: €2m; Appearances 139 Goals 2

Looked lost in a strange period at West Ham but reborn under Rafael Benitez, particularly in the Alonso/Gerrard/Torres era. Occasionally lacked discipline but was a huge loss when moving to Barcelona in 2010 having secured a permanent deal to Liverpool for €22.5m.

Astrit Ajdarevic (Falkenberg) €1.2m; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Never made first team breakthrough but helped Liverpool win the 2007 FA Youth Cup, a team from which only Jay Spearing progressed.

Emiliano Insúa (Boca Juniors) Loan fee: €100,000; Appearances 62 Goals 1

Another of those “more games than you’d think” players, he arrived from Boca with Paletta going the other way. Never nailed down a first-team place and writing was on the wall when Roy Hodgson signed Paul Konchesky. Still only 31 and currently with LA Galaxy after spells in Turkey, Portugal, Spain and Germany.

ARRIVALS 2007/08: TOTAL €90.70m

Fernando Torres (Atl Madrid) €38m; Appearances 142 Goals 81

The marquee signing of the new American owners, ‘El Nino’ was lethal at his best, particularly when teamed with Steven Gerrard in a team that almost delivered the 2009 title. Began to lose form and Liverpool snapped hand off Chelsea and their £50m offer for a player who never got close to his best again.

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Fernando Torres. (PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Fernando Torres. (PA)

Ryan Babel (Ajax) €17.25m; Appearances 146 Goals 22

Signed as a 20-year-old with the world at his feet, he frustrated more than he delivered despite the sort of skill and pace that compatriot Kuyt lacked. Seemed to know what he was trying to do but, more often than not, it didn’t come off.

Martin Skrtel (Zenit S-Pb) €10m; Appearances 320 Goals 18

Liverpool’s version of Nemanja Vidic, the Slovakian formed a strong partnership with Daniel Agger who, unfortunately, didn’t have Skrtel’s luck with injuries. Uncompromising player who – other than a few too many own goals and penalty concessions – rarely let the team down.

Lucas Leiva (Grêmio) €10m; Appearances 346 Goals 7

Often the lightning rod for criticism, particularly when being compared to Alonso or Mascherano, the Brazilian stuck around and became something of a cult hero. The only man to play under Benitez, Hodgson, Dalglish, Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp, who said “the door is always open” for him to return as a coach.

Yossi Benayoun (West Ham) €7.3m; Appearances 134 Goals 29

First name resembled the ‘Boys From The Black Stuff’ character which, at least, gave him an instant nickname. Performed well for West Ham in the FA Cup final which helped him earn move to Liverpool. Tended to decorate matches rather than be hugely influential and never seemed to have full trust of Benitez.

Sebastián Leto (Lanús) €3m; Appearances 4 Goals 0

Midfielder who ticked the League Cup meaningless stages of Champions League box. Sold on to Panathinaikos for a small profit where he prospered.

Krisztián Németh (MTK Budap) €3m; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Hungarian striker who got to reserve/pre-season friendly level but never made breakthrough. Has won 37 international caps since.

Charles Itandje (Lens) €1.5m; Appearances 7 Goals 0

Goalkeeper who featured rarely and unimpressively. Best remembered for joking at the 20th anniversary service for Hillsborough, for which he was disciplined by the club.

Damien Plessis (Olympic Lyon) €500,000; Appearances 8 Goals 1

Young French midfielder who couldn’t get past the stiff competition in front of him. Scored in the League Cup against Spurs.

Nikolay Mihaylov (Levski Sofia) €150,000; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Goalkeeping son of Bulgaria’s 1994 stopper Borislav who struggled initially with work permit issues before leaving on loan, and then permanently, for Twente in Holland.

Ryan Crowther (Stockport) Free; Appearances 0 Goals 0

A peculiar career which reads Stockport, Liverpool, Stalybridge Celtic, various non-league teams. A winger who never really got a chance.

Andriy Voronin (Bay Leverkusen) Free; Appearances 40 Goals 0

Ukrainian striker whose ponytail stood out more than his performances. Hard-working but lacked the required quality.

ARRIVALS 2008/09: TOAL €71.45m

Robbie Keane (Spurs) €24m; Appearances 28 Goals 7

One of the more bizarre transfers on this list. His ratio of goals was decent, he cost a lot of money, he was sold back to Spurs at a loss in the next transfer window. Far worse players were kept for far longer.

Javier Mascherano (West Ham) €22.5m; (See 06/07)

Albert Riera (Espanyol) €9.80m; Appearances 56 Goals 5

Another player signed by Benitez but who didn’t seem to be on the same wavelength as the manager. “You cannot help but think it must be something personal,” was Riera’s take on it, which earned him a nice fine.

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Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez unveils two new signings Philipp Degen (left) and Andrea Dossena back in 2008

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez unveils two new signings Philipp Degen (left) and Andrea Dossena back in 2008

Andrea Dossena (Udinese) €9m; Appearances 31 Goals 2

Signed as a replacement for John Arne Riise, the Italian lacked the end product of his predecessor, albeit he scored the final goal in a famous 4-1 victory at Old Trafford.

Diego Cavalieri (Palmeiras) €4.40m; Appearances 10 Goals 0

The Brazilian was no threat to Pepe Reina and eventually returned home where he enjoyed some success with Fluminense as well as earning three international caps.

David N’Gog (Paris SG) €1.5m; Appearances 94 Goals 19

Like Lucas, something of a lightning rod for criticism of the direction the club was going when he got a run of games following the departure of Fernando Torres.

Péter Gulács (MTK) €250,000; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Another Hungarian who made no impact, the goalkeeper has established himself as RB Leipzig’s number one in recent seasons.

Philipp Degen (Bor. Dortmund) Free; Appearances 13 Goals 0

The Swiss right-back never got much of a run of games, although there may have been good reason for that.

ARRIVALS 2009/10: TOTAL €43.50m

Glen Johnson (Portsmouth) €20.50m Appearances 200 Goals 9

Solid performer who arrived to replace Steve Finnan. When fit, he made the position his own and gave five solid years of service before moving to Stoke City on a Free.

Alberto Aquilani(AS Roma) €20m; Appearances 28 Goals 2

Suffered by being compared unfavourably to the departed Xabi Alonso, the midfielder arrived with an injury which meant he hit the ground limping and never really recovered to make any impression other than being a very expensive mistake.

Sotiris Kyrgiakos (AEK Athens) €3m; Appearances 49 Goals 3

No-nonsense defender who was strong enough in the air but lacked pace near the highest level. Had to get ahead of Carragher, Agger and Skrtel which was a tough task.

Maxi Rodríguez (Atl Madrid) Free; Appearances 73 Goals 17

“Maxi … Maxi Rodríguez runs down the wing for me da da da da dada,” to the tune of ‘HeartBeat’ it was a signing that was worth it just for the chant. Featured most under Kenny Dalgish but, at 29, probably signed for Liverpool when just past his best.

ARRIVALS 2010/11: TOTAL €97.73

Andy Carroll (Newcastle) €41m; Apps 58 Goals 11

Signed as the most expensive British player in history, the Geordie striker might have had a chance had Kenny Dalglish stayed but, once Brendan Rodgers took over, Carroll’s days were numbered even if he rarely looked the part in the first place. Being compared to the man he signed alongside didn’t help either.

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Kenny Dalglish with Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez. Picture: REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Kenny Dalglish with Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez. Picture: REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Luis Suárez (Ajax) €26.5m; Appearances 133 Goals 82

Hard to know where to start. The goals, the biting, the dynamism, the racism, the brilliance all went into making one of the best players in the history of the club. Made one appearance fewer than Peter Crouch but, in a relatively short time, became an icon. No season summed up him or his time quite like 2013/14 when he was, serving the final five of his 10 game ban, then scored 31 goals and assisted 17 but Liverpool fell just short.

Raúl Meireles (FC Porto) €13m; Appearances 44 Goals 5

Voted Fans’ Player of the Year in 2011 which isn’t quite the honour it sounds but improved drastically once Dalglish took over from Hodgson. Felt like a loss when he moved to Chelsea.

Christian Poulsen (Juventus) €5.48m; Appearances 21 Goals 0

Emblematic of the brief Hodgson reign, the Danish midfielder never got used to English football and never looked like he would either.

Paul Konchesky (Fulham) €4.2m; Appearances 18 Goals 0

Julian Dicks for slow learners. Signed from a ‘lesser’ English club by an increasingly unpopular manager he never looked like a traditional Liverpool player. “The team are crap. Never should have left Fulham,” was Konchesky’s mother’s take in a Facebook post. She was probably right.

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Brad Jones signed a new contract at Liverpool in 2012

EMPICS Sport

Brad Jones signed a new contract at Liverpool in 2012

Brad Jones (Middlesbrough) €2.8m; Appearances 27 Goals 0

“I let him go 10 years ago – two games, he played. The only games I managed him in, he let in four goals,” was Dermot Keely’s memories of Jones’s time with Shelbourne where he was on loan from Middlesbrough as a 19-year-old. The Australian was a reasonable back-up keeper at Anfield and briefly number one as Brendan Rodgers grew frustrated with Simon Mignolet.

Danny Wilson (Rangers) €2.75m; Appearances 9 Goals 0

Another couple of million punted on a defender who never looked like making it. Returned to Scotland permanently once his three-year deal ended.

Jonjo Shelvey (Charlton) €2m; Appearances 69 Goals 7

As he has done throughout his career, there were flashes from Shelvey to show why he was so highly-sought. Unfortunately, there were more flashes of the errors which were the reason he didn’t make it at Anfield.

Milan Jovanovic (Standard Liège) Free; Appearances 18 Goals 2

Agreed to join Liverpool under Rafael Benitez but the manager was gone by the time the Serb arrived. Wasn’t helped by the upheaval at the time but rarely impressed anyway.

Joe Cole (Chelsea) Free; Appearances 42 Goals 5

First home game: Sent off after 45 minutes; second home game: Missed penalty. In a different time for the club or Cole, he could have been a fan favourite. Instead, he cost them a fortune in wages for little in return.

ARRIVALS 2011/12: TOTAL €66.53m

Stewart Downing (Aston Villa) €22.80m; Appearances 91 Goals 7

“Stewart is a better player than I thought he was going to be,” was Kenny Dalglish’s assessment of a player signed seemingly to provide Andy Carroll with ammunition. When Carroll’s days were numbered under Rodgers, so too were Downing’s.

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Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has been named the Football Writers Association Footballer of the Year. John Walton/PA Wire.

PA

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has been named the Football Writers Association Footballer of the Year. John Walton/PA Wire.

Jordan Henderson (Sunderland) €18million; Appearances 362 Goals 28

Liverpool’s first league title winning captain in 30 years. A sentence that, if predicted after his first couple of seasons, would have had you laughed out of the room. Progressed under Rodgers and went stratospheric under Klopp with dynamism that exemplifies Liverpool’s current midfield.

Charlie Adam (Blackpool) €8.4m; Appearances 37 Goals 2

Another signing in an era of more misses than hits, Adam showed occasional flashes but required week-in, week-out quality needed at Anfield, compared to previous club Blackpool, was never really there.

Sebastián Coates (Nacional) €8m; Appearances 24 Goals 2

Centre-half who couldn’t make the breakthrough despite a his 6’5” presence. Left for Sunderland before really establishing himself in Portugal.

José Enrique (Newcastle) €8m; Appearances 99 Goals 2

Initially popular under Brendan Rodgers, the left-sided player fell down the pecking order as injuries, loss of form and seeming loss of interest took their toll. Released on a free by Klopp.

João Carlos Teixeira (Sporting) €1.2m; Appearances 8 Goals 1

Signed having impressed against Liverpool’s youth team, the Portuguese didn’t make the step up but has had a decent career back home.

Danny Ward (Wrexham) €125,000; Appearances 3 Goals 0

Welsh goalkeeper who finally exited once Alisson Becker arrived. Spent most of his time at Liverpool on loan elsewhere before Leicester paid an astonishing €13.5m for him in 2018. He has yet to play a Premier League game for them.

Craig Bellamy (Man City) Free (See 06/07)

Doni (AS Roma) Free; Appearances 4 Goals 0

Another back up goalkeeper from Brazil. Had to retire in 2013 due to cardiovascular disease.

ARRIVALS 2012/13: TOTAL €70.60m

Joe Allen (Swansea) €19m; Appearances 132 Goals 7

Wasn’t helped by the moniker ‘Xavi of the Valleys’ but, a little like Danny Murphy, played more games than you’d remember based on a game of relative simplicity. Followed Brendan Rodgers from Swansea and, a little like his manager, his quality was clear but just not quite at the absolute top level.

Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea) €15m; Appearances 160 Goals 67

Signed for Liverpool at the age of 23 having already been at Manchester City and Chelsea and, for one season at least, was the player everyone knew he could be when fully fit. Formed a partnership with Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling which almost ended Liverpool’s title drought in 2014. Since then, it seems he has been more injured than not.

Fabio Borini (AS Roma) €13.3m; Appearances 38 Goals 3

Arrived as Dirk Kuyt departed but failed to have anything like the impact. Had a decent spell on loan at Sunderland where he eventually left permanently after a disappointing spell.

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Liverpool cut a good deal for Philippe Coutinho, selling a player who wanted to leave and replacing him seamlessly. Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Liverpool cut a good deal for Philippe Coutinho, selling a player who wanted to leave and replacing him seamlessly. Photo: PA

Philippe Coutinho (Inter) €13m; Appearances 201 Goals 54

Arguably Liverpool’s most important signing in the last decade, not just because of his own bargain price and regular superb contribution but the fact they got €100m from Barcelona for him helped them finance the signings of Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker.

Nuri Sahin (Real Madrid) Loan fee: €5m; Appearances 12 Goals 3

Long linked with Arsenal while at Dortmund before eventually going to Spain. Showed nothing at Anfield to suggest Arsene Wenger missed out.

Oussama Assaidi (Heerenveen) €4m; Appearances 12 Goals 0

Winger who arrived with Allen and Borini but made precious little impact before being sent out on loan to Stoke.

Samed Yesil (Bay. Leverkusen) €1.3m; Appearances 2 Goals 0

Signed after a prodigious goalscoring record with Leverkusen’s youth team but two ACL injuries at Anfield ended his hopes of progressing there.

ARRIVALS 2013/14: TOTAL €56.9

Mamadou Sakho (Paris SG) €19m; Appearances 80 Goals 3

In the last few years since moving to Crystal Palace, he has shown glimpses of the talent made Liverpool sign him and the errors which meant he wouldn’t make it. A few disciplinary issues didn’t endear him to Jurgen Klopp before he was shipped to Selhurst Park for a small profit.

Iago Aspas (Celta de Vigo) €10.8m; Appearances 15 Goals 1

Most famous moment was a mis-hit corner against Chelsea in the ‘Gerrard slip’ game against Chelsea, a moment which rather summed up his brief spell at Anfield.

Simon Mignolet (Sunderland) €10.6m; Appearances 204 Goals 0

The latest answer to Liverpool’s goalkeeping problems, the Belgian arrived from Sunderland and initially performed well before his own confidence and that of those around him evaporated. Dropped at various stages for Adam Bogdan, Brad Jones and Loris Karius which probably says it all.

Luis Alberto (Sevilla FC) €8m; Appearances 12 Goals 0

A dud at Liverpool who didn’t adapt to the English game, he is now a key part of the Lazio team pushing Juventus all the way in the race for the Serie A title.

Tiago Ilori (Sporting CP) €7.5m; Appearances 3 Goals 0

Another few million punted away on a player who was gone back on loan almost as soon as he arrived.

Victor Moses (Chelsea) Loan fee: €1.2m; Appearances 22 Goals 2

Taken on loan to help out on Liverpool’s right side, the Nigerian added solidity but not enough to follow up with a permanent move. In a twist which nobody saw coming, he returned to Chelsea via loans at Stoke and West Ham to become a critical part of Antonio Conte’s Premier League winning Chelsea team.

Aly Cissokho ( Valencia) Loan fee: €1m; Appearances 19 Goals 0

A bit-part player who didn’t impress enough to get a deal at Liverpool, however, he did get a four-year one at Aston Villa, where he fell out of favour with various managers.

Kolo Touré (Man City) Free transfer; Appearances 71 Goals 1

A cult hero’s cult hero who was signed as defensive cover. Always enthusiastic but lacking the same pace when in his Arsenal prime that made him increasingly prone to errors. Along with his brother, part of catchy fans’ chant.

ARRIVALS 2014/15: TOTAL €151.43m

Adam Lallana (Southampton) €3m; Appearances 178 Goals 22

The first big money move in the ‘Southampton era’ of Liverpool signings, the midfielder hasn’t been a roaring success but hasn’t failed either. Much like his style, he has rather floated in and out of the side without ever nailing down a guaranteed first-team spot.

Dejan Lovren (Southampton) €25.3m; Appearances 185 Goals 8

Looked an outstanding player at Southampton, although he tended to make mistakes without the spotlight which goes with making them at Liverpool. Not helped by uncertainty of goalkeeper position for first couple of seasons but contributed to that himself. Now third or fourth choice.

Lazar Markovic (Benfica) €25m; Appearances 34 Goals 3

Losing Luis Suarez was one thing, wasting the money on players like Markovic was something different. Part of the second-phase unravelling of Brendan Rodgers’ tenure.

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Mario Balotelli started just 14 games for Liverpool, costing £10,000 a minute. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Getty Images

Mario Balotelli started just 14 games for Liverpool, costing £10,000 a minute. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Mario Balotelli (AC Milan) €20m; Appearances 28 Goals 4

The moment when everyone knew panic had set in. Was only 24 when signed by Rodgers who, like every manager, knew he would have an incredible player if he could get him to focus. He didn’t and he couldn’t.

Alberto Moreno (Sevilla FC) €18m; Appearances 141 Goals 3

Started well under Rodgers but fell further and further down the pecking order as fitness and injury issues took hold. Released by Klopp when his contract expired last year.

Divock Origi (LOSC Lille) €12.63m; Appearances 137** Goals 33

Always had potential but would have been a stretch to suggest he’d score a goal as part of a Champions League winning team as he was against Tottenham last year. Had become a decent Plan B option for Klopp.

Emre Can (Bay. Leverkusen) €12m; Appearances 167 Goals 14

A classy midfielder who perhaps lacked the energy and mobility demanded by Jurgen Klopp. Still looked to be a loss when he went on a free at the end of his contract to Juventus but they have haven’t missed him much.

Rickie Lambert (Southampton) €5.5m; Appearances 36 Goals 3

Probably couldn’t believe his luck when, at 32 years old, Liverpool came calling. He was, in theory, something different for Rodgers but never looked likely to be good enough for the level required.

Javier Manquillo (Atl Madrid) Loan fee: €2m; Appearances 19 Goals 0

Never established himself under Rodgers but has had a decent career with Newcastle in the past couple of seasons.

Kevin Stewart (Spurs) Free; Appearances 20 Goals 0

Released by Spurs, the defender impressed enough to be awarded a four-year deal before being sold to Hull City for €6million halfway through it.

ARRIVALS 2015/16: TOTAL €126.50m

Christian Benteke (A Villa) €46.5m; Appearances 42 Goals 10

Like some who went before him, it seems that wreaking havoc against Liverpool was enough to earn the Belgian striker a big-money move but, again like others, that form didn’t continue when he arrived. Unsuited to the style of desired play and played his final game within a year of his debut.

Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim) €41m; Appearances 239** Goals 77

Started slowly but Klopp’s arrival helped him find a role less as a traditional goal-scoring centre-forward and more towards being a catalyst for team-mates to find the net. A critical factor in Liverpool’s success in the past two seasons and one who is sorely missed when not available.

Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton) €17.7m; Appearances 103 Goals 2

Took the familiar road from Southampton to Liverpool and was usually solid if unspectacular in his right-back position. Suffered from the instability in both the back four and goalkeeper positions but rarely let anyone down when required.

Danny Ings (Burnley) €8.3m; Appearances 25 Goals 4

Showing now at Southampton the potential that Liverpool saw in him when they signed him from Burnley. Was ruled out for the season in just his second game and was left behind somewhat as the Klopp revolution gathered pace.

Marko Grujic (Red Star) €7m; Appearances 14 Goals 0

Still contracted at the club but on loan with Hertha Berlin – his third loan move away from Anfield. Seems unlikely to get a chance.

Joe Gomez (Charlton) €4.9m; Appearances 104** Goals 0

One of the best purchases of a younger player from a lower league club on this list, Gomez looks a star in the making. Prone to occasional lapse but has the perfect defensive partner to model himself on in Virgil Van Dijk

Taiwo Awoniyi (Imperial Acad) €1.1m; Appearances 0 Goals 0

The striker arrived and was immediately sent out on loan where he has been ever since. A peculiar purchase.

Ádám Bogdán (Bolton) Free transfer; Appearances 6 Goals 0

One of several temporary replaces when Simon Mignolet was on the naughty step, the Hungarian blew his chance in a particularly chastening 3-0 defeat against Watford in 2015 which seems almost unimaginable now.

James Milner (Man City) Free; Appearances 211 Goals 26

The finest free transfers on the list and one of the best in Premier League history. The veteran has been a pro footballer for more of his life than not but shows no signs of letting his standards slip. An example to everyone at the club who also chips in with a few crucial penalties.

ARRIVALS 2016/17: TOTAL €79.90m

Sadio Mané (Southampton) €41.2m; Appearances 165** Goals 79

The most successful forward player of the Southampton to Liverpool extravaganza, eyebrows were initially raised at the price-tag but the Senegalese brings a vibrancy to the attack which is arguably unmatched by any other member in the squad. Has been marginally less eye-catching than Mo Salah but no less important.

Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle) €27.5m; Appearances 181** Goals 18

Another superb purchase who plugged perfectly into Klopp’s system and chips in with the odd crucial goal such as the brace he bagged against Barcelona last season. Like most of their midfielders, he is rarely spectacular but his technical ability is under-rated and he is a crucial member of the team.

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Liverpool’s Sadio Mane. Photo: Reuters

Pool via REUTERS

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane. Photo: Reuters

Loris Karius (Mainz) €6.2m; Appearances 49 Goals 0

For the vast majority of his near-half century of appearances he didn’t do anything wrong. But nobody remembers that after the disaster that was the two goals he conceded to gift Real Madrid the 2018 Champions League final. Further mistakes plus the arrival of Alisson and he was gone.

Ragnar Klavan (FC Augsburg) €5m; Appearances 53 Goals 2

Very much a cover option, the defender joined Liverpool at 30 and was dependable if unspectacular. The first Estonian to score in the Premier League.

Joel Matip (FC Schalke 04) Free; Appearances 111* Goals 5

Definitely in the top 10 in terms of free transfers, the Cameroonian is an unassuming partner for Virgil Van Dijk when called upon. Given the money spent on Lovren and the potential of Gomez, it’s no mean feat that Matip is so highly regarded.

Alexander Manninger (FC Augsburg) Free; Appearances 0 Goals 0

A career No 2 goalkeeper he joined as cover and didn’t play. Won 33 caps for Austria which is quite remarkable given he only made just over 300 appearances in a 22-year pro career at club level.

ARRIVALS 2017/18: TOTAL €177.88m

Mohamed Salah ( AS Roma) €42m; Appearances 147** Goals 92

Much like Lionel Messi, everybody knows what Salah is going to do when he cuts in from the right wing onto his left foot. Much like Messi, knowing it and stopping it are two different things as the best part of goals from a non-traditional centre-forward position have shown.

Virgil van Dijk (Southampton) €84.65million; Appearances 117** Goals 11

The centre-back’s centre-back. Brilliant on the ball, dominant in the air, a bully in the tackle and an organiser of those around him. Nobody is faultless but if anyone does find a weakness, there’s plenty of strikers in the Premier League who would like to hear what it is.

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Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk, right, and Mohamed Salah are title-bound (Peter Byrne/PA)

Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk, right, and Mohamed Salah are title-bound (Peter Byrne/PA)

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) €38m; Appearances 82 Goals 12

An all-action player who occasionally loses possession didn’t quite suit the Arsene Wenger style but is made for Jurgen Klopp. Has battled back from dreadful injury to make his mark in the title campaign and will be one of those driving for more next season.

Andrew Robertson (Hull) €9m; Appearances 122 Goals 3

Was available to every team in the league at that price but Klopp saw something in him that nobody else did. Tenacious in defence and gives Liverpool the width to help the front three do damage. Right up there in the finest bits of transfer business of the past three decades.

Tony Gallacher (Falkirk FC) €228,000; Appearances 1 Goals 0

Found his path blocked by a fellow Scottish left-back. Potentially one for the future as turns 21 this month.

Dominic Solanke ( Chelsea U23) €4m; Appearances 27 Goals 1

Signed as something of a shot to nothing but couldn’t get past the likes of Origi for even a back up role. Bournemouth – who once paid Liverpool nearly €20m for Jordan Ibe – signed Solanke for €19m. Liverpool presumably kept a straight face long enough to get the deal done.

ARRIVALS 2018/19; TOTAL €182.20m

Alisson Becker (AS Roma) €62.5m; Appearances 83 Goals 0

Had he not already written it, Liverpool fan Elvis Costello could pen a song about Alisson. Comfortable on the ball, saves the shots he should save and occasionally the ones he has no right to save. Worth every cent.

Naby Keïta (RB Leipzig) €60m; Appearances 55 Goals 6

There have been flashes of quality but not as many as were expected given the fanfare with which he arrived. The suspicion remains that he could yet be a big player for the club if he can find his best form.

Fabinho (Monaco) €45m; Appearances 76 Goals 3

Like Suarez with Carroll, Fabinho arrived as the lesser light compared to Keita but, also like Suarez, has made himself indispensable. Has become the battery in the watch at the heart of Liverpool’s midfield with the odd long-range screamer thrown in.

Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) €14.7m; Appearances 40 Goals 7

Not exactly what you’d expect of a Jurgen Klopp player but regularly gave Liverpool something different in his first season. His second tailed off somewhat due to injury and loss of form.

ARRIVALS 2019/20: TOTAL €10.4m

Takumi Minamino (RB Salzburg) €8.5m; Appearances 10 Goals 0

Performed so well against Liverpool that they signed him. Has yet to show similar performances, albeit in difficult circumstances of jumping up several levels.

Sepp van den Berg (PEC Zwolle) €1.9m;Appearances 4 Goals 0

Teenage centre-back, very much one for the future among a batch of players who appear to be coming through.

Close

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson lifts the Premier League trophy after an entertaining 5-3 win over Chelsea. Henderson became the first Reds skipper in 30 years to lead the club to the title. Jurgen Klopp’s men celebrated wildly at an empty Anfield as coronavirus restrictions prevented supporters from attending the presentation ceremony (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

PA

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson lifts the Premier League trophy after an entertaining 5-3 win over Chelsea. Henderson became the first Reds skipper in 30 years to lead the club to the title. Jurgen Klopp’s men celebrated wildly at an empty Anfield as coronavirus restrictions prevented supporters from attending the presentation ceremony (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Andy Lonergan (Middlesbrough) Free; Appearances 0 Goals 0

Middlesbrough? Tick. Emergency goalkeeper cover? Tick. Didn’t play a game? Tick.

Adrián (West Ham) Free; Appearances 18 Goals 0

Errors against Atletico Madrid cost Liverpool their chance of retaining the Champions League but has been a generally reliable understudy to Alisson. Very much an understudy though.


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