Ranked! Liverpool’s 10 best foreign players of all time
Salah struck his 41st goal of the season in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw against West Brom on Saturday, the day before he was named by his peers as the Premier League’s top player ahead of rivals including Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
A week ago he became the first Reds player to hit 40 goals in a season since Ian Rush 31 years ago.
SALAH IN 2017/18
- Premier League: 33 apps (31 goals)
- Champions League: 12 (9)
- FA Cup: 1 (1)
When you consider the strikers who have graced Anfield since then – chiefly, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez – it’s incredible that a player who isn’t a typical centre-forward, and who certainly wasn’t considered an out-and-out goalscorer when he signed last summer, has been the man to manage that impressive tally.
Even more astonishing is that he achieved it in mid-April, and potentially has six games left to match Rush’s record haul of 47 set in the 1983/84 season – a European Cup-winning campaign for the Reds, no less.
Salah is the new king of the Kop, but where does he rank among Liverpool’s greatest foreign imports? We list the 10 best – not including Irishmen – to have worn the Liverbird on their chests...
10. Roberto Firmino
Salah isn’t the only current player who makes the top 10, with Roberto ‘Bobby’ Firmino sneaking in ahead of Pepe Reina, Javier Mascherano, Dirk Kuyt and... er, Djimi Traore.
Firmino’s 25 goals so far this season have silenced the sceptics who questioned whether he should be Liverpool’s No.9 – but it’s not just his goals that have endeared him to Klopp and the Kop. Simply, the Brazilian makes Liverpool tick: he’s absolutely vital to the way his side plays and will continue to be a key player as his manager builds for a successful future.
9. Didi Hamann
The first member of the Istanbul cast – the man who came on at half-time to help change the 2005 Champions League Final, then dispatched the crucial first penalty despite having broken his foot in extra-time.
Like many from that era, Hamann won every trophy possible with Liverpool except the Premier League title. The German midfielder was key to the triple cup success under Gerard Houllier in 2000/01, and made almost 300 appearances for the club.
He also scored one of the best volleys ever seen at Anfield, against Portsmouth.
8. Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool fans might prefer he wasn’t in this list, but Coutinho’s quality and contributions to the club – 54 goals in 201 appearances – mean he must be included.
The Brazilian scored some huge goals for the Reds; most notably against Manchester City in 2013/14, and against both Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United in the Europa League two seasons later.
There was the odd free-kick and plenty of piledrivers from outside the box to keep the Anfield faithful entertained too, but overall Coutinho became more than just a player of infrequent flashpoints for Liverpool. His legacy is perhaps tarnished by his departure, but the £142 million Barcelona paid for him will go a long way to improving the squad further this summer.
7. Xabi Alonso
The first Spaniard in this list is the second member of that legendary Istanbul 2005 squad. Alonso’s passing mesmerised Anfield across 210 appearances from 2004 to 2009, though he could have left as early as 2008 when Rafa Benitez remarkably tried to replace him with Gareth Barry.
Alonso stayed put, however, and most Kopites still can’t quite fathom how that 2008/09 side didn’t win the title. To make matters worse, Liverpool were forced to replace him at the end of that campaign, and Alberto Aquilani was nowhere near as successful.
He was not only a wonderful footballer, but also seemed to grasp what it meant to play for the club and the city of Liverpool. Few men are as universally popular in the red half of Merseyside.
6. Fernando Torres
The man who made the Kop bounce – literally. Those in attendance at the Reds’ 2007/08 Champions League quarter-final against Arsenal swear that the Kop was shaking as they bounced to the song that half of England soon copied.
“Bounce in a minute” was all it needed. Liverpool fans were in love with Torres, and his departure to Chelsea in 2011 broke many hearts. That his time at Stamford Bridge was so disappointing – save for those Champions League heroics in 2012 – and that he was so clearly upset by it, means his reputation on Merseyside has recovered in recent years.
Overall, Torres netted 81 goals in 142 appearances for Liverpool, and could have been much higher on this list if things had worked out differently.