Ranked! Liverpool's 10 worst signings of the Premier League era
5. Christian Benteke
Signed from: Aston Villa (£32.5), 2015
Liverpool have made some major mistakes in the transfer market, and their failure to plan adequately for Suarez’s move to Barcelona in 2014 is up there with the worst. Granted, Benteke was not brought in directly after the Uruguayan left for Catalonia - his immediate replacements were Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert - but his arrival was the most costly.
After the failure of Brendan Rodgers’ “calculated gamble” in signing Balotelli, Benteke was earmarked as the man who could transform the Reds’ attack. “I’ve not had another who could do that up front in the three years I’ve been here,” the Ulsterman said shortly after his debut.
The issue was that Liverpool didn’t need a targetman. They needed another fluid, adaptable forward who didn’t cost £32.5m and who wouldn’t skulk on the edge of the box berating his team-mates when they couldn’t turn water to wine with his lack of movement. In short, they needed Roberto Firmino - who was also signed that same summer but spent his first months under Rodgers playing as a wing-back.
4. Alberto Aquilani
Signed from: Roma (£17.1m), 2009
Aquilani’s inclusion in this list, and his lofty placing as the Reds’ fourth-worst signing in the history of the Premier League, comes with more than a tinge of melancholy. The promising Italian midfielder arrived injured, was deemed the Real Madrid-bound Xabi Alonso’s heir and inherited the No. 4 shirt previously worn by former captain and Anfield favourite Sami Hyypia.
Aquilani made his debut in October 2009, almost three months after arriving. His first start came in December, his first of two goals in March and his last appearance for the club two days removed from his one-year anniversary as a Red.
Though his talent was undoubted, Aquilani just didn’t fit the billing on Merseyside and was sold to Fiorentina for just €790,000 in 2012. A baffling deal.
3. El Hadji Diouf
Signed from: Lens (£10m), 2002
There are few ex-Liverpool players more universally despised among supporters than Diouf: a tragic waste of potential more notorious for spitting at the opposition and taunting injured players than for anything he did with a football.
He joined the Reds following a breakthrough tournament with Senegal at the 2002 World Cup, but this quickly proved to be an anomaly in a disappointing spell on Merseyside. Both Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard are outspoken in their disdain for the striker, with the former explaining how “his attitude disgusted me,” and the latter that he “had no real interest in football” and “cared nothing about Liverpool”.
That two of the Reds’ most well-respected senior figures turned their backs on Diouf so quickly is a testament to the player’s character, and that this was backed up by just six goals in 80 games magnifies his failure.
2. Sean Dundee
Signed from: Karlsruher (£1.8m), 1998
One of the worst players to ever play for Liverpool. Dundee was brought in as cover for the injured Robbie Fowler during the co-managerial reign of Houllier and Roy Evans, but was clearly not fit the lace the boots of Anfield’s ‘God’.
Dundee played just five times for the Reds, failing to score in any of those appearances, with a battle for fitness and off-field issues compounded by a clear lack of faith in him from Evans himself.
“One player I do regret signing was Sean Dundee; he was terrible on and off the pitch,” Evans has since told LFCHistory.net. “He didn't take any notice of me, did what he wanted and lacked discipline. He certainly shouldn't have joined Liverpool.”
1. Paul Konchesky
Signed from: Fulham (£3.5m), 2010
In terms of talent, performances and a synonymity with one of the most toxic periods in the club’s history, Konchesky is the worst signing Liverpool have made in the Premier League era.
Brought in as Roy Hodgson’s new first-choice left-back, having served under the Englishman at Fulham, he was woefully out his depth at Anfield. Konchesky outlasted Hodgson, but not for long; he was loaned out to Championship side Nottingham Forest just five months after making the move to Liverpool - three weeks after Hodgson was dismissed.
That a player of Konchesky’s calibre was playing at the club less than 10 years ago is both a damning indictment of their situation at the turn of the decade and a marker of the progress Liverpool have made since then.