Football Features

Hit or miss? Every player Liverpool signed from another ‘Big Six’ club since 2000

By Squawka News

Liverpool transfer signings from 'Big Six' rivals: Hit or miss? | Squawka

Published: 15:39, 27 August 2020

Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, Virgil van Dijk – just three of the names that Liverpool signed from Southampton to have delivered the goods in recent seasons.

It’s not just the Saints that the Reds like to take players from, though. In fact, on more than one occasion Liverpool have signed players from direct rivals in the Premier League in a bid to bolster their ranks.

Not all of them were successful moves, however. Here are 10 such players that Liverpool signed from a direct Premier League rival since 2000 and how they fared on Merseyside. Did they hit nail on the head? Or were they wide of the mark?

1. Robbie Keane

Joined in: 2008

From: Tottenham (for £19m)

Liverpool appearances: 28 (7 goals)

Liverpool honours: none

It looked like Robbie Keane had finally secured the transfer of his dreams when Rafa Benitez took the striker to Liverpool in 2008, but the Republic of Ireland striker lasted only six months on Merseyside.

Keane did have some goalscoring troubles in the league but seven efforts from 28 games wasn’t a bad return. It was strange when Liverpool accepted a £12m offer to re-sign the attacker from Tottenham in January 2009, which only adds to the perplexing nature of Keane’s time at Anfield.

Verdict: Miss

2. Joe Cole

Joined in: 2010

From: Chelsea (free transfer)

Liverpool appearances: 42 (5 goals)

Liverpool honours: none

Joe Cole has come out and admitted he regrets making the move to Liverpool, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about this deal.

Signing the England international on a free transfer seemed like good business by Liverpool but a red card on his league debut set the tone for Cole’s stint at Anfield. The first season wasn’t too bad but a loan to Lille followed, and Cole was allowed to move back to West Ham for free in January 2013.

Verdict: Miss

3. Craig Bellamy

Joined in: 2011

From: Manchester City (free transfer)

Liverpool appearances: 33 (9 goals)

Liverpool honours: League Cup

Bellamy got his second spell at Liverpool in 2011 when Manchester City allowed him to move back to Anfield on a free transfer, and although the Welshman would only spend one more year at the Merseyside club it was a productive campaign.

Bellamy would help Liverpool to win the League Cup, their first trophy in six years, and also found the net nine times before finally being gifted a move back to home-town club Cardiff City

Verdict: Hit

4. Daniel Sturridge

Joined in: 2013

From: Chelsea (£12m)

Liverpool appearances: 160 (68 goals)

Liverpool honours: Champions League

Injuries may have affected Daniel Sturridge’s more recent campaigns at Liverpool, and the England international may not be a Jurgen Klopp favourite, but the striker has been brilliant for the Reds.

A very successful first three seasons culminated in Sturridge almost helping Liverpool win the Premier League and, when available, Sturridge was undoubtedly one of the most efficient attackers in the top flight.

Various setbacks have certainly hindered Sturridge to a number of supporters but there should be no doubt of how valuable he was.

Stiff competition for places coupled with his injury record saw him ultimately move onto Trabzonspor, but he’s currently unattached.

Verdict: Hit

5. Kolo Toure

Joined in: 2013

From: Manchester City (free transfer)

Liverpool appearances: 71 (1 goal)

Liverpool honours: none

Toure moved to Liverpool the day after his Manchester City contract expired in 2013 and, while the Ivorian was error-prone and ropey, there’s no denying his popularity at Anfield.

Even the Liverpool squad were filmed singing the now infamous “Kolo, Yaya” song, and fans took Toure to their hearts. Arguably he was at his best under Jurgen Klopp and, for a free transfer, did a decent job.

Verdict: Hit

6. Victor Moses

Joined in: 2013

From: Chelsea (loan)

Liverpool appearances: 22 (2 goals)

Liverpool honours: none

Initially signed to help spice Liverpool up in attack, Victor Moses ultimately failed to make an impact during his loan spell with Liverpool in 2013/14.

The emergence of Raheem Sterling during Brendan Rodgers’ title tilt that season caught everybody off guard, not least Moses, who was restricted to just 22 games, nine of which were starts.

The Nigerian only managed two goals during that time before heading back to Chelsea and eventually finding some success as a wing-back under Antonio Conte.

Verdict: Miss

7. Kevin Stewart

Joined in: 2014

From: Tottenham (free transfer)

Liverpool appearances: 20

Liverpool honours: none

Stewart made the decision to move to boyhood club Liverpool in 2014 but wasn’t given a real chance to prove himself on Merseyside.

The young midfielder was given few opportunities but Klopp clearly rated Stewart with the player awarded two contract extensions in the last two years.

There was considerable evidence that Stewart was in the long-term plans at Liverpool but all that went out of the window when he left for Hull City in the summer of 2017.

Verdict: Miss

8. James Milner

Joined in: 2015

From: Manchester City (free transfer)

Liverpool appearances: 214 (26 goals)

Liverpool honours: Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup

Manchester City didn’t want to lose James Milner but, in search of first-team football, the Englishman opted to switch to Liverpool. Just under three years on, it looks like he made a very smart decision.

Milner is almost always in Klopp’s first XI and is one of the German’s most trusted generals, whether that be in central-midfield, at right-back or left-back.

For that reason alone, it cannot be understated just how valuable Milner is to the Reds and the 34-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down just yet.

Verdict: Hit

9. Dominic Solanke

Joined in: 2017

From: Chelsea (£3m compensation)

Liverpool appearances: 27

Liverpool honours: none

Dominic Solanke switched Chelsea for Liverpool at the end of his contract in 2017 in search of first-team football.

The English youngster certainly got that chance with 27 appearances across all competitions but failed to actually contribute anything of note, scoring just once. Even that goal came in a 4-0 win over Brighton on the final day of the 2017/18 season.

It wasn’t all bad for Liverpool, though, as they managed to ship Solanke off to Bournemouth in January 2019 for the handsome fee of £19m.

Verdict: Miss

10. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Joined in: 2017

Joined from: Arsenal (£35m)

Liverpool appearances: 87 (13 goals)

Liverpool honours: Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup

Liverpool’s capture of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal in 2017 certainly caught everybody off guard, especially given ‘the Ox’ is a boyhood Gunner.

However, the England international felt his career was stagnating at the Emirates and when it became clear that he would not be signing a new contract, Arsenal cashed in.

Before a cruel injury in the Champions League semi-final against Roma had him sidelined, Oxlade-Chamberlain proved to be a real hit on the Kop and a screamer of a goal against Manchester City in the quarter-final of the same competition was his standout moment during 2017/18 the season.

The 27-year-old returned a year later, before playing a pivotal role in Liverpool securing a first league title since 1990 last season, however ahead of this forthcoming campaign the former Gunner sustained a knock to his knee and is set to keep him sidelined for an uncertain period of time.

Verdict: Hit

And two from Everton…

Nick Barmby

Joined in: 2000

From: Everton (for £6m)

Liverpool appearances: 58 (8 goals)

Liverpool honours: League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup

What an iconic move this was – Barmby became the first player in 41 years to switch from Everton to Liverpool when he transferred across Merseyside in 2000, and for a brief spell it looked like a good decision.

The midfielder was playing well for the Toffees and had reportedly interested Manchester United but he opted for the Reds, helping the side to their famous treble in 2000-2001.

Sadly injuries began to bother Barmby, causing him to miss two of the three finals. Liverpool accepted an offer from Sunderland in October 2001, and although Barmby didn’t want to go, he eventually agreed to go to Leeds less than a year later.

Verdict: Miss

Abel Xavier

Joined in: 2002

From: Everton (for £800,000)

Liverpool appearances: 21 (2 goals)

Liverpool honours: League Cup

Two years after Barmby, Xavier also made the switch to Liverpool from Everton but the defender lasted just one year in the Reds’ first team.

Phil Thompson selected Xaver to play regularly in the second half of the 2001-2002 season but, with Gerard Houllier back, the Portuguese full-back found first team action much tougher to come by in his second campaign. He was loaned to Galatasaray and then sold to Hannover 96.

Verdict: Miss