FOX Sports Asia sifts through Liverpool FC’s strikers to bring you the unlucky fourteen that they should not have signed.
Liverpool is a football club built on the shoulders of great forwards.
Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez are but some of the names in the Reds’ Hall of Fame.
Nevertheless, for every Suarez, there is always an Andy Carroll lurking in the shadows.
And trust us when we say that the Anfield club has seen its fair share of striking flops over the years.
Whether be it a lack of transfer acumen or just plain bad managing (Roy Hodgson, we are looking squarely at you now), the Reds burnt A LOT of money on forwards that delivered very little.
Of course, this was long before the days of current manager Jurgen Klopp – who insists that goal-scoring duties should be shared throughout the current team.
So Liverpool fans, take a walk down memory lane with us and weep.
Signed after a successful World Cup campaign, Ukrainian striker Andriy Voronin joined the Reds on a free transfer in July 2007.
His Liverpool start seemed auspicious enough – popping his goal cherry against Toulouse in the Champions League qualifier.
Despite being a favourite of then-manager Rafael Benitez, a measly return of just six goals in 40 appearances meant that Voronin was shipped off to Dynamo Moscow in 2010.
Receiving the flop striker baton from Voronin, Serbian striker Milan Jovanovic also joined the club on a free transfer from Standard Liege back in July 2010.
A failure to settle and poor form meant that he did not start a single game for the latter half of that season.
Jovanovic left Anfield a year later to Anderlecht contributing only two goals in eighteen appearances.
Nicknamed “The Ostravan Maradona”, Milan Baros arrived in Merseyside in 2002 for £3.2 million.
The Euro 2004 Golden Boot winner started brightly enough – scoring twice on his EPL debut against Bolton Wanderers!
Nevertheless, the second all-time Czech Republic goal scorer found it hard to find the back of the net – pitching in with only 27 strikes in 108 games.
Baros left the club for Aston Villa in 2005 for £6.5 million.
Before Luis Suarez blazed a trail from Ajax to the red half of Merseyside, there was Ryan Babel.
The Dutch winger/striker arrived in 2007 to the tune of £11.5 million and scored his first goal one month into his maiden league campaign against Derby County.
Known more for his off-field antics, Babel was disciplined for his Twitter usage as well as starting the hashtag #BabelCopter – a metaphor for players with uncertain destination on transfer deadline day. Apparently, the man also raps in his spare time.
Ultimately, his poor return of 22 goals in 146 appearances meant that he was shown the door to Hoffenheim in 2011.
Hailed as the new Thierry Henry, Djibril Cisse arrived from Auxerre to much fanfare in 2004.
However, the two-time Ligue 1 top scorer spent more time in the treatment room than on the pitch – breaking his left leg in his first season and his right in 2006.
The highlights of his Anfield stint will no doubt be scoring the opening goal in the club’s FA Cup win over West Ham in 2006 and his off-the-cuff hairstyles!
Cisse left for Marseilles in 2006, managing 24 goals in 78 appearances.
El Hadji Diouf
Signed by then-manager Gerard Houllier for £10 million in 2002, Senegalese striker El Hadji Diouf arrived to high hopes following an unforgettable showing at that year’s World Cup.
Initially, the temperamental forward seemed to tick the right box – scoring twice on his Anfield debut against Southampton. But the fans had to wait for another seven months before he struck again.
Never too far from controversy, Diouf certainly didn’t endear himself with the fans or his Red teammates by spitting on a Celtic fan in a UEFA Cup game. He failed to score for the reminder of the season and the next.
He left for Bolton in 2004 with six goals in 80 appearances. Reds legend and teammate Jamie Carragher on Diouf: “He has one of the worst strike rates of any forward in Liverpool history. He’s the only no. 9 ever to go through a whole season without scoring, in fact he’s probably the only no. 9 of any club to do that. He was always the last one to get picked in training.”
As Liverpool’s second most expensive signing (£35 million), Andy Carroll arrived in January 2011 to fill the goal scoring hole left by the departed Fernando Torres.
The English target man, who was injured until March, only broke his duck against Manchester City with a brace.
While he was brought in at the same time as Suarez, Carroll had none of the Uruguayan’s impact – failing to fit into manager Kenny Dalglish and subsequently Brendan Rodgers style of play.
With just eleven strikes in 58 appearances, the former Newcastle man left for West Ham in 2012. The club only managed to recuperate £17 million for the Geordie flop.
Arriving after Michael Owen moved to Real Madrid in 2005, Fernando Morientes didn’t quite fill the goal scoring boots of the departed striker.
After an underwhelming debut against rivals United, the Spanish striker’s patchy league form continued until he scored a five-minute brace against Middlesbrough.
Though he was on the 2005 UEFA Super Cup winning side, Morientes totalled just twelve goals in 60 Liverpool appearances. The stopgap striker returned to sunny Spain with Valencia in 2006.
A hero to the fans, a joke to others; it is hard to imagine why then-manager Houllier chose to fork out £11 million for Emile Heskey way back in 2000.
Sure, one might argue that his total goal return of 60 goals in 223 games is decent. But, many of those goals were down to the abilities of his strike partner Owen rather than his own brilliance.
His best season came in the 2000-01 Treble season (FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup) where he chipped in with 22 goals. The England national target man signed for Birmingham City in 2004.
Why why why do the Reds NOT learn from past mistakes? And with Andy Carroll still a relatively fresh memory, we might add.
Instead, then-manager Rodgers thought he could buck the striker trend by putting all his £32.5 million eggs into one basket and signed Christian Benteke in 2015.
At first glance, the former Aston Villa target man seemed to have the goal scoring credentials having amassed 49 goals in 101 appearances.
However, a change of manager and a failure to fit into Klopp’s style of play meant that the Belgian was restricted to just ten goals in 42 appearances. He left Liverpool for Crystal Palace in 2016.
After much haggling with Celta Vigo over an appropriate fee, Iago Aspas arrived in Anfield for £7.5 million in 2013– joining the Reds strike force of Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling (SSS).
To be fair, it was always a tall order to ask the young Spanish striker to displace the established Pool’s SSS attacking trio.
But Aspas did himself no favours; in the title-deciding 0-2 home defeat to Chelsea, he delivered a short corner straight to Willian after being introduced as a late sub.
He left Liverpool for Sevilla in 2014 having contributed just one goal in his fifteen appearances.
Essentially Diouf Mark II; Mario Balotelli had a storied, if not troubled, career with Inter Milan, Manchester City and AC Milan before arriving to the club for £16 million in 2014.
Signed as a replacement for the departed Suarez, the Italian L’enfant terrible took thirteen league appearances to score his first EPL goal – scoring a late winner against Spurs at Anfield.
Still, Balotelli will be remembered for his anti-Semitic social media post and swapping shirts with Real Madrid’s Pepe at halftime in their Champions League tie – both of which earned him his manager Rodgers’ scorn.
Subsequently, he was shipped on loan to AC Milan before finally being released on a free to Nice. He found the net just four times in 28 appearances.
When Rickie Lambert signed for Liverpool back in 2014, it was the ultimate underdog story.
The ex-academy player, signed from Southampton for £4 million, was seen as coming full circle – returning to his boyhood club.
And that is where the fairy tale ends.
In fact, you could say that Lambert served as a reminder that the fabled road from St Mary’s to Anfield is not always a successful one. Does the name Dejan Lovren ring a bell?
Despite scoring in all four top English footballing divisions, he only managed three goals in 36 appearances and left for West Brom in 2015.
There are only a few names that can send the Kop shaking in their boots; Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and even Sergio Aguero are some of players that scare the Reds’ fans because of their immense world-class talent and skills.
But, none of them send a chill down a Liverpudlian’s spine quicker than striker Sean Dundee. And for all the wrong reasons.
The South African player was brought in for £2 million by then-managers Gerard Houllier and Roy Evans in 1998 as cover for the injured Robbie Fowler.
But the partnership of Karl-Heinz Riedle and Michael Owen proved hard to displace, and with Fowler’s return, Dundee made only three substitute appearances (thankfully) before moving to VfB Stuttgart the following season.
Did we miss out on your Reds striking flop? Think that Jovanovic is the world’s greatest striker?
Comment below now and let us know what you think.