However every successful free transfer in Liverpool’s history is offset by a bad one.
We’ve already seen the best, here, so now I look at Liverpool’s top five worst free transfers – a reminder that you often get what you pay for…
I still shudder when I remember Andriy Voronin; within a few months of signing for Liverpool I remember thinking that we’d paid too much for him even though he didn’t cost a penny. Voronin arrived at Anfield in July 2007 and his first Liverpool goal came in only his second appearance for the Reds, against Toulouse. It was a good goal, but unfortunately it was not a sign of things to come and six goals in 40 appearances is a poor return for any striker. After being loaned to Hertha BSC for the 2008-09 season, Voronin returned to Liverpool for the start of the 2009-10 season but was sold to Dynamo Moscow in January 2010. His scoring record in Russia is slightly better – he has scored 13 goals in 41 appearances for Dynamo.
The fact that Mauricio Pellegrino was a Liverpool player for a mere five months says a lot about how successful his time at Anfield was. Rafa Benitez signed Pellegrino to keep Sami Hyypia rested for important games, but an adequate replacement Pellegrino was not. The Argentine centre-back, who was 33 when he signed for Liverpool, made 13 appearances for the club before returning to Spain. Given his age and unfamiliarity to English football, he never looked comfortable playing for Liverpool, which made uncomfortable viewing for Reds fans. Pellegrino later returned to Liverpool as a coach and was appointed as the manager of Valencia in May.
Signed by Benitez but managed by Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish, Serbian striker Milan Jovanovic had a worse scoring record at Anfield than Voronin. Jovanovic signed for Liverpool on a Bosman in July 2010 and made 18 appearances for the club, scoring just two goals. Dalglish was determined to offload Jovanovic in summer 2011, not least because of his £60,000-a-week wages. Fortunately, in August a deal was reached and Jovanovic signed for Anderlecht.
Philipp Degen signed for Liverpool in 2008 and left in 2011, yet in three years the Swiss right back made just 13 appearances for the club. To say Degen had rotten luck with injuries during his time at Anfield would be an understatement – he broke to ribs in his competitive debut for Liverpool, suffered a broken metatarsal in his first match back and suffered another metatarsal injury while recovering from the first one. It took Degen 14 months to make his league debut for the club and only six more league appearances followed, one of which saw him sent off against Fulham. When Hodgson was in charge of Liverpool he loaned Degen out to Stuttgart for a season and when Degen returned, he saw his contract terminated by mutual consent. Degen has since signed for FC Basel, where his twin brother David is one of his teammates.
If you don’t remember Patrice Luzi, that’s probably because he made just one appearance for Liverpool. The French goalkeeper was signed by Gerard Houllier in 2002, despite having played only once for Ajaccio. His one Reds appearance came in January 2004, when he was brought on as a substitute against Chelsea for the injured Jerzy Dudek. With Dudek and Chris Kirkland both injured, Houllier decided Luzi wasn’t experienced enough for a run in the first team and instead signed Paul Jones on an emergency loan. Despite only being at Liverpool for a few weeks, Jones played twice as many games for the club as Luzi did in three years. The Frenchman was released in 2005 and later played for Mouscron, Charleroi and Rennes.
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