What Rafa Benitez Bought For Liverpool

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Five seasons, 75 players, 229 million pounds. That is what Rafa Benitez spent during his tenure at Anfield, managing Liverpool. He did win the Champions League and one FA Cup but has failed to bring the coveted premiership title back to Anfield, missing since 1990. Benitez did sign a few greats – Reina, Alonso and Torres but has had his share of flops and his attempt to bolster the team with foreign youth talent has yet to prove itself. Now that he’s off at Milan with European champions Inter, it’s a good opportunity to take a look at how well or bad he’s done in the transfer market over the years at Anfield, going over all his purchases.

Now, thanks to Dave Wood, Peter got up from his lazy ass and did the numbers regarding Benitez’ sales, and after a long time on the web, wikipedia and various sites, he came up with rough number of 139 million pounds. Hope you feel informed.

2004, First Summer – Spanish Invasion

Josemi, or Jose Miguel Gonzalez Rey – He spent just about a season and a half at Anfield, after being purchased from Malaga for 2 million pounds. He had a nice start to his Anfield career but quickly lost his place to Steve Finnan. He was swapped to Villareal for Jan Kromkamp, and he plays for Mallorca these days.

Antonio Nunez – One of Rafa’s worst signings. He arrived from Real Madrid as part of the Michael Owen deal, playing 18 times for Liverpool in the league before making his way back to Spain. He plays today for Cypriot side Apollon Limassol. He has one goal for Liverpool, coming in the Carling Cup Final loss to Chelsea. He is the only player in Liverpool history to score his only goal at a cup final.

Antonio Barragan – The youngest foreign player to ever make an appearance for Liverpool at the age of 18 also made it his only appearance, spending most of his time at Anfield playing for the reserves after arriving free of cost from Sevilla. He left for Deportivo for 1 million pounds.

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Luis Garcia – A much better signing, becoming a sort of a Kop hero after the 2004-2005 season. Like Liverpool, his league form wasn’t amazing, but he shined in the Champions League, scoring five goals in Liverpool’s 2004-2005 campaign. He had another good season in 2005-2006 scoring seven league goals but played only 17 times in 2006-2007, making a move to Atletico Madrid. He was bought for 6 million pounds from Barcelona and his departure was involved in the Fernando Torres deal.

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Xabi Alonso – A wonderful deep lying playmaker who was an integral part of Spain’s 2010 World Cup triumph and was also an immediate hit at Anfield, after arriving from Real Sociedad for 10 million pounds. He scored in the final against AC Milan and was one of Liverpool’s best players in the last five years, scoring a few remarkable long range goals (Newcastle, Luton), before moving on to richer pastures in Spain, purchased by Real Madrid for 30 million pounds last summer. His absence is sorely missed at Anfield, and was one of the main reasons Liverpool had a miserable 2009-2010 campaign.

2005 January Window

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Fernando Morientes – A marquee member of the Real Madrid side that won the Champions League three times in a span of five years, Morientes arrived at Liverpool for 6.3 million pounds in the middle of the 2004-2005, far from his peak. He stayed another year at Anfield but left in 2006 with a disappointing tally of 12 goals in 60 matches. He’s currently without a team after spending 2009-2010 with Marseille.

Scott Carson – Was purchased from sinking Leeds for 1 million pounds, seemingly a bargain for the future no.1 keeper of England, but played only 4 league matches for Liverpool in his 3.5 years at Anfield, spending most of the time out on loan. He’s back with West Brom in the Premiership this season.

Mauricio Pellegrino – The first Argentinian player in the history of Liverpool spent only a few months at Anfield, playing only 12 matches before returning back to Spain. At least he didn’t cost a dime. He won two league titles with Benitez back in Valencia.

2005 Summer

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Peter Crouch – The England international was signed for 7 million pounds from Southampton and didn’t score in his first 24 hours of playing for Liverpool. He had his ups and downs at Anfield, with 2006-2007 his most successful season. He was Liverpool’s best scorer in all competitions with 18 goals, including a perfect hat-trick against Arsenal. He was sold to Portsmouth for 11 million pounds and now plays his soccer for Tottenham.

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Jose Manuel Reina – “Pepe" Reina might be Benitez’ best signing, coming for 6 million pounds from Villareal, constantly among league leaders in clean sheets, making 94 in 182 appearances since arriving at the Premiership. He hasn’t missed a match for Liverpool in the last three seasons and in my eyes one of the best goalkeepers in the world today.

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Mohamed Sissoko – Was touted as the next Patrick Viera, but slowly turning out to be another hard hitting but not to clever DM for Juventus. Sissoko was bought for 5.6 million from Valencia. His 2.5 year career at Anfield was filled with injuries and Sissoko never developed and improved as expected. He was sold to Juventus for 11 million Euro.

Antonio Barragan – The youngest foreign player to ever make an appearance for Liverpool at the age of 18 also made it his only appearance, spending most of his time at Anfield playing for the reserves after arriving free of cost from Sevilla. He left for Deportivo for 1 million pounds.

Boudewijn Zenden – Zenden arrived for free from Middlesbrough, but was constantly injured after a good start to both of his Anfield seasons, completing only 23 league matches for Liverpool. He left for Marseille in 2007.

Godwin Antwi – Came for free, and never made an appearance for the senior team, spending most of his time with the reserves or on loan. He now plays his soccer for Danish outfit Vejle.

Besian Idrizaj – The Austrian striker of Albanian parents never got it going for Liverpool, never breaking out of the reserves after arriving from LASK Linz. Idrizaj tragically died two months ago after suffering from a heart attack during his sleep.

Jack Hobbs – Arrived from Lincoln City for 750,000 pounds but played only three matches for Liverpool in his three season at Anfield. Is playing for Leicester now.

Miki Roque – Arrived for free from Leida after turning 17 but never got to play for Liverpool in his four seasons there. He now plays for Real Betis.

Paul Anderson – Another highly touted youngster who never fulfilled the expectations and promise. He came from Hull City in a trade with John Welsh making his way out of Anfield, but Anderson never made an appearance for the senior team, and he was sold to Nottingham Forest in the summer of 2009.

2006 January Transfer Window

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Robbie Fowler – Return of the king. Fowler had an amazing start to his Liverpool career, scoring 83 goals in his first four seasons, but injuries hampered one of England’s greatest striking talents in recent memory. After being sold to Leeds and then moving to Man City, Fowler returned for free, but was far from his old self, despite the love of the crowd. He lasted another season but ended his Anfield chapter with 8 goals in 30 league matches. He now plays in Australia for Perth.

Jan Kromkamp – The Dutchman arrived from Villareal in the Josemi deal, but he also couldn’t keep Steve Finnan out of the starting lineup, making 14 appearances before getting sold to PSV in August 2006.

Ryan Crowther – Another youngster who didn’t get to play at Anfield, coming from Stockport at the age of 18. Has no team currently.

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Daniel Agger – Benitez snatched the Danish centre back at the age of 20 from Brondby for 5.8 million pounds, but despite his immense talent and potential, Agger seems to keep getting injured when he’s on the brink of becoming a real world class defender. Few backs have a powerful shot like Agger, but he has made only 108 league appearances for Liverpool 4.5 years, either fighting with injuries or lately with Skretl for a place alongside Carragher.

David Martin – Bought with the future in mind at the age of 20 for 250,000 pounds from MK Dons, but spent most of his Anfield career out on loan. Returned to the Dons two weeks ago.

Summer of 2006

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Craig Bellamy – Came for 6 million pounds from Blackburn, and stayed for only one season after apparently not seeing eye to eye with Benitez about the way he’d be used on the pitch. Scored seven goals in 27 league matches, but his most famous one came in the Champions League against Barcelona after the Golf incident.

Mark Gonzalez – “Speedy Gonzalez" came for 1.5 million pounds from Albacete but never really got a foot hold at Anfield spending only one season at Liverpool before getting sold to Betis for 5 million. He now plays for CSKA Moscow and had a decent showing with Chile in the World Cup.

Gabriel Plaetta – Came from Banfield for 2 million pounds but played only 3 matches for Liverpool and was sold to Boca Juniors as part of the Insua deal. He signed with Parma less than two weeks ago.

Fabio Aurelio – Another player who was part of Benitez’ two-title side at Valencia, Aurelio has struggled with injuries and position battles during his time at Anfield. He has become a fan favorite for his free kicks and powerful left foot, but never managed to sustain his place in the starting lineup for a long time.

Martin Hansen – Another Dane to arrive from Brondby but never (still at Anfield) making it out of the Liverpool reserves.

Nabil El Zhar – The French born Morrocan arrived at Anfield from Saint-Etienne for free and seemed to make a bit of a breakthrough in 2008-2009, coming on 15 times, but played only twice last season, failing to leave an impression.

Astrit Ajdarevic – The Swede arrived at Anfield in December 2006 from Falkenberges in Sweden but never managed to play for the senior team and has recently signed with Orebro of the Swedish league.

January 2007

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Alvaro Arbeloa – Finally, Benitez found a right back he can trust. Arbeloa was solid for Liverpool on the flank, never showing too much flair but consistent and a very good defender. He was purchased for 3 million pounds from Deportivo and returned to Spain, re-joining Real Madrid last summer for a bargain price (in my mind) of 4 million pounds.

Alex Cooper – Joined Liverpool from Ross County from 100,000 pounds, still hasn’t made an appearance with the senior team.

Jordy Brouwer – Came from Ajax and besides some loan time at RKC has been a reserve man.

Francisco Duran – Recently released from the club, Duran arrived to Anfield from Malaga but never got to play for the first team.

Ronald Huth – Paraguayan youngster (20) who also never made any appearances for Liverpool, currently with Vicenaza.

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Javier Mascherano – Signed from West Ham for 18 million pounds and despite early struggles, has become one of Liverpool’s best players and one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, although his temper and knack for needless fouls get the best of him at times. Benitez seems keen on moving him to Inter, an Argentinian paradise.

Summer of 2007

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Jermaine Pennant – Purchased from Arsenal for 6.7 million pounds, the talented but troublesome winger was very good in his first year but fell out of Benitez’ favor the next two with Babel and Benayoun joining the side. He’s currently with Real Zaragoza.

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Yossi Benayoun – Benayoun’s media attack on Rafa last week revealed another dark side to Liverpool’s anguishing 2009-2010 season. Yossi Benayoun came from West Ham for 5 million pounds but never won a constant place in the Liverpool starting lineup despite playing well almost every time he got the chance during his three years there, including a Champions League hat-trick and the winning goal against Real Madrid in Madrid. Benayoun joined Chelsea two weeks ago for 5.5 million pounds.

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Lucas Leiva – One of the more less successful acquisition. The Brazilian midfielder was purchased from Gremio for 6 million pounds after he was chased by many premier clubs. Hard to understand why. Lucas became a regular last season but failed to fill Xabi Alonso’s shoes and is rumored to be on his way out of Liverpool, if they could finalize a deal with someone.

Andras Simon – The Hungarian striker, now 20 years old, arrived from MTK and has yet to make an appearance for Liverpool.

Dean Bouzanis – The Australian keeper, turning 20 this year, has yet to make an appearance for the first team.

Krisztian Nemeth – Another Hungarian import from MTK, Nemeth has been touted to break into the Liverpool squad for two years now. He still doesn’t have an appearance with the first team, although they’re saying again that his might be his year.

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Ryan Babel – When Babel came from Ajax for 11.5 million pounds he was one of the more promising young forwards in Europe. Three years later, maybe a coaching change will breathe new life into his feet and bring out the promise everyone sees in him. So far it’s been only 11 goals in three seasons from the player no one really knows where to put on the field and how to use.

Daniel Pacheco – The 19 year old striker, brought up in the Barcelona youth empire, one of the brighter hopes of Spanish soccer and Liverpool, made 7 appearances last season with the team and will hopefully find more playing time in 2009-2010.

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Fernando Torres – 20 Million pounds from Atletico Madrid, Torres, when healthy, is probably one of the top 3 strikers in the world. Forget the World Cup, this guy, when healthy, just doesn’t stop scoring. He makes Gerrard better. He makes Liverpool better. He has scored 72 goals in 116 games for Liverpool in all competitions, proving again and again he’s their only reliable scoring threat. And now he might be going away, if the price is right, so it seems.

Andriy Voronin – The Ukrainian striker has been pretty successful in his Bundesliga career, but never got it going at Anfield, scoring 5 goals in 27 league matches. He was sold to Russian Dynamo Moscow in January 2010.

Sebastian Leto – Was purchased from Lanus for 1.8 million pounds but never got to play for Liverpool. The left winger has won two titles in Greece since his one year at Anfield, one with Olympiakos and last year with PAO.

Gary Stevens – Another Ross County import, who has yet to break out of the youth team.

Mikel San Jose – The 21 year old Basque defender came from Athletic Bilbao and has since returned there, becoming a first team regular in 2009-2010.

Daniel Sanchez Ayala – Another Spanish centre back who seemed to be breaking out last year, making a few appearances in the starting lineup, but soon returned to the reserves. Still with the team, he’ll probably be loaned out ot Valladolid this season.

Gerardo Bruna – The Argentinian midfielder joined Liverpool from Real Madrid and has been impressive at the reserve level so far. Only the reserve as of now.

David Amoo – Bought from Millwall, Amoo is still with the youth team.

Damien Plessis – Signed from Lyon, The 22 year old still hasn’t broken through to the first team and has appeared 8 times for the side in three years, mostly in cup fixtures.

Emiliano Insua – Became a first team regular last year after showing promising signs in 2008-2009, but despite his early success and hard working game, lacks speed and the ability to produce good crosses. In the last few days it has been rumored he’s making his way to Fiorentina.

Charles Itandje – Although still with the club (joined from Lens) the French keeper hasn’t been able to beat Reina for the no.1 spot and is currently on loan. Is mostly known for laughing and behaving inappropriately during the Hillsborough memorial in 2009.

Lauri Dalla Valle – The 20 year old Finn has been very successful at youth level with the team and this might be the year he gets a chance with the first team.

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Martin Skrtel – The only player to join Liverpool in the January 2008 window, the Slovakia international has motions from very confident and solid in the middle to shaky and injured at other times. He came from 6 million pounds from Zenit and when healthy is usually in the starting lineup.

Summer of 2008

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Andrea Dossena – For a minute, he was a great garbage time scorer off the bench, scoring for Liverpool in their 4-0 and 4-1 wins over Real Madrid and Manchester United, but for 7 million pounds paid to Udinese, Benitzed expected to get a very good left back. Even decent would have been nice, but Dossena never setteled at Anfield and returned to Italy (Napoli) last January for about half the price.

Vincent Weijl – Came from AZ and has been on reserve or out on loan back in the Netherlands since arriving at Anfield.

Vitor Flora – The young Brazilian striker is part of the reserve team.

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Robbie Keane – One of the biggest flops in recent years, Keane arrived from Tottenham for 19 million pounds, but failed to win a place and impress alongside Fernando Torres or as a lone striker. It seemed that right after finding his form Benitez benched him again, and Keane ended his Anfield affair after only six months, sold back to Spurs for 12 million pounds. Keane played 28 matches and scored 7 goals in all competitions for the club.

Diego Cavalieri – The Brazilian was purchased from Palmeiras for 3 million pounds but has yet to play a league match for Liverpool, suffering from the reign of Reina.

Nikola Saric – The Danish-Bosnian striker has yet to break out of the Liverpool reserves. He is 19, and he arrived from Danish club Herfloge.

Emmanuel Mendy – Another young Spanish defender, left back, who has yet to find a place outside the Liverpool reserves.

David N’Gog – Bought from PSG for 1.5 million pounds, N’Gog really enjoyed Torres’ injury riddled season last year, scoring five times in 24 appearances. The potential is there, but N’Gog seems to be missing many fundumentals in his game to become a legitamte scoring threat for Liverpool. However, he is only 21, so there’s a chance he’s got a lot more show.

Philipp Degen – The Swiss defender has been either injured or awful every time he’s on the pitch for Liverpool after arriving from Dortmund.

Peter Gulacsi – Another MTK product, this time a keeper. Aged 20, Gulacsi spends most of his time out on loans.

Zsolt Poloskei – MTK. Reserve team.

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Albert Riera – Purchased from Espanyol for 8 million pounds, Riera seemed to be one of Rafa’s favorites during the successful 2008-2009 campaign but had a falling out with Benitez last year. Rafa leaving to Italy has seemed to pave Riera’s place back to the first team after rumors of him getting sold.

Christopher Buchtmann – The 18 year old German is another one of those who’s had a successful time with the youth team but has failed to win a place beyond the reserves and has since left the club.


Victor Plasson – Icelandic midfielder who arrived in January 2009 for 250,000 pounds from Aarhus. Still in the reserves.

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Glen Johnson – The defender who doesn’t seem to really know how to defend. Johnson does have some exciting qualities to his game, but 18 million pounds? Benitez gambled big on Johnson and it didn’t pay off, with Johnson starting well but fading and getting injured as the season progressed. After a poor World Cup campaign, Johnson has a lot to prove at Anfield this year.

Chris Mavinga – Another young PSG’er who is fighting for his place in the reserves.

Sotirios Kyrgiakos – The veteran Greece international came from AEK for 2 million pounds and played 14 matches for Liverpool, impressing especially during January and has been highly appreciated by the fans and Liverpool blogs. Still, his slowness and injuries have held him back.

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Alberto Aquilani – He still deserves a few more chances, but another huge flop in the making, so it seems. Arrived for 17 million pounds from Roma, Aquilani was believed to be a replacement for Xabi Alonso. First he got injured, missing the first half of the season. Than, as he slowly fought his way to regain playing form, Aquilani turned out to be a much more attacking player than Xabi Alonso, not keen on playing the deep playmaker role. A lot is riding on this season if Aquilani wants to continue being a Liverpool player. Liverpool have a lot riding on him as well.

Maxi Rodriguez – I was never a fan of Maxi, but to get him for free is a bargain. Didn’t do much last year – if he’ll be a good sub this year, Liverpool will be happy.