5 Liverpool prospects who reached their potential elsewhere

Will Castle
12 months ago

"The grass isn't always greener on the other side."

It's a phrase Liverpool fans have become all too familiar with in recent times.

Whether it's Philippe Coutinho's sensational decline since his £142m move to Barcelona, Gini Wijnaldum's ill-fated switch to PSG or, most recently, Sadio Mane's disastrous year in Munich – there are a plethora of examples where stars have chosen to up sticks from Merseyside, only for their decision to backfire down the line.

That isn't to say there isn't life after Liverpool. For a select few, a move away from Anfield has reaped its rewards – particularly for fledgeling youngsters, who may have struggled to break into the first-team at Anfield.

Here are five former Reds prospects who failed to hit the heights expected of them in Liverpool colours, but reached their potential elsewhere.


Luis Alberto

Not many knew much of Luis Alberto prior to his move to Liverpool.

The 21-year-old experienced a productive season in the Spanish second tier on loan at Barcelona B, but he was far from a household name, and fans were quick to question whether the midfielder warranted the £6.8m price tag that was shelled out for him.

Unfortunately for the Spaniard, he never truly got to prove his worth as a Red.

Used sparingly by Brendan Rodgers after joining in 2013, Alberto would only make nine appearances for the club, before spending the next two seasons with stints on loan at Malaga and Deportivo La Coruña.

However, following his permanent departure from Liverpool in 2016 (something Reds fans didn't blink twice at), his career finally began to prosper.

Joining Lazio for £4.3m, Alberto's stock began to soar, transforming into one of Serie A's best midfielders and becoming a mainstay in Simone Inzaghi's starting XI.

Having made 263 appearances for the Italian giants so far, racking up over 100 goal contributions, Luis Alberto has enjoyed seven successful years in Rome, and it's safe to say his underwhelming stay on Merseyside is firmly in his rear-view mirror.

Peter Gulacsi

You'd be forgiven if you struggle to recall Peter Gulacsi, who has long been among the top goalkeepers in the Bundesliga, in a Reds shirt.

The Hungarian shot-stopper did in fact spend the first five years of his professional career at Liverpool between 2008 and 2013 – and not once did he make an appearance.

He was bounced around the lower leagues of England for a few seasons, playing for the likes of Tranmere Rovers and Hull City on loan before his departure to Red Bull Salzburg in the summer of 2013.

No one batted an eyelid when he moved on, but it was in the Austrian Bundesliga where he finally began to build some momentum.

After making 100 appearances for Salzburg, he swapped Red Bull for Red Bull and joined up with the rapidly rising RB Leipzig.

Earning promotion to the Bundesliga in his first season, Gulacsi has since been a constant in Leipzig's rise to Champions League status, making 283 appearances for the club.

He is now recognised as one of the best keepers in Germany's top flight. Not bad for a lad that once turned out for Hereford United.

Sebastian Coates

To most Liverpool fans, Sebastian Coates is solely remembered for his stunning acrobatic effort against Queen's Park Rangers – his one and only goal for the club.

Signed from Uruguayan outfit Nacional as a 20-year-old, Coates failed to set the world alight in the Premier League, either with the Reds or Sunderland – who took the defender off Brendan Rodgers' hands in 2015.

However, it would be with Portuguese giants Sporting CP that Coates would finally find his feet.

Making over 200 appearances since he first stepped foot in Lisbon, Coates has gone on to captain Sporting, leading them to their first league title in 19 years in the 2020/21 season – a campaign where he was named the Primeira Liga's player of the season.

Does that achievement top scoring a worldie against Paddy Kenny? I doubt it, but each to their own.

Allan

This one would have slipped the minds of many, and for good reason.

Allan Rodrigues de Souza was brought to the club in the summer of 2015, with Liverpool shelling out £500,000 to secure the services of the 18-year-old after he impressed the Reds hierarchy at the Frenz International Cup.

However, the Brazilian youngster's career at Anfield would be plagued by work permit issues, and in his five seasons at the club, Allan would never register a single first-team competitive minute.

Instead, Allan was shipped out on loan season after season up until his contract with Liverpool expired, upon which he decided to return to Brazil. It was a decision that truly turned his career around.

Becoming a staple of Atletico Minero's midfield, making 131 appearances in just three seasons, Allan has become a recognised figure in the Brazilian Serie A, playing a major part in the club's league title triumph of 2021.

Completing an €8.2m transfer to South American giants Flamengo in the summer of 2023, Allan – now 26 – is at the peak of his powers.

Suso

Coming through Liverpool's youth setup, there were early signs that Spanish winger Suso could succeed on Merseyside, breaking into the first team at the beginning of the 2012/13 season.

However, following the mid-season arrivals of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, the Andalusian attacking midfielder became starved of minutes, and would soon depart for pastures new.

After a season on loan at Almeria, he made the move to Italian greats AC Milan in 2015.

He would become a regular fixture for Milan during his five-year stay, making 126 appearances for the Rossoneri during their time of rebuild.

In terms of silverware, though, Suso would experience the majority of his success with Sevilla.

Since returning to his homeland in 2020, the Spaniard has gone on to feature in two Europa League triumphs, notably bagging a crucial goal in his side's 2-1 semi-final victory over Manchester United during the 2020/21 campaign. File under: things you love to see.

At 29 years of age, he's still got much of his career ahead of him.

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