Every African to play for Liverpool - Ranked

Here are 21 African footballers to play for Liverpool and how well they did while wearing the Red. It's certainly a mixed bag.

Liverpool have had a lot of African players down the years - to the point where narrowing them down for this feature is actually quite a task. For one, there are several African players who aren't necessarily thought of as African.

Craig Johnston? Born in South Africa but grew up in Australia. Christian Benteke was born in Zaire, but his family fled to Belgium when he was young. Abel Xavier is another who was born on the continent - Mozambique in this case - but was playing in Portugal as a teenager.

Then there's the fact that Liverpool signed several South African players in the pre-war years, many of whom only played a handful of games. It means we've left out those who didn't really contribute all that much (which also, sadly, leaves off five-game Sean Dundee).

Players like Momo Sissoko weren't born in Africa, either, but did represent an African country at international level. That's enough for us.

We've made some judgment calls, then. Johnston can be called Australian and isn't on the list. Benteke, though, we'll count as African as his entire background is from the Congo.

So with all of that in mind, here are our 21 greatest African players to play for Liverpool.

21. Oussama Assaidi (Morocco)

Assaidi arrived at Liverpool out of nowhere but with some promise. He'd been at Herenveen and arrived in Brendan Rodgers' first summer. But the Moroccan was a non-entity, barely playing at all before departing on loan and then permanently after a season.

20. Nabil El Zhar (Morocco)

Liverpool had El Zhar in their academy for quite some time but the winger failed to make any impact once he finally broke through. Still, he did break through - that's more than the vast majority do.

19. Dirk Kemp (South Africa)

South African Kemp joined Liverpool in 1937 but did so at the same time as Arthur Riley. Both goalkeepers, Riley kept Kemp out of the starting XI for virtually his entire stay. Did manage 30 games, though.

18. El-Hadji Diouf (Senegal)

All things considered, there's an argument that Diouf should be last. He was the club's record signing when arriving in 2002 but worse the no.9 in a goalless first season. Then there was the spitting and the overall awfulness. Did score a couple of goals, though.

17. Salif Diao (Senegal)

Diao arrived with Diouf - two members of Senegal's historic 2002 World Cup squad. He didn't fare much better than his compatriot, though, and just simply wasn't good enough. Did stick around for a couple of years but with next to no impact.

16. Rigobert Song (Cameroon)

Gerard Houllier signed Song in 1998 but he just wasn't up to it. Only lasted a year at the back before moving on. Perhaps the most memorable part of it all was Houllier claiming he used to pretend to eat grass and that Robbie Fowler's line-sniffing celebration was actually a homage to that (it wasn't).

15. Victor Moses (Nigeria)

A real rarity, Moses arrived as a loan signing for Liverpool. Not only that, but he came from Chelsea - a perceived rival. In all, he was okay in his one season. Unfortunately for him, the Reds settled on an XI after the New Year and he barely got a look in.

14. Doug Rudham (South Africa)

Rudham isn't a player with too much to read up on, admittedly. Still, he was a goalkeeper with 66 games for Liverpool and that certainly lifts him away from the bottom of this list.

13. Bob Priday (South Africa)

Priday managed a total of 40 games as a winger for Liverpool and he was a part of the squad that won the title in 1947. Unfortunately for Priday, his nine appearances fell marginally short of qualifying for a medal that season.

12. Lance Carr (South Africa)

A winger who was in and out of the side, Carr spent a few years with Liverpool, scoring eight times. He was also a contributor in the Reds' bigger Merseyside derby win, picking up two assists in a 6-0 victory.

11. Christian Benteke (Zaire)

Benteke was born in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1990 but moved to Belgium in 1993. He was a big signing for Liverpool in 2015 and did have some great moments. On the whole, though, he didn't fit in and new boss Jurgen Klopp moved him on a year later.

10. Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast)

Toure was great for what he was - a free transfer to bring some experience at the back. He contributed to a fantastic 13/14 campaign and while few would have put him in the starting XI, the Ivorian played his part well across a three-year spell.

9. Titi Camara (Guinea)

Camara was at Liverpool for less than 12 months but left a bigger impression than most. 10 goals will help that along, of course. And you can't mention the man without bringing up him playing and scoring the winning goal for Liverpool just hours after learning his father had died. An incredible moment.

8. Momo Sissoko (Mali)

Sissoko was born in France but represented Mali at international level. He came in at a time when Liverpool had arguably the greatest midfield in their history - Xabi Alonso, Momo Sissoko, Gerrard and Mascherano. Sissoko held his own amongst the legends and was only really derailed by a serious eye injury. He wasn't quite the same player after that but at his peak, brilliant.

7. Arthur Riley (South Africa)

Riley came to Liverpool's attention as part of a team touring from South Africa in the 1920s. They beat the Reds 5-2 and the club promptly signed two of them. One was Riley, who went on to remain with the club for 14 years, playing well over 300 games.

6. Naby Keita (Guinea)

The idea of Keita was pretty much always better than the actual Keita - he just couldn't stay fit or find consistency. But when the Guinean was on it, he was unquestionably one of the best players in the squad. That's why he's so high on this list, even if that might be a little unfair on some.

5. Berry Nieuwenhuys (South Africa)

Nieuwenhuys was a very successful player for Liverpool in the 1930s/40s, scoring 74 league goals across 200-odd games. In a lot of ways, the winger was incredibly unfortunate. He lost nearly his entire peak to the war and had fallen a little out of favour when the Reds won the title in 1947. Still, he got a medal - thoroughly deserved for his career at Anfield.

4. Bruce Grobbelaar (South Africa)

Grobbelaar had one of the most difficult tasks in Liverpool's history back in 1981 as he had to take over from Ray Clemence, arguably the greatest goalkeeper ever seen at Anfield. And yet, he did it. Grobbelaar would remain the no.1 for Liverpool across 13 seasons, winning six titles, three FA Cups and the European Cup. That haul makes him, by trophies, by far the most successful on this list.

3. Gordon Hodgson (South Africa)

Hodgson is a very easy one to explain - he's the third-top scorer in Liverpool's history and second for league goals. He, like Riley, arrived as part of a touring squad from South Africa and impressed against the Reds in a 5-2 win. He then joined the club, finishing with a record of 241 goals in 377 games.

2. Sadio Mané (Senegal)

Mané is the first on this list where you can unequivocally say he was one of the world's best players at Liverpool. The winger developed into a sensation at Anfield, forming one-third of arguably the best front-line around. Mané won every major trophy for the Reds, too, and finished with an incredible number of individual awards. An all-time great.

1. Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

There is no question that Salah is the greatest African to play for Liverpool. He has arguably been the world's best player at times while at the Reds and currently sits as their fifth all-time top scorer. Second in the Ballon d'Or in 2018, PFA Player of the Year, the star of Champions League and Premier League-winning sides; Salah isn't just the greatest African to ever play for Liverpool, he's in the discussion for the greatest African footballer ever.

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