Liverpool's worst summer transfer windows — ranked

Daryl Finch
11 months ago

A good summer window can make or break your season.

Buy well, and you can push on and continue on an upward trajectory; buy badly, and your competition can edge ahead of you and it could take years to catch up.

Regardless of what happens between now and when the transfer window slams shut on 1 September, this summer will be a defining one as Jürgen Klopp and his recruitment team undertake a complete overhaul of the midfield.

Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai look to be excellent acquisitions thus far, but with just weeks left to go until the start of the season, will this window be appearing on a future version of this list when all is said and done?

Here are our five worst summer windows ranked:

READ MORE: Liverpool's best summer transfer windows — ranked

5. 2014/2015

Ins: Adam Lallana (€31m, Southampton), Dejan Lovren (€25.3m, Southampton), Lazar Markovic (€25m, Benfica), Mario Balotelli (€20m, Milan), Alberto Moreno (€18m, Sevilla), Divock Origi (€12.7m, Lille), Emre Can (€12m, Bayer Leverkusen), Rickie Lambert (€5.5m, Southampton), Ovie Ejaria (free, Arsenal), Kevin Stewart (free, Tottenham), Javier Manquillo (loan, Atlético).

Outs: Luis Suárez (€81.7m, Barcelona), Daniel Agger (€4m, Brondby), Pepe Reina (€3m, Bayern), Divock Origi (loan, Lille), Martin Kelly (€2m, Crystal Palace), Jack Robinson (€1.3m, QPR), Conor Coady (€0.5m, Huddersfield), Luis Alberto (loan, Malaga), Iago Aspas (loan, Sevilla), Sebastián Coates (loan, Sunderland), Jordon Ibe (loan, Derby), Tiago Ilori (loan, Bordeaux), Andre Wisdom (loan, West Brom).

Having narrowly missed out on the league title the season before, the summer of 2014 was a key window for Brendan Rodgers to maintain momentum. However, the sale of Luis Suárez to Barcelona was a blow that the Reds could never recover from.

The Uruguayan, who scored 31 league goals the season prior, was replaced by a combination of Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli – neither of whom came anywhere near to the standard required and rank among the club's worst-ever signings (alongside Lazar Markovic, also signed during this window).

4. 2008/09

Ins: Robbie Keane (€24m, Tottenham), Albert Riera (€9.8m, Espanyol), Andrea Dossena (€9m, Udinese), Diego Cavalieri (€4.4m, Palmeiras), David N'Gog (€1.5m, PSG), Philipp Degen (free, Dortmund).

Outs: Peter Crouch (€13.7m, Portsmouth), John Arne Riise (€5.5m, Roma), Harry Kewell (free, Galatasaray), Steve Finnan (undisclosed, Espanyol), Scott Carson (€4m, West Brom), Anthony Le Tallec (€1.5m, Le Mans), Danny Guthrie (€4.3m, Newcastle), Sebastián Leto (loan, Olympiakos), Andriy Voronin (loan, Hertha BSC).

Despite going on to mount a surprise title push this season, this window was the beginning of the end for Rafa Benítez, as the Spaniard, operating on a tight budget, started to take greater risks in the market.

Reliable performers Peter Crouch and John Arne Riise were replaced by unreliable ones: Robbie Keane (who only lasted six months) and Andrea Dossena (who lasted only slightly longer) were poor recruits - in spite of some memorable moments.

However, this trend continued the next summer with Alberto Aquilani and Glen Johnson coming in for Xabi Alonso and Álvaro Arbeloa in what proved to be Benítez's final year as coach.

3. 2022/2023

© Proshots - Aurelien Tchouameni

Ins: Darwin Núñez (€80m, Benfica), Fábio Carvalho (€5.9m, Fulham), Calvin Ramsay (€4.9m, Aberdeen), Ben Doak (€0.7m, Celtic), Arthur Melo (loan, Juventus).

Outs: Sadio Mané (€32m, Bayern), Neco Williams (€20m, Nottingham Forest), Takumi Minamino (€15m, Monaco), Divock Origi (free, Milan), Loris Karius (released), Marko Grujic (€9m, Porto), Ben Davies (€4.7m, Rangers), Sheyi Ojo (free, Cardiff City),  Ben Woodburn (free, Preston North End), Conor Bradley (loan, Bolton Wanderers), Leighton Clarkson (loan, Aberdeen), Billy Koumetio (loan, Austria Wien), Tyler Morton (loan, Blackburn), Rhys Williams (loan, Blackpool).

While it's still too early to pass judgment on Darwin Núñez, this summer window proved to be an unmitigated disaster. Having narrowly missed out on the quadruple, Liverpool failed to adequately replace Sadio Mané and missed out on top midfield target Aurélien Tchouaméni, who signed for Real Madrid.

In the end, a midfield injury crisis provoked the deadline-day loan signing of Arthur Melo who went on to play just 13 minutes of football for the first team.

Liverpool ultimately had a catastrophic season, missing out on Champions League qualification altogether.

2. 2002/2003

Ins: El-Hadji Diouf (€15m, Lens), Salif Diao (€7.5m, Sedan), Bruno Cheyrou (€6.5m, Lille), Anthony Le Tallec (€2.5m, Le Havre), Alou Diarra (free, Bayern), Patrice Luzi (free, Ajaccio).

Outs: Stephen Wright (€4.8m, Sunderland), Nick Barmby (€4.5m, Leeds), Gary McAllister (€0.5M, Coventry), Jari Litmanen (free, Ajax), Jamie Redknapp (free, Tottenham), Alou Diarra (loan, Le Havre), Richie Partridge (loan, Coventry), Anthony Le Tallec (loan, Le Havre), Stephen Warnock (loan, Bradford City).

By the time the summer of 2002 came around, Gérard Houllier had earned a reputation for unearthing amazing talents from unlikely sources. He, therefore, had some credit in the bank when he raided the French market for two players who went on to become two of Senegal's stand-out performers in the World Cup: forward El-Hadji Diouf, who arrived for a club-record fee, and midfielder Salif Diao.

Also signed this window was a player Houllier bafflingly proclaimed would be the "next Zidane", Bruno Cheyrou, as well as two "generational talents" from Le Havre, cousins Anthony Le Tallec and Florent Sinama-Pongolle (although we wouldn't see them in a Reds shirt for a few years).

It's fair to say that none of these players lived up to their high billing – and this eventually spelt the end for Houllier.

1. 2010/2011

NAPELS, ITALY - Thursday, October 21, 2010: Liverpool players line-up before the UEFA Europa League Group K match against SSC Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo. Back row L-R: Jonjo Shelvey, goalkeeper Pepe Reina, David Ngog, Martin Skrtel, Martin Kelly, Christian Poulsen. Front row L-R: Jay Spearing, Paul Konchesky, Milan Jovanovic, captain Jamie Carragher, Ryan Babel. (Pic by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ins: Raúl Meireles (€13m, Porto), Christian Poulsen (€5.5m, Juventus), Paul Konchesky (€4.2m, Fulham), Brad Jones (€2.8m, Middlesbrough), Danny Wilson (€2.8m, Rangers), Jonjo Shelvey (Charlton Athletic, €2m), Suso (€60k, Cadiz), Joe Cole (free, Chelsea), Milan Jovanovic (free, Standard).

Outs: Javier Mascherano (€20m, Barcelona), Yossi Benayoun (€7m, Chelsea), Albert Riera (€6m, Olympiakos), Mikel San José (€2.7m, Athletic), Damien Plessis (€0.8m, Panathinaikos), Diego Cavalieri (free, Cesena), Alberto Aquilani (loan, Juventus), Daniel Ayala (loan, Hull City), Philipp Degen (loan, VfB Stuttgart), Péter Gulácsi (loan, Tranmere), Emiliano Insúa (loan, Galatasaray), Nabil El Zhar (loan, PAOK).

Roy Hodgson's brief stint as Liverpool coach will be remembered not only for dragging the side towards a relegation battle, but also for a string of horrendous signings.

None of Joe Cole, Milan Jovanovic, Christian Poulsen, Paul Konchesky, Brad Jones, Danny Wilson or Jonjo Shelvey would ever be considered anywhere near good enough to wear the famous red shirt. Even getting them off the books proved to be an enormous challenge as Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers looked to clean up this considerable mess in the years following.

Raúl Meireles gave us a few good times, though.

*all transfer fees as reported in € by Transfermarkt

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