Liverpool: Power Ranking the Millenium's 7 Worst Signings
Since the dawn of the new millennium and the introduction of billionaire club owners to English football, the English Premier League has facilitated a multitude of both excellent and scandalously bad transfers.
While many premiership clubs have readily reached for their cheque books in an attempt to bolster their squad, the spotlight in this case falls upon 18-time league and five-time European champions, Liverpool FC.
Only four managers have touched the hallowed ''This Is Anfield'' sign since the year 2000, and while some managerial tenures are held in higher regard than others by The Kop faithful, all four have played their part in the recruitment of the good, the bad and the forgettable to Merseyside.
Let the heartache begin...
7. Andrea Dossena
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
While a goal against your bitterest rivals in a 4-1 win on their home turf is usually enough to write you into the annals of a club's history, the same cannot be said of the former Verona defender Andrea Dossena.
Although his lob against Manchester United at Old Trafford will live long in the memories of fans, it is not enough to dilute what was a dismal career spell at Anfield.
Signed for an amount in the region of £7m, Dossena never fully got to grips with the pace and demand of the English game, and could not hold off either Fabio Aurelio or Emiliano Insua for a starting spot. Ultimately exposed and shown to be way out of his depth at Liverpool following a string of bad displays, he departed for Napoli in early 2010.
6. Christian Poulsen
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
When you think of Danish football, three things immediately spring to mind: Euro 92 champions, Michael Laudrup and Peter Schmeichel. Unfortunately for the Liverpool faithful, their permanent reminder of the Nordic country is indelibly linked to Christian Poulsen.
Signed for £4.5m in 2010, it took only one full year (almost to the day), a handful of unimaginative performances and no goals until the former Juventus and Sevilla star was packing his bags and heading for France.
Brought to the club during the reign of Roy Hodgson, the Dane was never able to display the type of skill or guile required of him to hold down a position in the starting 11 and was swiftly surplus to requirements under current manager Kenny Dalglish.
5. Salif Diao
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Signed for £5m alongside El Hadji Diouf in 2002, Liverpool would go two-for-two in the failure category with Senegalese players. Diao appeared 61 times during his three-year spell for the club, netting three goals in the process.
Following the 2004 season, he was loaned out to Birmingham City. Injury restricted him to playing only two league matches for the Blues and he was soon loaned out to Portsmouth, where further injury problems saw him fail to secure a permanent contract.
The next club to show an interest was Stoke City and Diao joined the Potteries on loan in October 2006 and eventually signed a one-and-a-half year deal with them in December 2007.
4. El Hadji Diouf
Ben Radford/Getty Images
The image for this slide shows something that most Liverpool fans longed to see for good; the back of El Hadji Diouf.
Quite possibly the most ''unLiverpool'' player to have donned a jersey for the club, his attitude and behavior was completely at odds with the values and traditions of the club.
Signed from Lens in 2002, the Senegalese striker courted controversy on many occasions, never more than when he disgraced the shirt of Liverpool by spitting on a Celtic fan following full-time at Celtic Park in their 2003 UEFA Cup clash.
Club captain Steven Gerard accurately sums up Diouf's contributions to the club in his autobiography: ''His attitude was all wrong. I felt he wasn't really arsed about putting his body on the line to get Liverpool back at the top."
Following a paltry return of only six goals in 80 games and becoming the only No. 9 not to score in a season for the club, he was loaned out and subsequently sold to Bolton Wanderers for a cut-price fee.
3. Alberto Aquilani
Jed Leicester/Getty Images
Almost as farcical a signing as the Robbie Keane fiasco, the £17m Italian signing would line-out only 28 times for the Reds before being loaned to Italian club Juventus in August 2010.
While an undoubted talent, the fitness concerns surrounding his initial transfer would hamper and delay his first team outings for the club.
During his performances for Liverpool he displayed tremendous ability and vision, contributing both in terms of assists and work-rate and he endeared himself greatly to Liverpool's fans.
The real issue with the transfer concerns the former Roma star never being given adequate time to recover from the injury Liverpool inherited upon his signing and, due to need for midfield options, Rafa Benitez was pressured to rush his recovery and play him when he may not have been 100-percent ready.
Had he been given the full time required to adapt to the English game and recover from injury, he would have most likely flourished. He is currently on loan at AC Milan, although Liverpool still have the option to bring him back to Anfield should the Rossoneri decide against making the loan permanent.
2. Robbie Keane
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
It may seem strange to some that a player who has netted 51 times for his country would make the list of the worst LFC transfers this millennium. As unusual as it may be in writing, the acquisition and subsequent departure of Robbie Keane most definitely ranks alongside the worst of them.
Signed for a fee of £19m from Tottenham Hotspur in 2008, the Dublin native possessed an already proven track record for both club and country up to this point in his career. The way in which Rafa Benitez decided to man-manage and deploy Keane is central to the failure of his time at the club.
Being selected one week to start and then completely omitted from the 18-man squad the next week, he was never truly given the time or run of games needed by a striker to gain the confidence and understanding required when playing for a new team.
His only run of games and goals came with a double against Bolton in December '08, followed by a crucial equaliser away to Arsenal in the following game. From there on, he was either dropped from the squad or on the bench. When Tottenham came calling on the last day of the January '09 transfer window, he moved swiftly back to London, a mere 6 months since the day he left the Lilywhites.
1. Andy Carroll
Michael Regan/Getty Images
It may seem like an easy choice to put Andy Carroll's move from Newcastle United to Liverpool at the top of this list. To put things in perspective, however, the fee of £35m paid for Carroll makes him the 12th most expensive footballer in history, and of the same valuation as that which was paid for Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Aguero.
Having watched both Fabregas and Aguero, I am certain Liverpool will not receive the same return on investment as Barcelona and Manchester City do, respectively. So far for the Reds, Carroll has netted six goals in 36 games and does not bring the sort of aerial threat or link up ability that was purported to be in his arsenal when signing for the club.
Prior to penning for the Reds, his career total of 32 goals in 91 games for both Newcastle United, and for Preston North End during a loan spell, would highlight that he is far from prolific in front of goal.
With the controversial but hugely talented Luis Suarez occupying the current No. 1 striker spot, it can be justifiably argued that Liverpool should have spent the Fernando Torres sale money far more wisely and acquired a striker who was befitting of such a price tag.