Jamie Carragher left it late to name Liverpool’s greatest signing of the Premier League era.
As part of Monday Night Football, Jamie Carragher was asked to compile a list of Liverpool’s top signings over the past 30 years and the Reds legend was torn between his top two of Sami Hyypia and Mo Salah.
Carragher went back and forth on the subject before ultimately deciding that his former partner in the centre of Liverpool’s defence, Hyypia, was the best piece of business done by the club.
Carragher listed the reasons for picking Hyypia, who moved to Liverpool from Willem II for £2.6 million in 1999, over Salah.
“This is not who the best player is, this is pound-for-pound,” Carragher said on Sky Sports.
“And the reason Sami Hyypia is on that list is because when I think of where Liverpool were in 1999, they were a team finishing sixth and seventh in the league. They’d come out of that Roy Evans era, a team that got close to the title but then it started fading away.
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“That team was known as a weak team, it got bullied. He [Hyypia] came in and played for the club for ten years, he was never injured, and Liverpool went from a soft touch to a team that was mentally and physically very strong and he was a massive part of that.
“The success we had over the next 10 years with Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez was built on defence. It wasn’t about being an exciting team going forward scoring lots of goals. It was built on solidity and that started with his signing.
“The price tag, the never being injured, the ten years of service and the trophies that he won, that’s why he’s top. It was a toss-up between him and Mo Salah. Mo Salah has been top scorer, you think of what he’s won, it’s a tough one.”
Gary Neville didn’t quite agree with Carragher’s explanation but the former Liverpool centre-half stuck to his guns.
Explaining why Hyypia’s impact at Anfield was more impressive than Virgil van Dijk’s, Carragher claimed that nobody expected such an influence from Hyypia, who was something of an unknown player when he made the move.
“Virgil van Dijk came in and helped win the Champions League for Liverpool but don’t forget, Sami Hyypia won the Champions League too,” Carragher continued.
“The only thing that team with Hyypia didn’t win was the Premier League. They still won FA Cups, League Cups and Uefa Cups over a 10-year period.
“The reason I’m putting Sami top… Sami’s not a better player than Virgil van Dijk but Virgil van Dijk was a world record transfer fee so you’d expect that impact.
“When Sami Hyypia came to Liverpool, nobody had heard of him. Nobody have even seen him play. The impact he had with Liverpool was just instrumental.”