Liverpool recently broke the £30million barrier for the third time with the £34m signing of Southampton forward Sadio Mané.
While the Reds will be hoping that the Senegalese international proves to be more successful than the other two signings of similar value (namely Andy Carroll and Christian Benteke), it does once again bring up the fact that Liverpool have a chequered history when it comes to spending big on players.
Indeed, of the nine players that they have spent over 20 million pounds on, possibly only half turned out to be a success – and even that is open for debate.
To that end, here are Liverpool’s ten most expensive signings, ranked in order of success as opposed to fee.
10. Andy Carroll – £35m (2011)
Let’s get this one out of the way first, shall we?
When people say that the “game is gone” nowadays regarding transfers, their minds should be cast back to January 2011 when, panicking from the departure of Fernando Torres, Liverpool saw fit to spend £35m on a 22-year-old striker with less than 6 months’ top flight experience.
As if to give to give Liverpool fans false hope, he scored twice on his debut as Kenny Dalglish’s side beat Manchester City 3-0. However, after 18 months at the club – in which he scored just 11 goals – he was loaned to West Ham by Brendan Rodgers in 2013, before completing a £15m permanent transfer to Upton Park one year later.
9. Robbie Keane – £19m (2008)
Having sold Peter Crouch to Portsmouth in the summer of 2008, Rafa Benítez was in need of a striker to contend with Fernando Torres.
His solution was to sign a proven Premier League goalscorer (and David N’Gog) – and while in theory it should have worked, in practice it failed to produce the desired effect. Keane’s own style of play never really suited what Benítez was trying to get from him, and as a result the goals never really flowed.
After just six months at Anfield, Keane was sold back to Tottenham for £12m. He had scored 7 goals in 28 appearances in all competitions for one of his many boyhood clubs.
8. Lazar Marković – £20m (2014)
The highly-rated Serbian international arrived from Benfica as part of Brendan Rodgers’ post-Luis Suárez transfer splurge, and much was expected of the talented winger.
However, a slow bedding-in period plus Rodgers’ habit of playing him out of position meant that Marković was never able to make a big impact at Anfield, and he was shipped out on loan to Fenerbahce after just one season and eleven Premier League starts.
He is now back at the club, and while he will be hoping to impress Jurgen Klopp his future continues to be the subject of much speculation.
7. Christian Benteke – £32.5m (2015)
2015 saw quite the striker overhaul at Liverpool. Out went Fabio Borini, Mario Balotelli and Ricke Lambert, and in came Danny Ings, Divock Origi and £32.5m signing Christian Benteke.
While questions were asked about how the Belgian international would fit into Rodgers’ preferred style of play, there was no doubt whatsoever that he would not fit into Klopp’s. As such, Benteke only started 14 Premier League games last season, as was mainly used as a Plan B from the bench.
Linked with a £30m move to Crystal Palace, amazingly it seems that Liverpool may make back almost every penny that they spent on the 25-year-old.
6. Dejan Lovren – £20m (2014)
The Croatian defender worked hard to restore his reputation last season after a nightmare first year at Anfield. A £20m signing from Liverpool’s favourite shopping centre, Southampton, Lovren was scapegoated to the hilt by fans adter a number of high-profile errors, and many would happily have seen him sold last summer.
However, since Klopp has arrived Lovren has looked like a different player. Faces stiff competition for his place from new signing Joel Matip next season and that high fee remains something of a burden, but Lovren is showing signs that he may be a strong player for the club after all.
5. Sadio Mané – £34m (2016)
Liverpool’s latest signing may be a little high in this list, but in an era where £30m is the new £20m, there is far less pressure on Mané to perform than some of his predecessors.
The 24-year-old has looked lively in his pre-season outings for Klopp’s side thus far, and the general consensus is that far more thought was put into his signing than some of the names further up this list. The manager has a vision, and Mané fits into that vision.
It may not work out, every transfer is a risk after all, but the smart money would be on Klopp getting the best out of the forward.
4. Adam Lallana – £25m (2014)
The England international was one of three Southampton players signed by Rodgers in 2014 and, while this may be damning with faint praise, Lallana has turned out to be the best of them.
Though he showed flashes of brilliance in his first season, the 28-year-old is another who has really come into his own since the arrival of Klopp. Doubts around his fitness have been banished as he worked tirelessly for the side last season.
Though he is still too inconsistent for some, and his place is under threat from Mané, Lallana has shown his worth to Klopp and Liverpool in the past twelve months.
3. Roberto Firmino – £29m (2015)
Having taken some time to settle at Anfield, Roberto Firmino was arguably Liverpool’s best player last season.
Once he found his feet, the Brazilian international proved a nightmare for opposition defences, and finished the season with a creditable 10 goals in 31 appearances. Ex-Brazil manager Dunga constantly overlooked him in favour of Kaka – a decision which drew widespread criticism from the Brazilian media and public.
The signs are there that the 24-year-old is only going to improve at Anfield. What he showed in parts last season is set to become a regular occurrence – next to compatriot Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino is set to flourish.
That said, he was nearly docked a couple of places for whatever the hell this is supposed to be…
2. Fernando Torres – £20.2m (2007)
With a number of top European clubs circling, the signing of Fernando Torres in 2007 was something of a coup for Liverpool.
He turned out to be worth every penny. Right from the second he scored against Chelsea on his debut, Liverpool knew they had bought something special. He would go on to score 33 goals in all competitions that season, cementing his status as an Anfield favourite.
He ended up with 81 goals in 142 goals for the club, and though there were signs of his decline before he forced through a £50m move to Chelsea in 2011, he is still remembered as one of the finest strikers the club has ever seen.
Though it’s best not to discuss what has happened to him since…
1. Luis Suárez – £22.8m (2011)
Quite simply, one of the best players to have played for Liverpool. That he has to share his unveiling photos with Andy Carroll is a travesty.
Though the Uruguayan striker was not without his fair share of controversy (to put it mildly), he became a global superstar at Anfield. Played a key role in their unlikely title challenge in 2013/14, and despite his public attempts to leave for Arsenal one year earlier, nobody at the club could begrudge him his £63m move to Barcelona.
He left Liverpool with a record of 82 goals in 133 games, and has since gone on to become one of the best players in the world at Barca.