Liverpool, the newly-crowned Premier League champions, are a model club for the intelligent recruitment of players, but it wasn’t always that way.
The likes of Andy Robertson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have all arrived at the club for relatively modest fees, but those deals are also testament to how badly the Reds got it wrong in years gone by.
You don’t even have to go too far back to find colossal fees spent on players who didn’t justify the hype and eyebrow-raising signings that looked hopelessly out of place.
Mirror Football takes a look at 10 of the worst transfers Liverpool have conducted over the past decade…
The Danish defensive midfielder played in each of Europe’s top five leagues, but his time in England wasn’t a success after joining Liverpool from Juventus for £4.5m in 2010.
Ponderous on the ball and ill-equipped to deal with the pace of the Premier League, he suffered the indignity of falling behind Jay Spearing in the midfield pecking order.
Poulsen made just 12 appearances in the league and was promptly shown the exit door a year after his arrival by signing for Ligue 1 club Evian.
Brendan Rodgers’ first signing wasn’t his best. The Italian forward managed just three goals in 38 appearances, but he went on to rebuild his reputation at Sunderland before turning heads with a move to AC Milan in 2017.
An England international and a solid club servant for Fulham when they finished as Europa League runners-up in 2010, Konchesky was brought along by Roy Hodgson when he succeeded Rafael Benitez in the Liverpool dugout.
Emblematic of Hodgson’s disastrous half-season stint as manager, his trusted left-back looked out of his depth from day one and was swiftly loaned out to Championship side Nottingham Forest three weeks after the veteran manager’s dismissal.
Adam was signed by fellow Scot Kenny Dalglish in 2011 after an excellent individual campaign as Blackpool put in a gallant effort to remain in the Premier League.
But Adam quickly looked a better fit in an underdog side scrapping for survival rather than one battling for European qualification. He joined Stoke for £4m after just one year at Anfield.
Downing had more than 300 senior appearances to his name by the time he joined Liverpool from Aston Villa in 2011.
Dalglish had earmarked the winger as the man to get the best out of Andy Carroll, but he failed to take his game to the next level and turned out to be the kind of pedestrian presence fans had feared he would.
Downing failed to register a single goal or assist in 2,477 minutes of Premier League football in his debut season at Anfield.
A Europa League-winner with Seville and already capped by Spain when he arrived for £12m in 2014, Moreno failed to live up to those standards at Anfield.
In fact, he is best-remembered for his positional indiscipline and recklessness in the Reds backline.
The left-back received a warm send-off when he was released in 2019 after five years at the club, but he had long been usurped by Andy Robertson by that time.
Not the Luis Suarez replacement Liverpool were crying out for, Balotelli’s abject one-year stint at the club typified Brendan Rodgers’ floundering final full season. He scored just one Premier League goal from 10 starts.
Going on to rekindle his career with a one-in-two goalscoring record at Nice and Marseille, the Italian is evidently a useful striker in the right environment, but it was a mistake to believe he’d find that on Merseyside.
The Belgian international hit double figures for goals in three successive seasons at Aston Villa, his record of 42 from 89 Premier League appearances persuading Liverpool to pay his £32m release clause in 2015.
He managed nine goals in 29 Premier League appearances in his one and only season at Anfield, a better goals-per-minute ratio that year than fellow new arrival Roberto Firmino.
But he never looked a natural fit, especially after Jurgen Klopp’s arrival three months into the season. Subsequent years have vindicated the German’s decision to build his attack around Firmino and allow Benteke to leave for Crystal Palace.
The likes of Ederson, David Luiz and Nemanja Matic have all used Benfica as a springboard to successful careers at the very top of English football, but it’s safe to say Markovic failed to do the same when he joined Liverpool in 2014.
A £20m signing, the Serbian winger failed to live up to his early promise and spent three-quarters of his four-year contract on loan at various clubs.
Markovic had a similarly unsuccessful half-season spell at Fulham after joining them on a free in January 2019. He is now back with boyhood club Partizan Belgrade.
The hyperinflation of the transfer market means £35m no longer sounds like a substantial fee, but back in 2011 it was a mind-blowing sum for the ponytailed Newcastle striker.
The classic panic buy, reinvesting 70% of the record £50m received for Fernando Torres turned out to be poor business as the Geordie managed six goals in 44 Premier League appearances.
“I was injured at the time, and all I'm thinking is, ‘Please, just fail the medical’” he said last year when reflecting on the move.
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