3 Nov 2009

Rafa Benitez's 10 BEST SIGNINGS for Liverpool FC

Last week I posted what I believed to be Rafa Benitez's 10 biggest transfer blunders. This week, as promised, I take a look at the 10 best signings during the Boss's 5 years in charge. And there have been some absolute corkers!

When you think back to the squad Rafa inherited (Traore, Biscan, et al), it is clear that our squad is now superior in almost every way.

A few of you may be surprised I am writing this article at all, but let me just say to those of you who believe different - I am not anti-Rafa, I don't hate Scousers and I am very much a Liverpool fan (32 years and counting) and always will be.

Anyway, enough of that, let's get down to business. Here are what I believe to be Rafa's top 10.

Fernando Torres

Universally recognised as one of the very best strikers in the world today. At 25, he is probably not even in his prime yet. Must be worth at least four times what we paid for him in 2007. Loads of top teams looked at him including Man U, but Rafa took the plunge and has turned him into a world-beater * every top team would love to sign him.

Xabi Alonso

Rafa pipped Real Madrid for his signing. An unbelievably cultured midfielder who provided us with 5 years great service. He improved immeasurably under Rafa and was sold to Real Madrid in the summer for roughly 3 times what we paid for him.

Pepe Reina

Like many of us, I had no idea who Pepe was when we signed him. Has turned out to be one of the best keepers in the world and one of our best ever. Unlucky to be around at the same time as Casillas, otherwise would have a shed load more Spain caps than the 18 he has. At 27, he is not even near his peak yet.

Daniel Agger

The nearest centre back to Alan Hansen I have ever seen. Cool, calm, strong and superb at playing out from the back. A great shot when he gets in range. When he is fit, it is easy to see the assurance he brings to our defence. Still young for a centre back, will get even better.

Peter Crouch

Must admit, I was left scratching my head when we signed Peter, it seemed like a bit of a joke, especially after the goal-less start to his career with us. Proved to be a very shrewd signing though and gave us something different. A real handful for defenders on his day. Sold for a tidy profit too.

Yossi Benayoun

Like Peter Crouch, I wasn't convinced when we signed Yossi. He has improved every year with us though and is now genuinely among our most important players. Provides spark and guile around the box. If sold today, you would think it would be for far more than the £5m we paid West Ham for him.

Javier Mascherano

Another signing from West Ham. Not sure what their manager Alan Curbishley was doing, keeping Javier on the bench, clearly he didn't fancy him. Another example of Rafa having a sharp eye though. Has turned him into arguably the best holding midfielder in the world. Captain of Argentina. No wonder Barcelona want him so bad.

Martin Skrtel

This man is built like an Oak tree, super strong. A no-nonsense defender who you can imagine forming a defensive partnership with Agger for the next 10 years. Again, young and likely to continue improving.

Alvaro Arbeloa

Has Rafa to thank for improving him and completely turning around his career. Very solid and steady, if unspectacular. The fact he was sold to real Madrid tells you everything about the progress the man had made.

Fabio Aurelio

Just got back into the Brazil squad. Cultured left foot and a great free-kick technique (remember Old Trafford last year?). Signed for free, clearly a player Rafa trusts. There would be no shortage of takers should we ever cash-in.

Alex Miller


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  1. Disagree about Peter Crouch. I'd rather have Dirk Kuyt in there in place of him. Agree about the rest. 

  2. Totally see your point Bikram. But the thing for me with Dirk is that he was signed for £10m or so with a reputation as a goal scoring stiker. He seemed unable to hit a cow's ass with a banjo and so was shunted out wide right. I agree he does a steady job for us, but not what I expected when we initially signed him. I am a little disappointed from that point of view - that's why I left him off.

  3. I would have had Bellamy in there too, he is awesome. I also have a soft spot for Mark Gonzalez

  4. I think Bellamy would have been great for us... wasn't with us long enough. As for Gonzalez, how did you get that soft spot - how many games did he actually play for us?? :-)

  5. Bellamy would've and could've been great if he was used properly and more often.  

    Great list :)

    6 of your 10 are defensive-minded players, which pretty much sums up Rafa's reign to be honest. I prefer attack-minded players, so I would change:

    Arbeloa for Luis Garcia
    Aurelio for Dirk Kuyt (Well, he's more attack-minded than Aurelio!)

    In terms of overall contribution to the cause, I think Kuyt and Garcia have had a greater impact that Arbeloa and Aurelio.

  6. This list sounds like Rafa's obituary

  7. Excellent list. I would however swap Aurelio for Johnson (I know it's early days but he was quality before he came and has impressed since arriving). I would also swap Arbeloa for Luis Garcia (although he was frustrating at times he popped up with important goals and gave his all for the club when he played IMO).

    I think the Crouch 'v' Kuyt argument is probably 50/50. I didn't scratch my head when he (Crouch) arrived as he gave us something different (something we could do with now!) and as they say... for a big fella, excellent with his feet. But Kuyt is Mr. Consistent and gives his all.

    Bellamy is an excellent player but was a disruption to the squad as a whole. Although again, we could do with him now.

  8. what about luis garcia & riera???? he been awsome for us!!

  9. I agree, how can you leave out lil luis garcia, he was fantastic, frustrating at times but always popped up with important goals and a midfielder goalscorers are hard to come by. Still think we let him go too early but i think for personal reasons he wanted to return to spain.

  10. Is Jaimie there, i come in peace but please explain.


    'Put another way, how can a club that's spent over 130m in the last two seasons be 'restricted' in the transfer market'?'

    Can you tell me where you got this figure from?

    I just looked on wiki for transfers 08/09 09/10 and although maybe slightly out but it comes to 75.3Mill and our incoming sales comes to 70.1, which i think suggests the owners are not putting much in apart from the money for players contracts.

    Just to complete my argument about spending, inc figures for 07/08 we signed players to the amount of 69.4 almost the same figure as the last 2 years combined and sold players amounting to 33.65. This means since hicks and gillet arrived we have spent 144.7 mill of which 103.75 mill roughly was from player sales, which means the club over 3 years has put up 40.95mill, which is hardly a massive figure is it. 13.65mill a season.

  11. To finish my point this is how we are being restricted. Maybe we would have a better squad if we didn't have to sell good squad players off to fund new transfers. Also if we weren't servicing our debt(interest 43mill) then maybe we could use that to improve. This is how the club is restricted by the debt put onto the club, which i will add G+H said they wouldn't do to begin with. They said something along the lines that they wouldn't be buying the club like the glazers baught utd.

  12. Hey Rossi can I ask a question as I have been looking everywhere. This isn't a smart alec response it is a genuine wish for information. Where does it say that H&G said they wouldn't buy the club with it's own debts (as per the Glazers). I have found articles where a source has said or a reporter has suggested but no direct quotes. If there are any can you send me the links? Thanks.

  13. Hi Mcdonaldtaf, I'm still looking to find this, but it was from the first sky sports interview they did, when they first baught the club

  14. If you find it can you let me know and I'll keep looking in the meantime? Thanks Rossi (or anyone else who may have a link) :)

  15. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aR0nXBZymbWY&refer=latin_america




    I can't find any videos of that first press conference but the echo  would have obviously been present  as  its liverpools local newspaper, so thats the only proof, i can find on the web. But personally i do remember listening to sky sports when it happened and did hear them talking about this

  16. Direct quotes from echo who would have been present at press conf

    "We have purchased the club with no debt on the club," George Gillett, Feb 6, 2007.
    "We are going to build the finest team for the finest stadium in the Premier League and that is Liverpool," Tom Hicks, Feb 6, 2007.
    "The shovel needs to be in the ground in the next 60 days," George Gillett, Feb 6, 2007.
    "It's all about the fans and the winning tradition," George Gillett, Feb 7, 2007.
    "I won't be a visible owner. You'll see me in the stand yes, but probably not so much in the directors' box as out in front meeting people and thanking them for their support," George Gillett, Feb 7, 2007.
    "I'm not a person who goes and hides," George Gillett, Feb 7, 2007.
    "Our job is to be custodians of this franchise, not the owners of this franchise," George Gillett, Feb 7, 2007.
    "There's no way either of my two teams' fans have the level of intense passion that Liverpool has," Tom Hicks, May 26.
    "We want to be regularly competing for the Premiership and the Champions League.
    "The fans are smart. The fans can sense that George and I want exactly what they want," Tom Hicks, May 26.
    "It is really time for Rafa to quit talking about new players and to coach the players we have," Tom Hicks, Nov 23, 2007.
    "It's been a big misunderstanding blown very much out of proportion. George and I are happy to see that it has settled back down," Tom Hicks gives Rafa Benitez his backing, Dec 1, 2007.
    "George and I have never been closer. We both were very disappointed and confused as to where that inaccurate information came from," Hicks dismisses rumours of a split, Dec 1, 2007.
    "We attempted to negotiate an option as an insurance policy to have him (Klinsmann) become manager if Rafael left for Real Madrid or other clubs that were rumoured in the press," Tom Hicks, January 13, 2008.
    "I will still be an owner of Liverpool Football Club in five years," Tom Hicks, Jan 27, 2008.
    "Rafa's going to be our manager. He's got a contract here for two more years and hopefully he'll stay for longer.

  17. Ah, thank you Rossi. I think I can see it now. I guess the key quote is the first one about no debt on the club. This could be true, believe it or not! Not sure how I would get the answers though. Hmmmm, one to ponder. Thanks again!

    P.S. If you come across anymore in relation to debt can you let me know?

  18. Skrtel made of oak? Glass more like it. He looks hard but he's constantly brushed aside by some of the Premier League strikers.

  19. Fernando Torres
    Jose Reina
    Xabi Alonso
    Luis Garcia
    Dirk Kuyt
    Yossi Benayoun
    Daniel Agger
    Javier Mascherano
    Glen Johnson
    Fábio Aurélio

  20. fernando torres
    pepe reina
    xabi alonso
    luis garcia- awesome between 2004-2006
    javier mascherano
    dirk kuyt
    djibril cisse- he was good but rafa put him out to right mid.
    daniel agger
    peter crouch-you have to admit he was good
    martin skrtel or riera (riera consistent performances last year got him a place in spain starting 11)

  21.  obviously torres however i think that lfc wouldve had 3v titles already if we kept robbie, sighned zhirkov inswtead of riera kept alonso