This is the seventh of a weekly series titled “The Magnificent Seven”. Every week we’ll be taking a look at almost everything regarding Liverpool, ranked in a top seven. In this edition we’ll be looking at the seven best bargains Liverpool have been able to pull off. In the wake of what looks like the imminent arrival of Andrew Robertson to the club, fans have hopes that the Scotsman will prove to be a shrewd piece of business. Thus it seems fitting to look back and grade Liverpool’s best discount purchases. To try and negate the impact of inflation, the rankings will only take into account transfers made in the 21st century that cost £10m or less.
7 – John Arne Riise
Signed in the summer of 2001 for a meagre £4m, Riise immediately hit the ground running by scoring a debut goal in the UEFA Super Cup. Perhaps it’s telling that his most widely appreciated attribute throughout his time at Liverpool was his goal scoring. Watching him bomb down the flank and fire in absolute rockets on his left foot was a sight to behold. Defensively he was never the best but he made the left back position his own for most the time he was there and since he signed he’s always bled Liverpool red; and for that we can only be grateful.
6 – Luis Garcia
Not the only shrewd Spanish acquisition from Rafa Benítez that will feature on this list. £6m was the price Liverpool had to pay for him in 2004 and he immediately made his presence felt. Scoring the winner in the Merseyside Derby, an absolute belter against Juventus, and the infamous “Ghost Goal” that knocked Chelsea out and sent Liverpool on their way to Istanbul. A fan favourite all throughout his time at the club, his eventual departure back to Spain was a sad one.
5 – Daniel Agger
Arriving from Danish side Brondby for £6m in January of 2006, fans didn’t even fathom how much they would love their new centre half. Although injuries hampered his first few months at the club, he was able to regain fitness over the summer and start the new campaign on the pitch. He opened his account with an absolute screamer against West Ham which showcased a facet not many expected him to have in his game. Agger also possessed a rare comfort on the ball for a centre back and a brilliant knack for reading the game. And although his ability was never in question, injuries turned out to be a recurring theme throughout his time at Anfield. Would no doubt feature higher in this list and in Liverpool history had he not been so plagued.
4 – Pepe Reina
As promised, another one of Rafa’s brilliant pieces of Spanish business. In the immediate wake of Liverpool’s inconceivable Champions League triumph, one of the heroes of the night was replaced in Jerzy Dudek. In came this 22-year-old keeper from Villarreal who was being lauded as “the best goalkeeper in Spain” by his new manager. A solid debut campaign followed, which concluded with a heroic penalty shoot-out performance from the Spaniard in the FA Cup Final. Reina somehow managed to save 3 out of 4 of West Ham’s attempts, cementing his status as a penalty saving expert. A rather rapid decline was clearly evident in the Spaniard’s performances around the turn of the decade however. An unfortunate but necessary decision was made to replace Reina in 2013.
3 – Philippe Coutinho
Signed from Inter Milan for a laughable £8.5m in January of 2013, it was immediately made evident that Liverpool had pulled off a steal. Blessed with a skill-set befitting of a true Brazilian, not many players like him have worn the famous red before. End product has recently been more of a feature in his already brilliant game, making him the complete package. If he’s able to not be tempted by a move away and dedicate the best years of his career to Liverpool, then he’ll probably be topping lists like this in the future.
2 – Sami Hyypiä
Signed from Willem II for £2.6m in 1999, Liverpool somehow picked out a Finnish gem. He had all the physical attributes required for a top Premier League defender and he had the football intelligence to match. The only non-Brit to wear the captain’s armband, Hyppiä was a rock in the heart of the club’s defence for most of a decade. A better centre half has yet to wear Liverpool red in the Premier League era.
1 – Xabi Alonso
Completing the trio of shrewd pieces of Spanish business by Benítez is one of the best players to grace the Premier League. Picked up from Real Sociedad for £10.7m (he barely meets the criteria) in the summer of 2004, his five years spent at the club left a lasting impact. Passing ability matched by none, a Xabi Alonso sized whole is still missing in the Liverpool midfield.