Jack Hallows reviews Liverpool’s free transfers of recent years.
A deal was agreed last January for Joel Matip to arrive on a free from Schalke this summer. He came with a reputation as one of the Budesliga’s finest defenders and certainly hasn’t failed to impress. We haven’t lost a game in which he has played, winning eight and drawing three, and without him we’ve won just one and lost two, conceding nine goals in those games.
It hasn’t taken him long to establish himself as one of our most important players – you could already call him one of our best ever free transfers. While we’re on that, let’s take a look at some of our other free transfers over the years, successful and not so successful.
Still at the club now, the Englishman arrived at Merseyside on a free transfer from Manchester City in the summer of 2015. He had a solid start and an even better 2016, popping up with some vital assists in the second half of the season, most notably for Lovren’s winner against Dortmund.
A versatile player and a true professional, he will do any job that is asked of him, from playing attacking midfield last season to left back this season. He’s really made the position his own in recent months and has also scored all five of his penalties so far this season – flawless from twelve yards.
Although his Liverpool career was one plagued by injury, Aurelio arrived in 2006 and did very well, becoming a fan favourite during his time in a red shirt. He scored some lovely goals – I’m sure you remember his free kicks against Chelsea and Manchester United – but his injury record let him down and he eventually left the club in 2012.
Sort of a shining light in what was a dark few years for Liverpool, Maxi was well-liked by our fans. A hard worker who had some talent to go with it, he enjoyed an excellent run of form in 2011 when he scored consecutive hat-tricks against Birmingham and Fulham. He arrived in January 2010 and stayed for two and a half seasons, eventually returning to his first club, Newell’s Old Boys, in the summer of 2012.
Ah, Voronin. Arriving at a time when I was just getting old enough to watch and understand football, some of my earliest memories of Liverpool involve him – unfortunately. I seem to remember him going for a pass and completely missing the ball. That, really, epitomises his Liverpool career. He arrived in 2007 and spent three seasons here, loaned out to Hertha Berlin for the second, and only scored five league goals in his 27 appearances. He’ll never be missed but he’ll never be forgotten, either. Not for the right reasons.
We got him for free, yet somehow I still feel robbed. Jovanovic was signed by Roy Hodgson – that explains a lot – on the back of a goal or two in the 2010 World Cup. He endured a dreadful season at Liverpool, scoring just one goal, and was straight out of the club the following summer. See ya. Hodgson also pulled off another worldie of a free transfer that summer, Joe Cole. I’ll leave that one out.
And the ugly…
Need I say more?