Lazar Markovic has left Liverpool for Fulham after nearly five years at the club. Some consider him the Reds’ worst signing in recent times.
But where does Markovic rank in the biggest flops of the decade at Liverpool?
5. Christian Benteke – £32.5 million in 2015
Benteke is slightly fortunate to be in fifth but Crystal Palace saved his standing somewhat by effectively giving Liverpool their money back.
The Belgian arrived at Anfield as the second most expensive player in Liverpool’s history. That brought hype and expectation, although Benteke didn’t live up to any of it.
He struggled to even get into the side once Jurgen Klopp took over and finished with just 10 goals in 42 games.
4. Andy Carroll – £35 million in 2011
Some, even many, would put Carroll as number one on this list but that’s probably quite harsh. Yes, he was Liverpool’s record signing but injuries undeniably crippled him.
He scored 11 goals in 58 games in total – a figure that firmly puts him on this list – but there is a sense that he could have achieved far more if he’d had the consistency.
Still, he won the League Cup with Liverpool and scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final against Everton. That’s enough to keep him out of the top three.
3. Mario Balotelli – £16 million in 2014
Liverpool fans knew Luis Suarez couldn’t be replaced but they did expect more than one Premier League goal.
Balotelli scored it in February 2015 – admittedly a winner against Tottenham Hotspur – and it was his fourth, and final, goal for the club.
“Brendan [Rodgers] paused before he spoke again: ‘The gamble is Mario Balotelli.’ My instant reaction was, ‘Uh-oh’,” said Gerrard, before saying: “I could see Mourinho had been right when he said Balotelli is unmanageable,” after working with him.
Balotelli stayed one season before joining AC Milan on loan. A year after that he moved to Nice on a free transfer.
2. Lazar Markovic – £20 million in 2014
What a transfer window, hey? Markovic arrived at Liverpool for a hefty fee with some excitement. He was a 20-year-old who had impressed for Benfica and that was always going to bring some hype.
Well, that hype disappeared quite quickly and Liverpool have spent every transfer window since trying to get rid of Markovic.
First he went on loan to Fenerbache, then Sporting, then Hull City, then Anderlecht – he wouldn’t leave permanently, however.
In all, Liverpool paid £20 million and over four years of wages for Markovic, who contributed next to nothing. A disaster of a signing.
1. Alberto Aquilani – £17 million in 2009
One of the biggest problems with the Aquilani signing was how desperately Liverpool had to get it right. Xabi Alonso left Liverpool that summer and needed replacing – Aquilani wasn’t up to it, though.
Alonso’s departure left Liverpool without a creative, passing midfielder. Aquilani came in to fill the void but started just 13 games that season, meaning Liverpool mainly played with Lucas & Javier Mascherano in the middle.
The result was a woefully uninspired team that dropped from 2nd to 7th.
Aquilani was injured so often that Rafa Benitez felt he had to keep him out of the side to protect the Italian from the intensity of the Premier League.
“We decided we couldn’t take any risks with him,” he said at the time. “It wouldn’t have been good for him or us. We were always considering playing him against Blackburn, but when the game is so tight and physical, sometimes it can be worse for the player to play for 10-15 minutes.
“We wanted to protect him and give him the best opportunity to play well.”
For a player who was Liverpool’s third most expensive signing ever, that was a crippling blow.
Overall, Aquilani’s failure cost Liverpool big that season. No, he wasn’t the worst player on this list but his struggles undoubtedly hit the club the hardest.