Top 10 Rafael Benitez signings by David Cozzy Cozgrove
This was harder than I thought. 10 players under a really successful period for the reds shouldn’t be too difficult, trust me it was. Special mention to Raheem Sterling who was not included as he was only a youngster at the time.
10 – Maxi Rodriguez
Free transfer when Rafa never had any money, in the height of the Hicks & Gillett era. Scored some important goals. Bolton away in a dreadful affair under Roy Hodgson, Chelsea away in the league cup. Scored a stunner away at Fulham, gets a hat trick that night as well. Defines the saying “cult hero”
9 – Martin Skrtel
£6.5 million from the Russian league did not set Liverpool fans over the moon but played his part. Good defender, wonderful on his day, could have a few off days too. Rafa, Hodgson, Kenny, and Jurgen all played him which says something. 2 goals vs Arsenal in a 5-1 demolition and his wonder volley vs City away were his best moments.
8 – Daniel Agger
On his day, the most composed center half we’ve have had since Alan Hanson. A wonderful footballer who was a joy to watch. Shame his body let him down in the end. The goal in the champions league semi final vs Chelsea and a 35 yarder vs West ham at home live long in the memory.
7 – Luis Garcia
The Sangria drinker. The perfect big game player. Instrumental in the Istanbul run with goals vs Leverkusen, Juventus and the one which was 100% over the line vs Chelsea. Wonder goal in the FA cup semi final vs Chelsea to go with it. So inconsistent in the league but has a special place in Liverpool hearts.
6 – Lucas
Never seen a player turn his career around more than Lucas. Hated in his first 6 months and ended up being at Liverpool way past Rafa and into Jurgen years. A lovely player who was coming into his best form before injury struck him away vs Chelsea in the league cup. Remembered so fondly on Merseyside. Nothing better than seeing a Lucas smile, lights up the Kop.
5 – Dirk Kuyt
The ultimate workhorse. He’s the one player I’d take from Rafa’s team in our team now, he would fit in so well. Big game player. Champions league final goals, winning pen in the semis, derby goals, Inter Milan at home, I could go on. Honestly, think he’s the most underrated player we’ve ever had.
4 – Fernando Torres
This got tough. Could be higher but signing for them frauds in London still hurts. He genuinely broke my heart. My first ever heartbreak ever in my life was the guy we bought from sunny Spain. What a player. Best striker in the world at one point. Pick any of his goals and it could be special. A couple stand out, Blackburn at home where am still not sure how he scored, and Marseille away when he dances past 4 defenders. Phenomenal talent. The hate has eased with time, not its more tinged with disappointment.
3 – Javier Mascherano
The only man to go from the bottom of the league at Christmas to play in a champions league final in the same season. (You can tell your friends that) brilliant player. Made everything tick. A proper hard man who went from someone who played 4 minutes for West Ham to be the mainstay in a very successful Liverpool side. Only think Fabinho now has replaced him.
2 – Pepe Reina
What a keeper. Rafa made a massive decision to buy a keeper straight after Istanbul, especially after Dudek’s heroics in the final but my god didn’t he get it right. Just a top quality keeper who was unfortunate to be behind Iker Casillas for the Spain team. He’s available on a free transfer right now, and if Mignolet wants 1st team football, he would be my 1st call.
1 – Xabi Alonso
The 2nd greatest midfielder to play for Liverpool in the last 20 years. Effortless for him. Made it look easy at times. Wonderful foil for Gerrard and Mascherano, when we did have the best midfield in the world. Won everything, Champions League, FA Cup, La Liga, Bundesliga, Euros, and the World Cup. The complete midfielder.