Worst XIs returns with a look at some of the horrors lurking in the deepest corners of the Anfield faithful’s mind. And they’re mostly players who have played all too recently for Liverpool too…
Charles Itandje – 7 appearances
Ah, the horror show that was Charles Itandje. Signed as back-up for Pepe Reina in 2007, he played only 7 cup games that season during which he showed no redeemable qualities and played his way onto the transfer list in the summer of 2008. He was so bad that Rafa Benitez went out and bought a new back-up to replace the old one. Itandje would never play for the club again but after deciding not to leave when offers came in, he was forced out after committing the ultimate no-no at Liverpool. During the Hillsborough Memorial Service, Itandje started laughing and joking all while being caught on camera. Despite his apologies (which were destroyed by later comments), Itandje was thankfully shunted out of the Anfield exit door never to be seen again.
Jan Kromkamp – 18 appearances
A Dutch international when he signed, Kromkamp came from Villarreal where he had failed to impress. Still, hopes were high for Kromkamp who was replacing the equally bad Josemi as competition for Steve Finnan. Sadly, Kromkamp proved to be even worse than Josemi and was shown up for lacking anything in the way of pace or defensive ability. Still, he won the FA Cup and played in the final (as a substitute thankfully) but his Liverpool career was not for much longer. By the end of the summer of 2006 and just 8 months after joining Liverpool, he was sold to PSV in a hurry. Let’s just move on from here…
Mauricio Pellegrino – 13 appearances
The first ever Argentine to play for Liverpool, there was some excitement when Pellegrino was signed by Benitez in January 2005. A key component of Benitez’s amazing Valencia side of the early 2000s, Pellegrino was going to come in and be the wise old head at the back that would make Liverpool solid and tough to beat. That didn’t happen. He was clumsy and useless as the Premier League just passed him by. He was gone at the end of the season after 13 poor performances and, while he may have been the first, he was certainly the worst Argentine to play at Anfield.
Igor Biscan – 118 appearances, 3 goals
Hear me out on this one. Igor Biscan was a good central midfielder. He could do a job there and, before signing for Liverpool, was wanted by Barcelona, Milan and Ajax amongst others. The problem Igor Biscan had was that he was rarely ever deployed in central midfield by Gerard Houllier. No, Houllier decided that Biscan could play full back, on the wing and, worst of all, centre back. Biscan was never, ever a centre back (even Jamie Carragher said so in his autobiography) and it really, really showed. He spent most of his time on the bench and when he did play he was a liability. He did play well during Liverpool’s run to Istanbul in 2004/05 but that was out of necessity and nothing more. He never got close to the squad for Istanbul and was released that summer. Biscan could have avoided this team if he had never been moved from centre midfield. He can blame Houllier for that.
Paul Konchesky – 18 appearances
He almost made the England Worst XI but definitely have a lot of fear because Konchesky’s here. Signed by Roy Hodgson (we’ll get to him in a minute) in 2010, Konchesky proceeded to play so horrendously that he was legitimately hated by every single Liverpool fan because he was so bad. He played 18 times and each time was as bad as the one before. When Hodgson was sacked at the start of 2011, Konchesky quickly followed him out the door on loan before he was sold in 2011. The single worst Liverpool left back in history, he made Djimi Traore look like Paolo Maldini.
Antonio Nunez – 27 appearances, 1 goal
The only defence that Nunez has for staying out of this team is that he did score in the Carling Cup final. It’s not a very good defence but unlike most players in this side, he has one. That’s not to say Nunez was a good player. Far from it. Nunez was so badly off the pace at Liverpool that he was as useful as a square wheel. He was so bad that he actually made the list for worst Premier League players on this very blog and despite the fact that he did score in a cup final (that Liverpool lost) and won a Champions League medal (contributing nothing), Nunez’s Anfield career is best not to be remembered at all. And to make things worse, he was part of the Michael Owen to Real Madrid deal. Yeah…
Christian Poulsen – 21 appearances
Another Roy Hodgson signing, Poulsen was possibly the most frustrating player to watch play for Liverpool. He was Javier Mascherano’s replacement when the Argentine left in 2010 but he displayed none of his ability to break up play or pass the ball. Indeed, he spent more playing sideways passes and getting beat by every player that ran even relatively close to him. He did begin to impress when Kenny Dalglish came in at the beginning of 2011 but by the end of the season he had been displaced by Jay Spearing and he was gone in 2011 with absolutely no Liverpool fan upset by that fact at all.
Salif Diao – 61 appearances, 3 goals
A player so bad that Jamie Carragher admitted that he once encouraged him to join Everton because he would make them worse. Diao was stupidly labelled “the next Vieira” by Gerard Houllier just after the World Cup in 2002 where he had impressed (but so had El Hadji Diouf so…) yet showed none of Vieira’s qualities. Diao was so far out of his depth that he made Igor Biscan a more preferable choice for Liverpool fans to accept in the side. He was given a chance by Rafa Benitez when he joined but Diao again couldn’t get his act together and was replaced (quite rightly) by Xabi Alonso. Diao eventually left for a bunch of loan spells before Tony Pulis decided that Diao was good enough to sign permanently in 2007. We can only imagine that he was stinking drunk that day.
Bernard Diomede – 5 appearances
A World Cup winner in 1998 for £3 million in 2000 seemed like a steal for Gerard Houllier. And there was plenty to be excited about. Diomede was a tricky winger who had been a star in Ligue 1 for a good number of years and was a French international. Sadly for the expectant Kop, he never acutally played that much. For some reason or another, Diomede never really settled at Liverpool and the only memory fans ever have of him is that disallowed overhead kick he had at Sunderland on his debut. He returned to France quietly in 2003 and was mostly forgotten by the Anfield faithful.
Sean Dundee – 5 appearances
The co-manager experiment with Houllier and Roy Evans in 1998 was never going to work and their joint signing Sean Dundee typified that. The South African-German striker was a solid goalscorer in the Bundesliga with Karlsruhe and was signed to provide extra cover with Robbie Fowler out injured. Sadly for Dundee, all he did was sit on the bench as he couldn’t get past Michael Owen and Karl-Heinz Riedle and when Fowler returned then he really had no chance. After just 5 anonymous appearances, he returned to Germany in 1999 with his only contribution being to worst Liverpool players lists.
Milan Jovanovic – 18 appearances, 2 goals
Signed on a pre-contract before Rafa Benitez left the club in 2010, Jovanovic was supposed to be a difference maker in the final third. He had dominated in Belgium and was expected to do the same for Liverpool but just sort of didn’t. He wasn’t very useful on the wing nor in the box and he wasn’t very dynamic and he certainly wasn’t a difference maker. His only goals came against Northampton and Steaua Bucharest and by 2011 he was away back to Belgium having pocketed a reported £100,000 a week at Anfield. It’s strange that he never worked out at Anfield seeing as he’s one of “the greatest soccer players in the world”.
Brought in by Hicks and Gillett after leading Fulham to the Europa League final in 2010, Hodgson was in an unfavourable position. He got stuck in the middle of a messy takeover by FSG and had to contend with a squad that was so badly depleted that he had to play David N’Gog up front. Still, he bought Konchesky, Poulsen and Joe Cole and then proceeded to lead the club into the relegation zone by October. He spent most of his last months at Anfield rubbing his face furiously instead of actually changing anything and he was thankfully replaced by Kenny Dalglish in early 2011. It wasn’t all bad for Roy as 18 months later he was leading England at Euro 2012 and is still in charge as they head towards the World Cup.
That is the Worst XI for Liverpool with thanks to @FussballMundial for suggestions. Do you agree with these choices? Who would you have in your Worst XI? What team would you like to see next? Let us know either in the comments or over on social media (there’s a bunch of links on the left). Stay tuned for more content including Worst XIs coming soon.