Fernando Torres was one of Rafa Benitez’s most significant signings during his time at Liverpool – but what happened to every other signing from the Spaniard?
Became Rafael Benitez’s first signing at Anfield when he joined from Malaga for £2m in 2004. Made 35 appearances at Liverpool – and celebrated front and centre in Istanbul – before moving to Villarreal in a swap deal with Jan Kromkamp. Would later sign for Mallorca before hopping around various clubs in Greece. Ended his career playing for Kolkata in the Indian Super League.
Joined as part of the deal that took Michael Owen to Real Madrid. Moved back to Spain the following year and spent the rest of his career at various clubs in his homeland.
Signed from Real Sociedad for £10m and became an instant hit on the Kop. Spend five years at the club before leaving to join Real Madrid and then Bayern Munich. Has won almost everything there is to win in football and is highly respected by supporters all over Europe. Coached with Real Madrid before moving back to Sociedad to take charge of their B Team. However, he left the club in the summer following their relegation.
Another huge success at Anfield, Luis Garcia signed from Barcelona for £6m on the same day as Alonso. Would leave the club for Atletico Madrid in 2007 and would go on to play in Mexico, Greece, India and Australia before retiring. Still loved by Kopites and plays for Liverpool Legends on a regular basis.
Signed from Benitez’s former club Valencia in January 2005, the experienced Argentine spent just six months with the Reds before moving back to Alaves in Spain. Would return to Liverpool as part of Benitez’s coaching team in 2009 before forging a career in management for himself. Managed Southampton before moving back to Argentina, where he was in charge of Velez Sarsfield, but he left the club in March this year.
Fernando MorientesFernando Morientes celebrates his goal against CSKA Sofia during their third round Champion League Qualifier match in Sofia on August 10, 2005.
There was plenty of excitement when Liverpool signed Morientes in January 2005, but the Real Madrid legend failed to live up to expectations at Anfield. He would later return to Valencia, before moving to Marseille and retiring in 2010. Has since looked to forge a coaching career and has managed in the Spanish second division.
Snapped up from Leeds in 2005, Carson played his part in the road to Istanbul but failed to reach his potential at Anfield. Went on several loans in the Championship before signing for West Brom in 2007. Would later move to Turkey with Bursaspor in 2011. A stint at Derby County followed before he joined Manchester City, where he remains at the moment.
A surprise signing from Middlesbrough, Zenden was a decent member of Rafa Benitez’s squad before departing for Marseille in 2007. Joined Sunderland in 2009 before retiring from football in 2011. Rejoined Benitez as assistant manager for the Spaniard’s brief spell at Chelsea before departing Stamford Bridge with the former Liverpool boss.
Pepe ReinaPepe Reina signed by Rafael Benitez in July 2005
Reina signed from Villarreal for £6m in 2005 and became an instant hit at Anfield. Would eventually depart the club on loan in 2013, rejoining Benitez at Napoli. He later moved to Bayern Munich before another loan at Napoli and signed for AC Milan. Enjoyed a loan spell with Aston Villa in the Premier League before joining Lazio. He has since returned to Villarreal.
Liverpool had high hopes for Chilean winger Gonzalez when he was signed from Albacete in 2005, but the Reds were made to wait due to work permit issues. He’d score on his Liverpool debut in 2006, but would leave the club for Real Betis just a year later. Would go on to play for CSKA Moscow, Universidad Católica, Sport Recife, Colo Colo and is now retired.
Came to the Reds from Hull, with John Welsh moving in the opposite direction. Never featured in a competitive game and has since had a nomadic career in the Championship, with spells at Swansea, Nottingham Forest, Bristol City and Ipswich Town. Joined Plymouth after playing from Bradford and Mansfield Town. He then helped Northampton win promotion from League Two during the 2019/20 season before leaving the club following the end of his contract at the end of that season.
Came to Liverpool on a swap deal for Josemi from Villarreal. Left a year later having made 14 appearances. Moved back to PSV and Go Ahead Eagles in the Netherlands before retiring at 33.
England youth international goalkeeper Martin joined Liverpool MK Dons in 2006 and was a regular in the reserves. Spent a lot of time out on loan before returning to his first club permanently in 2010. His career with MK Dons for nine seasons before he joined Millwall in 2017. He then moved to West Ham United in 2019 before departing the London Stadium earlier this summer.
Daniel AggerDaniel Agger signs in from Brondby for £5.8m in January 2006
A £5.8m signing from Brondby, Agger was a huge favourite at Anfield despite a number of injury problems. The classy Dane made 232 appearances and scored 14 goals for the Reds before moving back to Brondby in 2014. Retired at just 31 due to back problems. Currently runs a sewage business, as well as a brewery and tattoo parlour.
Robbie FowlerRobbie Fowler returns to Anfield in 2006 (pic by Bradley Ormesher)
Fowler’s shock return to Anfield in 2006 delighted supporters. He would play 39 more times for the Reds, scoring 12 goals. He later played for Cardiff and Blackburn before moving to North Queensland Fury and Perth Glory in Australia. Had a short spell in Thailand before retiring in 2011. He has since managed Muangthong United, Brisbane Roar and East Bengal.
A £6m signing from Blackburn, Bellamy had a decent season at Anfield, scoring nine goals in 41 appearances. He’d move to West Ham and Man City before returning to Anfield on a free transfer in 2011, scoring another nine goals before ending his career at Cardiff. He joined Vinceny Kompany as part of his coaching staff at Burnley earlier in the summer.
Scored on his Liverpool debut after signing from Banfield in 2006, but returned to his homeland a year later as he joined Boca Juniors in exchange for Emiliano Insua. Joined Parma in 2010 and switched international allegiance to represent Italy at the 2014 World Cup before signing for AC Milan. Moved to China with Jiangsu Suning before a return to Italy with Monza, where he is still playing to this day.
Reunited with Benitez after joining on a free transfer from Valencia in 2006, he became Liverpool’s first Brazilian player. The talented but injury-prone left-back left at the end of his contract in 2010 but was brought back to Anfield by new manager Roy Hodgson later that summer. Released in 2012 after making 134 appearances, he returned to Brazil with Gremio but a torn cruciate ligament saw him retire in 2014.
He starred in the 2007 Champions League Final after signing from Birmingham City, before later falling out with Benitez. Joining Real Zaragoza in 2009, he returned to England with Stoke City before spending brief stints with Pune City, Wigan Athletic, Tampines Rovers, Bury and Billericay Town. Made the headlines over the past couple of years after appearances on Celebrity Big Brother and The Jeremy Kyle Show.
The man for the big occasion, the forward made 285 appearances, scoring 71 goals during his six years at Anfield after joining the club from Feyenoord. On the scoresheet in the 2012 League Cup Final as Liverpool won the only major honour of his Reds career, he joined Fenerbahce at the end of the season before later returning to Feyenoord. He scored a hat-trick to win Eredivisie in his final game before hanging up his boots in 2017. After a spell coaching the club’s Under-19s side, he was appointed manager of ADO Den Haag.
Nabil El Zhar
Handed his senior debut by Benitez after joining Liverpool from Saint-Etienne, the winger made 32 appearances for the club before joining Levante in 2011 after cancelling his Reds contract. A full Morocco international, he moved to newly-promoted UD Las Palmas in 2015, before signing for Leganes in January 2017. After a spell with Al Ahli, he moved to Muaither earlier this year.
Swedish youth international with one senior cap for Albania. Joined Liverpool from Falkenbergs FF in 2007 after a successful trial, but moved on to Leicester two years later. Since moved to various clubs in Scandinavia before joining Standard Liege and AEK Athens via a loan at Charlton. Joined Djurgårdens and now plays for Akropolis.
A loan signing from Sampdoria, Padelli became the first Italian to play for Liverpool when handed his solitary appearance against Charlton Athletic. He later featured against Liverpool in the Europa League for Udinese in 2012. After four years at Torino, he’s now at Udinese.
Joining Liverpool from Ajax in 2007, the striker never made an appearance for the club and returned to the Netherlands with ADO Den Haag in 2011. Stints with Almere City and HBS Craeyenhout followed before he joined DHC Delft in 2013. Brouwer still plays for the sixth-tier club.
The playmaker moved to Anfield after making his senior debut for Malaga, but his saw his time at the club jeopardised by two ACL injuries. Leaving Liverpool without making an appearance for the club, he returned to Spain in the lower-leagues before retiring at the age of 26 in 2014.
The Spaniard joined Liverpool from Deportivo La Coruna in 2007 and made an 98 appearances before returning to Real Madrid in 2009. The World Cup winner hung up his boots in 2017 after an unsuccessful stint with West Ham United. He now features regularly as a pundit on Spanish TV programme El Chiringuito.
Liverpool paid £1.6million to get Mascherano on loan in January 2007 with a view to a permanent transfer the following year. The incredibly impressive midfielder was signed for £18m and made 139 appearances for the Reds before being sold to Barcelona on the penultimate day of the 2010 summer transfer window for a similar fee to what Rafa Benitez brought him in for.
Bulgarian goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov joined Liverpool in February 2010 but immediately ran into problems when the club failed to obtain a work permit. He subsequently spent his three years at Anfield out on loan at FC Twente, before signing for the Dutch club on a permanent deal in 2010. Since moved to Turkey and Cyprus before returning to Levski Sofia.
Rafa Benitez unveils new signing Brazilian youngster Lucas Leiva at the team hotel whilst in Hong Kong (Image: Colin Lane)
Signing from Gremio in 2007, the Brazilian took time to win over the Kop but left Anfield 10 years later as a firm fan favourite after 346 appearances. Sadly an anterior ligament injury disrupted the best form of his Reds career, but he still survived numerous potential departures before eventually swapping Liverpool for Lazio in July 2017. After five years in Italy, the midfielder departed Rome for Gremio in the summer.
Joined Liverpool from MTK Budapest in 2007 but never made a senior appearance for the club as injuries derailed his progress. Leaving for Olympiacos in 2010, the Hungary international is enjoying his second stint in the MLS with Sporting Kansas City after spells with Roda JC, Al-Gharafa, New England Revolution, Sporting Kansas City, DAC Dunajska Streda, Columbus Crew, Debreceni VSC and MTK Budapest, where he currently plays his football.
Mikel San Jose
Spent three years with Liverpool after joining from Athletic Bilbao before returning to the Spanish club on loan. Re-joined them permanently in 2010 without making a senior appearance at Anfield.After a spell with Birmingham City, he moved to Amorebieta before announcing his retirement from football last month.
Signed for Liverpool from Barcelona in 2007 but never lived up to his early potential. Left for Alcorcon in 2013, having made 17 appearances for the Reds. Now at Polish side Gornik Zabrze.
Moved to Liverpool from Lanus in 2006 but passport issues saw him join Panathinaikos in 2009. A recurring knee injury undermined initial success and he moved to Catania. Rejoined Lanus on loan but suffered a head injury after dropping a barbell when training. Retired in 2017 after a spell with Emirates Club.
Liverpool’s then-record signing from Atletico Madrid, was an instant success at Anfield. Injuries took their toll and he left it controversial circumstances to join Chelsea in January 2011 after scoring 81 goals from 142 appearances. Struggled in the capital but ended up a Champions League winner before returning to Atletico via AC Milan. He would retire after a stint in Japan with Sagan Tosu.
Joined on a free transfer from Bayern Leverkusen and enjoyed a bright start before injuries derailed his progress. Loaned to Hertha Berlin for 2008/09 season, he finished his career with Dynamo Moscow. Was briefly manager of FC Buderich in 2017 and is now assistant coach at Dynamo Moscow.
Became the first player to score hat-tricks in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup after joining from West Ham United. Left for Chelsea in 2010 before joining Queens Park Rangers after loans with Arsenal and West Ham. Back in Israel since 2014 with stints at Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Maccabi Petah Tikva and Beitar Jerusalem. Retired in 2019.
Failed to establish himself after joining from Ajax and signed for Hoffenheim after three-and-a-half years at Anfield. Returned to Ajax in 2012 before spells with Kasimpasa, Al-Ain and Deportivo La Coruna. Won a Netherlands recall after joining Besiktas and now back in the Premier League with Fulham. Scored against Liverpool for the Cottagers. Now in Turkey with Eyupspor.
The Italian midfielder struggled in his debut season with Liverpool after arriving at Anfield in 2008 for approximately £7m. He was then linked with a move to Juventus and Napoli in the summer of 2009 but stayed to fight for his place. However, after making only three starts for the first team in the 2009/10 season, he moved to Napoli on a four-year deal in the January transfer window. He retired in 2017.
Liverpool paid a reported £3.5m to sign Cavalieri from Palmeiras in 2008 after the shot stopper made more than 100 appearances for the Brazilian club. He had a difficult task to displace Jose Reina as Liverpool’s number one and only played 10 times for the Reds of which none came in the Premier League. He moved to Italian side Cesena for a free transfer in 2010,. He has been without a club since leaving Botafogo last September.
N’Gog was snapped up by Benítez for a relatively cheap £1.5m fee from Paris St Germain in July 2008. He made a total of 94 appearances for Liverpool and scored 19 times before being sold to Bolton in 2011 for around £4m. Retired from playing in June 2020.
Arrived in July 2008 full of promise for a £19m fee but his first Liverpool goal did not arrive until October 1 in his 11th first-team appearance after 688 minutes without scoring. On the final day of the January transfer window in 2009 Keane re-signed for Spurs for significantly less than Liverpool had paid six months earlier. Retired from the game in November 2018 and now works as a TV pundit after spells in coaching.
Riera joined from Espanyol in 2008 for £8m. He had a decent debut season with Liverpool, starting 33 games out of his total of 40 but the following campaign saw him start in just 12 more matches. Riera was sold to Olympiacos in 2010 for around £5m. There were several subsequent clubs the attacker played for before he finally announced his retirement in February 2018.
Signed 17.5m in June 2009 and made 200 appearances for Liverpool. He won his first winners’ medal with the club and scored a tidy penalty in the shoot-out that followed the drawn League Cup final with Cardiff City in 2012. After Johnson ‘s contract expired in the summer of 2015 he joined Mark Hughes’ Stoke City keeping himself in the Premier League but he eventually retired in 2018.
Arrived at Anfield early in August 2009 in the wake of Xabi Alonso’s transfer to Real Madrid for a reported £18m. He made 28 appearances for Liverpool – scoring twice – before then being loaned out to Juventus and AC Milan, eventually switching permanently to Fiorentina for £1.8m in August 2012. In August 2017 he signed a two year deal with Las Palmas, but this was terminated in July 2018 following their relegation. Retired in 2019.
Kyrgiakos was signed for £2m by Liverpool due to Sami Hyypia’s move to Bayer Leverkusen and injuries to Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger at the start of the 2009/10 season. He played 49 times for the Reds before signing for Wolfsburg on a free transfer – he has since retired after ending his playing career in 2014 at Sydney Olympic.
Centre-back Ayala was snapped up from Sevilla before he had signed a professional contract in September 2009. He impressed in pre-season and made his debut on the opening day of the season against Spurs but only manage five appearances for the Reds before he was loaned to Hull and Derby and then eventually sold to Norwich in 2011. The Canaries have since sold him to Middlesborough. He later joined Blackburn where he plays in the Championship now.
Liverpool made their move in January 2010 and signed Rodrgiuez on a free transfer from Atletico Madrid. He could operate both in midfield and on the wing proved to be a good squad player playing 73 times and scoring 17 before returning to his hometown of Rosario in July of 2012 to join boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys. Retired aged 40 last year.