Monday, October 8, 2018

Liverpool All-Time Foreign Players

Alvaro Arbeloa and Xabi Alonso

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
Liverpool Greatest All-Time Team
Liverpool Greatest All-Time Team for English players
Liverpool Greatest All-Time Team for British Isles players without English players.

Over 140 foreign players have played for Liverpool FC.  Arthur Riley and Berry Nieuwenhuys from South Africa were probably the first two foreign players ever played for Liverpool.  Until the mid-1990's, it was uncommon to have non-British or Irish players on an English team. Later, a large influx of foreign players came to Liverpool FC under former managers Rafa Benitez and Gerard Houllier.  In 2005, Liverpool beat AC Milan in the Final of the Champions' League with only three players from British Isles playing.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for foreign players who played for Liverpool FC The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.
Irish players are not considered for this blog team.  I put them together to my greatest all-time team for British Isles without English players.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for non-English players from the British Isles who had played for Liverpool FC The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League. I have created an all-time Liverpool team for English players only and players from British Isles without English players.
Bruce Grobbelaar and Glenn Hysen
GK: Jerzy Dudek (Poland)
Jerzy Dudek was best remembered for helping Liverpool winning the UEFA Champions' League in 2005.  In the Final, he saved two penalties in the shootout that beat AC Milan.  From 1996 to 2001, he played for Feyenoord.  From 2001 to 2007, he played for Liverpool.  He also served as the backup keeper with Real Madrid. Dudek played 60 times for Poland – the second most-capped player in his position for several years – representing the nation at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Jerzy Dudek
GK: Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwe)
Bruce Grobbelaar made 628 appearances for Liverpool in 13 years.  He was considered among the best England-based keepers of his generation and a legend with Liverpool. He won the 1984 European Cup, 6 English league titles and 3 FA Cups with Liverpool. Born in South Africa, he moved to Rhodesia as a child.  He was capped once times by Rhodesia in 1977 and later 32 times for Zimbabwe.

GK: Pepe Reina (Spain)
Pepe Reina first became a star at Villarreal when he helped the club to reach the Champions' league for the first time in history.  A year later, he joined Liverpool FC. At Liverpool FC, he won three Premier League Golden Glove. He was a part of Spain at the World Cup 2010, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012, but served as a backup to Iker Casillas.

RB: Alvaro Arbeloa (Spain)
Alvaro Arbeloa started his career with Real Madrid, but he made a name with Liverpool, where he playd from 2006 to 2009. He made a return to his mother club in 2009.  He helped the club to win their 10th European Cup in 2014.  For Spain, he played 56 times for Spain between 2008 and 2013.  He was mainly used as a sub during Spain's glorious run at Euro 2008 and the World Cup in 2010, but he was their starting rightback at the 2012 European Championship.
Alvaro Arbeloa 
CB: Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands)
Van Dijk started with Groningen before he moved to Celtic in 2013. In S2015, he joined Southampton before signing for Liverpool in 2018 for £75 million, a world record transfer fee for a defender. Van Dijk was named the PFA Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season for the 2018–19 season. Van Dijk starred as Liverpool won the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final where he was named man of the match. From 2015 onward, he played for Netherlands and was named captain.

CB: Martin Škrtel (Slovakia)
Martin Škrtel was probably most famous Slovak defender after the breakup of Czechoslovakia.  He was named Slovak Footballer of the Year four times. He played for Trenčín and Zenit Saint Petersburg, before joining Liverpool in 2008 where he spent 8 and half years.  He joined Fenerbahçe in 2016. Capped over 90 times.  He went to both WC Finals in 2010 and Euro 2016. 

CB: Glenn Hysen (Sweden)
Glenn Hysen came from a football family.  His grandfather, father and three sons also played football.   He was a top defender for Sweden in the 1980's.  He earned 68 caps between 1981 and 1990.  He captained Sweden at 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy. For club football, he played with IFK Göteborg and PSV Eindhoven before making a name with Fiorentina and Liverpool. He won the Guldbollen in 1983 and 1988 as Sweden's best player that year.
Glenn Hysen
CB: Sami Hyypia (Finland)
Hypia was probably one of the most successful Finish players playing outside his home country. He was best remembered for his 10 seasons with Liverpool.  He was at one point their captain.  He was voted 38th as the greatest ever players for Liverpool by their fans.  He was voted 19th as the greatest Foreign Player ever in the Premier League. He also had a successful career with Williem II in Holland.  

CB: Daniel Agger (Denmark)
Daniel Agger earned over 60 caps and played for Denmark at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012.  He most notably played for Liverpool, where he was a UEFA Champions' league runner-up. He was named as the Danish Player of the Year in 2007 and 2012. He started his career with Brøndby and returned there in 2014.

LB: John Arne Riise (Norway)
John Arne Riise was one of the top fullback in the Premiership during his years with Liverpool.  He spent 7 seasons with Liverpool, winning the Champions' League in 2005.  He also had stints with Roma in Italy and Monaco in France.  For Norway, he was their all-time cap leader.  He ony went one major tournament, namely Euro 2000, but he made no appearance. He won Kniksen Award in 2006 for the best Norwegian player of the year.

CM: Jan Molby (Denmark)
Jan Molby won 33 caps for Denmark from 1982 to 1990, scoring two goals. He was a key member of  the "Dynamite" Denmark which lit up the 1984 European Championship and 1986 World Cup.  He notably spent twelve years playing in England with Liverpool between 1984 and 1996. Before Liverpool FC, he played for Ajax and Swansea.  He served as the player-manager for Swansea after leaving Liverpool in 1996.
Jan Molby
DM: Lucas Leiva (Brazil)
Lucas Leiva started with Gremio in Brazil.  In 2006, he became the youngest player ever to receive Bola de Ouro (Golden Ball) award. From 2007 to 2017, he played for Liverpool.  He left them to join Lazio in 2017. For his international career. he has earned 24 caps and represented Brazil at the 2008 Olympics and 2011 Copa América, winning a bronze medal at the former. 

DM: Dietmar Hamann (Germany)
Throughout his career, Dietmar Hamann has played for Bayern Munich, Newcastle United, Liverpool, and Manchester City.  He played 59 times for Germany between 1997 and 2006, and represented his nation in two World Cups and two European Championships, reaching the 2002 FIFA World Cup Final.

CM/DM: Mohamed "Momo" Sissoko (Mali)
Momo Sissoko began his professional career with Valencia in Spain.  He would play for Liverpool, PSG, Juventus, Forientina and Shanghai Shenhua. Born in France, he was capped by Mali between 2003 and 2013. He is the nephew of Salif Keita, and the uncle of Seydou Keita. At the end of his career, he played  club football in India, China, Mexico and Hong Kong.

CM: Xabi Alonso  (Spain)
Xabi Alonso started with Real Sociedad in 2000.  He joined Liverpool in 2004 winning the Champions' League trophy in his first season.  In 2009, he moved to Real Madrid, winning the Champions' League again in 2014.  In 2014, he joined Bayern Munich. He was a key member of the Spanish team that won the World Cup in 2010 and two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.  His 114 caps make him the fifth most capped player in the nation's history.
Xabi Alonso
AM: Vladimír Šmicer (Czech Republic)
From 1992 to 1996, Vladimír Šmicer  played for Slavia Prague.  In 1996, he joined Lens, where he won the club's first ever league title.  From 1999 to 2005, he played for Liverpool.  He was a part of the team that won the Champions' League in 2005, scoring one of the goals in the Final. He also won the UEFA Cup in 2001.  For the Czech national team, he appeared 80 times between 1994 and 2006. Šmicer was only the second player to score at three European Championships (1996, 2000 and 2004), after Jürgen Klinsmann.

RW/ST: Dirk Kuyt (Netherlands)
Dirk Kuyt started as a striker, but played mainly as right wing. He started his career with FC Utrecht, but the peak of his career was spent with Feyenoord, Liverpool FC and Fenerbahce. He played 104 times for Netherlands.  He went to World Cup in 2006, 2010 and 2014 as well as the European Championship in 2008 and 2012. He played a big role in both World Cup Finals, where Netherlands finished 2nd and 3rd. He was Dutch Footballer of the Year in 2006.

RW/FW: Roberto Firmino (Brazil)
After starting his career with Figueirense in 2009, he spent four-and-a-half seasons at Hoffenheim. His 16 goals in 33 games for the 2013–14 Bundesliga season earned him the award for the league's Breakthrough Player. In July 2015, he signed for Premier League club Liverpool. Since 2014, he has been capped by Brazil.  He was a member of the 2015 Copa America squad.  

LW/AM: Luis Garcia (Spain)
At the club level, Luis Garcia played for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid before moving to Liverpool in 2004. He won the 2005 Champions' League under Rafael Benitez after going down 3-0 at half time against AC Milan. It was marked as one of the greatest comeback in history.  He played in Greece and Mexico. He was capped 20 times for Spain between 2005 and 2008. He went to the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany.

LW/AM: Patrik Berger (Czech Republic)
Berger started his career with Slavia Prague and spent a season in Germany playing for Borussia Dortmund. He moved to England in 1996, where he spent seven years with Liverpool, winning six trophies in his time there. He also had spells at Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Stoke City. He spent the last two years of his career back in his native Czech Republic playing for Sparta Prague.  He was capped 44 times, including 42 for the Czech Republic and 2 for Czechoslovakia.  He was a star at the Euro 1996.
Patrik Berger 
LW: Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)
Coutinho came from Vasco da Gama's youth system. He was signed by Italian side Internazionale in 2008 before making his senior debut in Brazil.  He played on loan in Brazil before finally joining Inter Milan in 2010.  In 2013, he joined Liverpool.  Then, in January of 2016, he joined Barcelona. Since 2010, he has been capped by Brazil.

LW: Sadio Mané (Senegal)
Sadio Mané stated with Metz.  He made his name while playing for Red Bill Salzburg and Southampton. In 2016, he became the most expensive African player in history at that time when he joined Liverpool.  Mané, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho made up a prolific attacking quartet dubbed the "Fab Four".  He helped the club to reach the Final of the 2018 Champions' League. He scored a goal in the Final.  For Senegal, he played for them at the World Cup Finals in 2018.  

ST: Fernando Torres (Spain)
Fernando Torres started his career with Atletico Madrid in 2001, where he became the captain at age 19. In 2007, he moved to Liverpool FC and became a big star in England.  In 2011, Chelsea allegedly broke the British transfer record to buy him.  He was a part of the Champions' league winning team in 2012.  For the national team, he was a part of the generation that won the World Cup in 2010 and two European Championships (2008 and 2012).  At Euro 2012, he was the top-scorer.

ST:  Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
Luis Suarez both the 2013-2014 FWA and the PFA Player of the Year while playing for Liverpool in England.  He was also the European Golden Shoe winner that year. Unfortunately, he was known for biting an opponent at a few occasions.  With Barcelona, he was a part of the MSN line. For Uruguay, he helped them to win the Copa America in 2011 and controversially a 4th place finish at 2010 WC Finals.

ST: Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
Salah played with El Mokawloon in Egypt before heading to play for Basel in Switzerland. In 2013, he won the best player award in Switzerland.  He earned a big move to Chelsea in 2014, but he ended up with a loan move to Fiorentina and Roma.  In 2017, he moved to Liverpool after starring for Roma.  In 2017, he helped Egypt for their first World Cup Finals since 1990.  In the WC Finals, he scored a single goal.
Mohamed Salah 
Honorable Mention
Arthur Riley (South Africa), Djibril Cissé (France), Markus Babbel, Ronny Rosenthal (Israel), Javier Mascherano (Argentina),  Milan Baros (Czech Republic), Yossi Benayoun (Israel), Maxi Rodriguez (Argentina), Albert Moreno (Spain), Boudewijn Zenden (Netherlands), Sander Westerveld (Netherlands), Harry Kewell (Australia), Stephane Henchoz (Switzerland)

Squad Explanation
-- This team is not about foreign player.  It mean any player outside the British Isles.  The Republic of Ireland is not a part of the United Kingdom, but they are still a part of British Isles.  
-- Most players selected on this team are also on "100 players who shook the Kop" list.
-- The team was updated immediately after the 2019 Champions' League Final. Virgil van Dijk replaced Stephane Henchoz on the team.  I added Sadio Mané to this team as well in November, 2019.
-- Left-side forward Sadio Mané probably is better than all of the left sided players on my team. He definitely made the team after the Champions' league in 2018, but it is more difficult to find a player who I can send away. In the end, I took Boudewijn Zenden off.  Zenden was chosen because he could play as a leftback. The departure of Zenden now left the team with two fullbacks.
-- Jan Mølby was one of the first great foreign players ever played for Liverpool.
-- Rafael Benítez won the 2005 Champions' League with many foreign players.  Only two English players played in the Final against AC Milan. Steve Finnan from Ireland is the third player from the British Isles. From that team, I selected Jerzy Dudek, Xabi Alonso, Luis Garcia and Sami Hyypia.  
-- Gerard Houllier brought many French players to Liverpool.  France had one of the largest foreign contingent in Liverpool FC, but none of them made a significant impact.  Djibril Cisse is probably the only player of note.  Nicolas Anelka is probably the most famous French ever played for the club, but his career here was not so good.  Mohamed Sissoko who was born in France but played for Mali is the only player selected.
-- Spain has the largest contingent that made the team.  I have five Spanish players (Pepe Reina, Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Luis Garcia)
--  Maxi Rodriguez and Harry Kewell played as an attack midfielder or left-sided wing/forward.  I already have Philippe Coutinho, Luis Garcia and Patrik Berger who can also play in that area.  The team had many great left-sided attackers.  Instead, I took Roberto Firmino who can also play on the right wing.  
-- Dietmar Hamann appeared in many all-time list for Liverpool FC.
-- The right wing or midfield is weak. I never like Dirk Kuyt  as a wing player and Roberto Firmino played for a long time with Lievrpool.  Let's say we do not have a true legend of the club on that position. Craig Johnston would have served my problem, but he was capped by England Under-21 team and he also turned down callup by Australia.  So he is officially not captied to a non-British ad Irish national team. By football's international status, he should not be considered a foreign player. Johnston's international status on my other blog teams has been an issue. I have issues of what to do with him on my Australia and South Africa All-Time Team.
-- Lucas Leiva (Brazil) got the nod over Javier Mascherano because his career with Liverpool was longer.  He is also on the "100 players who shook the Kop" list.
-- Alvaro Arbeloa is the only rightback available. 
-- Mohamed Salah is the first player to score 40 goals in a season since Ian Rush. He only played a single season at the time of writing, but I doubt anyone would question his inclusion to this all-team.


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