Liverpool are arguably the most successful English team of all time. The Merseyside club have won six UEFA Champions League titles, three more than any other English side. However, their record in the Premier League era leaves a lot to be desired.
The Jurgen Klopp-coached side won their first Premier League title almost three decades after the competition's inception. There was also a phase during the early 2010s when the English giants failed to even qualify for Europe's elite competition - the Champions League.
Liverpool's transfers have improved drastically after the arrival of Jurgen Klopp
The main reason for the Reds' failure since the rebranding of the English league has got to do with poor transfers.
The Reds had a subpar transfer strategy before the arrival of Jurgen Klopp and Michael Edwards. Most of their big-money signings didn't make an impact on the team's fortunes.
If there is one position where Liverpool haven't struggled during the Premier League, it has to be the striker role.
Nevertheless, there have been many expensive strikers who have failed at the club. Many of them comprise the list of top five Reds flops in the last three decades. Here's a look at the same:
#5 Alberto Aquilani - €20 million
Alberto Aquilani joined Liverpool from AS Roma for €20 million in 2009. The Italian looked promising before joining the club, and the Kop had high hopes from the central midfielder. However, injuries haunted him during his first season at Anfield.
Aquilani played just 28 times under Rafa Benitez before spending a year out on loan at both Juventus and AC Milan. He never donned the red jersey again, as he joined Fiorentina on a permanent transfer in 2013, where he enjoyed two rather fruitful campaigns.
While the transfer fee dished out for the Italian might not seem high now, it was a hefty fee in the 2000s. The midfielder failed to tie down a place in the Reds' lineup, so he deserves a spot on this list. Considering his cost, he is arguably the biggest midfield flop in the club's history.
#4 Mario Balotelli - €20 million
Mario Balotelli is a classic example of how a poor attitude can affect a player's career, regardless of how talented they are. Balotelli, another Italian who flopped at Anfield, never looked like a team player. He was the definition of a panic buy.
Brendan Rodgers was tasked with replacing Luis Suarez in 2014, and he believed Balotelli would fill the huge void left by the Uruguayan. The Italian international was talented, but he had significant issues regarding work ethic and mindset.
During his debut campaign, the former Liverpool number 45 scored just one goal in 16 Premier League games. Overall, he managed just four strikes in 28 games during his time with the Reds. After a year on loan with Milan, he joined Nice on a free transfer.
#3 Christian Benteke - €46.5 million
Liverpool signed Christian Benteke in 2015, a Premier League-proven entity. In a way, Benteke was brought in to do the job that Balotelli failed to. The Belgian had an impressive CV, having scored 49 goals in 102 appearances for Aston Villa.
Benteke had a far better time at the club than his predecessor, Balotelli. However, it was an overpriced purchase by Rodgers, who was sacked just a few months after Benteke’s arrival. Jurgen Klopp had no plans to include the target man in his future plans.
Although Benteke scored some crucial goals for the Reds in the 2015-16 season, he was sold to Crystal Palace for €31.2 million in the summer of 2016. In 42 outings for Liverpool, the 6’ 2” centre-forward registered ten goals and six assists.
#2 Lazar Markovic - €25 million
Lazar Markovic was a part of the cavalry bought by Brendan Rodgers with the ‘Luis Suarez money’. Like most of those players, Markovic flopped as well. The Serb’s price tag was far more than his market value at the time (€10 million), and he wasn’t able to perform consistently.
The Reds didn’t have a true identity after Suarez’s departure. Markovic was even deployed in the wing-back role at times, which he clearly hadn’t signed up for. Markovic only managed four goal contributions in 34 games for the Merseyside-based club.
Markovic’s three appearances for the Reds’ U23 side epitomised how his time panned out at Anfield. After a couple of loan spells at Hull City and Anderlecht, the winger was sold to Fulham. He now plies his trade at Partizan.
#1 Andy Carroll - €41 million
Andy Carroll is perhaps the most bizarre Liverpool transfer of all time. The Englishman was purchased for a club-record fee in 2011 worth €41 million. Signed to replace the departing Fernando Torres, Carroll fell way below expectations among the Anfield faithful.
Carroll had a market value of €2.5 million when he joined the club; that was 16 times lower than what he was bought for. Let alone replacing Torres, Carroll was outperformed by Luis Suarez, who was expected to play second fiddle to the English striker.
The former Newcastle centre-forward scored 11 times in 58 matches for the Reds. Signed on deadline day of the winter transfer window, Carroll could be deemed a panic buy. He never bounced back from the failure at Anfield, and is currently earning his bread at West Bromwich Albion.