The seven players Liverpool signed from the Football League

  • Kat Lucas
Liverpool v FC Utrecht - UEFA Europa League

Liverpool's recent transfer business has been unrivalled. 

Selling Philippe Coutinho for £142 million and reinvesting that money in Virgil van Dijk and Alisson completely transformed their fortunes under Jurgen Klopp. 

It wasn't always that way, though. 

The Reds used to be as guilty of bad business as any other club, whether that was down to the infamous 'Transfer Committee' or just poor luck. 

There is an awful lot of chance involved in signing players and that particularly applies to those who are picked up from the Football League and tasked with making a massive step up. 

Naturally, it's rare for a team of Liverpool's stature to put their faith in someone who has been plying their trade in the Championship or below. 

In fact, it's only happened on seven occasions and the results have been mixed, to say the least. 

To clarify, we're only talking about players who were actually *playing* in the lower rungs when they were snapped up by the current league-leaders - so no Peter Crouch, Andy Robertson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Danny Ings, Charlie Adam, or Jermaine Pennant, who had all just been relegated from the top flight with their respective teams when they signed. 

With a little inspiration from Planet Football, we've taken a look at the best and worst. 

Joe Gomez

The big success story. Gomez is still only 22 but it's nearly five years since he was signed from Charlton for £3.5m. The defender got off to a fine start on his debut against Stoke, assisting Philippe Coutinho for the winning goal. 

However, injuries then wreaked havoc with his progress, particularly a nasty ACL tear. When Gomez really got going, he became Klopp's first choice to partner Van Dijk. The Champions League winner has also made eight appearances for England. 


Jonjo Shelvey

Another signing from Charlton, Shelvey now thinks he called it quits on his Liverpool career too early. The midfielder's cause wasn't helped by the fact he had to contend with so many managerial changes; he was signed by Rafa Benitez, made his debut under Roy Hodgson but then didn't become a more regular feature in the side until Brendan Rodgers arrived. 

After making 69 appearances, Shelvey left for Swansea in 2013 in search of first-team football. That's not to say he did too badly at Anfield, but he never quite lived up to his potential. 

SSC Napoli v Liverpool - UEFA Europa League

Brad Jones

The Australian signed from Middlesbrough for £2.3m and made just 11 appearances in five years. Then again, he was never meant to be a first-team player and was only ever a back-up to Pepe Reina. Jones had the opportunity to become a hero on his debut, when he took part in a penalty shootout against Northampton. Liverpool lost, and we suspect his moment to write himself into folklore had passed then and there. 

Jones' finest hour came when he came off the bench to save a spot-kick against Blackburn Rovers. He was released in 2015 and now plays in Saudi Arabia with Al-Nassr FC. 

Liverpool's Australian goalkeeper Brad J

Jordan Ibe 

The winger was a classic case of too much, too soon, tasked with making the step up from Wycombe Wanderers to Liverpool aged just 16 (!) Scoring just one league goal in a draw with West Bromwich Albion in 2015, Ibe did earn a new contract a few months later, but moved on a year later. 

Possibly Ibe's greatest contribution was convincing Bournemouth to pay £15m for him, as he hasn't been a hit on the South Coast. 

Liverpool U21 v Sunderland U21 - Barclays U21s Premier League

Adam Bogdan 

Four years, loan spells to Wigan and Hibernian, and two appearances. One of which, by the way, saw Liverpool suffer the ignominy of a 3-0 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road in 2015. Thank God thinks like that don't happen anymore, eh? It all points to the fact that procuring the Hungarian from Bolton Wanderers probably wasn't a good idea, really. 


Andy Lonergan

The 36-year-old is one of English football's great journeymen, playing for no fewer than 13 clubs so far in his career. During his last spell at Middlesbrough (which included a loan stint at Rochdale), he probably hadn't reckoned he'd be part of a Premier League winning squad within a year. Either way, the stopper is yet to make a first team appearance. 

Liverpool v Chelsea: UEFA Super Cup

Harvey Elliott 

The 16-year-old has unfortunately made as many headlines off the pitch as on it so far, including receiving a ban for an offensive post about Tottenham striker Harry Kane. Elliott needs to get his head down because he's a brilliantly gifted young player and stood head and shoulders above his teammates when Liverpool's young side lost 5-0 to Aston Villa earlier this season in the Carabao Cup. 

Liverpool FC v Shrewsbury Town - FA Cup Fourth Round: Replay

Gomez must be an inspiration to all lower-league players that it is possible to make the grade at the very top - but there are no guarantees. 

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