Liverpool FC have signed five Italians in their history. And it is fair to say, none of them were anything but major flops. Spoiled for choices, we look at three of them that suggests Liverpool FC should not sign Italians.
1 – Mario Balotelli
Liverpool FC’s signing of the maverick Italian from AC Milan for a fee of 16m GBP, in the summer of 2014, was described by manager Brendan Rodgers as ‘calculated gamble’. As has been the case with most Italians at Liverpool FC, Balotelli has failed to make any impact.
He cut a subdued figure as Liverpool huffed and puffed to a sixth place finish following an injury to Daniel Sturridge.
Balotelli looked like a fish out of water in the formation and style deployed by Brendan Rodgers that required him to play alone up front and press the defenders while playing on their shoulders. Balotelli did not have the work ethic to press, neither the tactical intelligence to move into spaces. The result of this is that he is on his way back to AC Milan on a loan deal with Liverpool agreeing to financing a part of his wages.
Flop Rating: 4/5: Trust me, with what is to follow, Balotelli is not a 5/5.
2 – Alberto Aquilani
Liverpool FC had finished second in 2008/09 with Xabi Alonso being a key reason alongside Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano for the performance. Alonso departed in the summer, with reports stating that his relationship with the then Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was on the verge of breaking down. Alonso signed for Real Madrid and Liverpool FC decided to replace him with Alberto Aquilani for a A?20m fee from AS Roma.
Liverpool FC finished 7th in the league, their worst under Benitez. They were booted out of Champions League in the group stage and beaten in both Cup competitions in either the first or second game itself. Benitez was sacked at the end of the season.
One look at his injury record and it is clear why Alberto Aquilani was a doomed signing right from day one. He had made only 54 starts in Serie A for Roma for 4 seasons before signing for the Reds in a league known for his physical style of play. To add to it all, he was signed with an injury. He made only 13 starts for Liverpool FC that season before being loaned out to Juventus and never played for Liverpool again.
Aquilani is currently playing for Sporting Lisbon in Portugal.
Flop Rating: 5/5 – The biggest fee that Liverpool paid to any Italian signed and also probably the worst performance.
3 – Andrea Dossena
While there was a big temptation to include Fabio Borini ahead of Dossena, the defender gets the nod. Dossena was signed by Rafael Benitez following the departure of long-serving defender John Arne Riise.
Liverpool FC did have the Brazilian left-bank Fabio Auerelio in their ranks, but, his constant injury meant the Reds needed a new first choice left-back and Rafael Benitez looked at Serie A side Udinese. Dossena was signed for A?7m in July 2008.
While the Italian was a member of the national side, he seemed like anything but a quality player at Anfield. Lethargic with the ball, no positional sense, and a lack of defensive guile meant Dossena made only 12 starts for Liverpool FC before Napoli came calling the following year, where he made only 3 starts.
Flop rating: 3/5 – The fee was not a large sum and Liverpool FC were able to get him off the wage bill pretty quickly. He did score in the mauling of Real Madrid and Manchester United to earn a place in the Liverpool folklore.
The two other Italians Liverpool FC have signed are Fabio Borini from AS Roma in 2012 and Daniele Padelli on loan from Sampdoria in 2007.