SA winger ranked 4th out of 20 Africans to ever play for Liverpool


Football publication 90min has ranked all 20 African players ever to turn out for Liverpool’s first team.

20. Sean Dundee (South Africa)

Dundee is a curious one.

Born in Durban, the boyhood Everton fan spent the majority of his career as a serviceable striker in Germany (with the likes of Karlsruher and Stuttgart). However, at Anfield, he looked miserably out of his depth during his one season in 1998/99.

Unable to compete for places with Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Karl-Heinz Riedle, the £2m signing was moved on – having made a whole 5 appearances. He later admitted he wasn’t fit enough during his short-lived spell in England and is oft-cited as the Reds worst ever striker.

19. El Hadji Diouf (Senegal)

One man competing with Dundee for the title of most disastrous signing is El Hadji Diouf, who might just be the worst number nine in Liverpool history.

Just ask Jamie Carragher. who once said: “He’s the only number nine ever to go through a whole season without scoring [at Liverpool]. “In fact he’s probably the only number nine of any club to do that. He was always the last one to get picked in training.”

At £12m, he was a club-record signing in 2002 after Senegal’s fine showing at the World Cup, but he never recovered after spitting at a Celtic fan in a Champions League tie.

Just think, Gerard Houillier picked Diouf over Nicolas Anelka…

18. Charles Itandje (Cameroon)

The France-born Cameroon international never actually made a Premier League appearance for the Reds and was brought in as cover for Pepe Reina in 2007, leaving permanently in 2010.

Sadly, the former Lens keeper is ‘best’ remembered for having to apologise for behaving inappropriately during a memorial service for the Hillsborough disaster.

17. Oussama Assaidi (Morocco)

Upon arriving at Liverpool from Heerenveen, Assaidi was described by Brendan Rodgers as an ‘exciting’ player, but as it transpired, the only exciting thing about him were the YouTube compilations that came alongside him.

In theory he was a talent, but in practice, he was never able to cut the mustard.

Young winger Assaidi made 12 total appearances in the 2012/13 season and moved on to Stoke.

16. Yasser Larouci (Algeria)

Still only 19, young Larouci has the potential to rocket up the rankings in the years to come and is highly rated among those in the know at Anfield.

Capable at left back or on the wing, he might’ve featured more in the first-team this campaign but for a nasty pre-season injury. He was also part of the young Reds team that defeated rivals Everton in this season’s FA Cup.

15. Nabil El Zhar (Morocco)

France-born Morocco international El Zhar showed some promise as a squad player at Anfield during the Rafa Benitez years…but unfortunately it never advanced beyond that.

He went on to have a reasonable career in La Liga (with Las Palmas ans Leganes) while, at 33, he is now out in the Qatar Stars League.

14. Salif Diao (Senegal)

Like Diouf, the big Senegalese, arriving off the back of a memorable World Cup in 2002, but was underwhelming at Anfield. However, unlike Diouf, Diao ruffled fewer feathers and occasionally served his purpose as a functional midfielder.

Diao even put in capable shifts at right-back and centre-back when required, before eventually overstaying his welcome and petering out with loans to Birmingham, Portsmouth and Stoke.

13. Victor Moses (Nigeria)

After joining Brendan Rodgers’ team on loan from Chelsea, Moses scored on his debut. But after that, it’s all static.

His work-rate was fine and even his performances weren’t that bad when they came about, but he was never able to really make an impression owing to Raheem Sterling’s emergence as a starter.

12. Kolo Touré (Ivory Coast)

As with everywhere he goes, Kolo was a hugely popular figure for most of his time at Anfield…but to say his popularity derives from his defensive performances would be stretching it somewhat.

He was a more than capable defender of good pedigree, but he was at the tail end of his career. Toure was eventually let go by Jurgen Klopp to reunite with Brendan Rodgers at Celtic.

11. Rigobert Song (Cameroon)

A legend for Cameroon as a two-time Africa Cup of Nations winner, Song’s first season at Anfield was as memorable a debut campaign as any player has managed. Within weeks, he’d won hearts all over Merseyside with his combative displays, and ‘we’ve only got one Song’ became an anthem.

It didn’t last; his second season saw him miss three months due to international commitments, and he was soon offloaded to West Ham in 2000. However, he remains something of a Liverpool cult hero.

10. Djimi Traore (Mali)

The Champions League-winning left-back had to deal with his share of criticism and adversity at Anfield, but had the fight and the strength of character to persevere.

He was rarely a standout performer but his goal-line clearance to deny Andriy Shevchenko a winner in Istanbul made him a hero to many.

9. Naby Keita (Guinea)

It’s perhaps a little harsh on Naby that he ranks so low, but while the jury is still out, it’s fair to say that more was expected after his heavily-anticipated £55m move from RB Leipzig.

We’ve seen his ability in flashes, but his progress has been slowed by injury and other mitigating factors, and he has plenty left to prove.

8. Titi Camara (Guinea)

Nowhere near as celebrated as the likes of Robbie Fowler, Fernando Torres or Luis Suarez, but cult hero Camara’s sole season at Anfield saw him make a sizeable impact.

He scored nine goals in 33 league appearances, including a famous winner against Arsenal at Highbury, and in 2006 he was voted by fans onto a list of 100 players who shook the Kop.

7. Arthur Riley (South Africa)

Liverpool’s undisputed first-choice keeper for more than 14 years in the 1920s and 30s. He never won a major trophy, but is widely remembered as a hugely influential figure.

6. Mohamed Sissoko (Mali)

Sissoko is one of the most fondly remembered Liverpool players of the mid-2000s. His Liverpool career was somehow simultaneously fleeting and slow-burning, but he was a key part of the FA Cup winning team of 2006, and endeared himself to fans with his unrivalled commitment to the cause.

5. Joel Matip (Cameroon)

The towering Cameroonian is one of the understated building blocks of the Reds’ recent dominance, but if he were to leave this summer – which he may well, given that Joe Gomez is not giving up a starting spot any time soon – he would leave well-remembered.

He formed a formidable partnership with Virgil van Dijk throughout the 2018/19 season, and has proven himself to be one of the most inspired and effective free transfer signings in the club’s history.

4. Berry Nieuwenhuys (South Africa)

A lightning quick outside right, his role was similar to a modern-day right winger, and he scored 74 goals in 239 appearances throughout 14 memorable years as a player, that saw him pick up a top-flight winners medal in 1947 before retiring.

3. Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwe)

Always a colourful and controversial character, Grobbelaar was a mainstay between the sticks throughout the 1980s and into the early 90s.

Renowned for his Dudek-inspiring penalty prowess, he played no small role in winning six league titles – including three on the bounce between 1981-83 – as well as the 1984 European Cup. He was born in South Africa, raised in Rhodesia, and represented Zimbabwe at international level – though voluntary absences limited him to just 32 appearances over 18 years.

2. Sadio Mané (Senegal)

Mané was viewed as a promising signing when he arrived from Southampton in 2016, but he has since hit heights few would ever have predicted, and is only getting better.

Ruthless, sefless and endlessly energetic, he couldn’t be more perfect for Jurgen Klopp’s system if the German had crafted him by hand.

1. Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

You could toss a coin between Salah and Mané for top spot, but we’re not going to.

The stats say it all about the Egyptian King; he was the fastest Liverpool player ever to 50 goals, he’s on track to become the fastest to 100, and he’s in the running for a third straight Golden Boot.

His goals have brought about the most successful era in Liverpool’s modern history and will fire them to a first league title in 30 years, but it’s not finished there.

By 90min

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