‘Where did it all go wrong?’ – Bruno Cheyrou

When Bruno Cheyrou played for Liverpool he scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. That would have won him a lot of praise from the Anfield faithful, but unfortunately for Cheyrou his Liverpool career would not see moments like that come frequently. That goal against Chelsea would probably be Liverpool fans only real memory of him.

This is a player that came to Liverpool with a good football background behind him, but struggled to really make an impression. There was already pressure on him before he arrived. The Liverpool manager at the time, Gerard Houllier, made the schoolboy error of comparing an unheard of player to an all time great. In this instance the reference from Houllier came in calling Cheyrou the “new Zidane.” Such a tag would go on to prove a massive burden for Cheyrou. This is not good management, and not recommendable. Can you imagine what expectations the Liverpool fans then had of him?

All was set for Cheyrou to do well at Anfield. He was said to have had a superb pre-season, topped off with an eye-catching performance in a pre-season friendly against Lazio at Anfield. By winning his first cap for France whilst playing for Liverpool at least showed that he caught the attention of the French coaches. But in football a good start at your new club does not necessarily mean that you will go on to become a great for the club.

The downward spiral of Cheyrou’s stay at Anfield is there to see in statistical form. In three years at the club he made only 17 Premier League starts and scored only five goals in all competitions. One thing Liverpool fans, and English football fans, will never know is how good Cheyrou could have actually been. The ridiculous statement by Houllier, which will surely rank as one of the worst made by a Premiership manager, ultimately ended Cheyrou’s chance to impress before he even started a game. He was expected to play as someone who he looks fairly similar to, but that is where the similarities ended.

It became obvious that Cheyrou looked lost on the pitch, probably not knowing where his best position was. By being made to play on the left of midfield, he was left exposed. Judging by the way he played, he never had the skills to make an impact in that part of the pitch.

At the time new, and current, Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez made putting Cheyrou out on loan as one of his first priorities. Obviously he had been tracking the French player for a while and realised that he was not the type of player he wanted. He joined Marseille on loan in July 2004. He returned to The Reds after the loan spell, and was promptly sent on loan once more, this time to another French club, Bordeaux. You would have thought Cheyrou had upset someone at Anfield the way he was getting sent back and forth from England to France. There was never any mention of that. The truth of the matter is that he was a player not suited to the demands of the Premier League, and should never have been signed in the first place.