Courtesy of David Tully at the excellent Live4Liverpool website – the Reds Top 10 Transfer Bargains of all time.
Kevin Keegan (£35,000 in 1971) – Andy Beattie, Bill Shankly’s former team-mate at Preston told Shankly repeatedly that Keegan was going to be a fantastic player. After such a constant appraisal from his friend, Shankly relented and signed the player for a bargain price. Four days before the start of the 1971-72, Shankly picked Keegan in a training match at Melwood. The legend goes that Keegan impressed so much that Shankly had little choice but to give the player his debut against Nottingham Forest at Anfield on the opening day of the season. He scored after 12 minutes and after scoring 3 in 5 league games, it was clear to all a talent had emerged. He formed a potent attacking partnership with John Toshack which helped Liverpool to 3 League championships, a European Cup and two UEFA Cups.
Alan Hansen (£100,000 in 1977) – A centre half with fantastic passing, tackling ability and positional awareness, Hansen won eight league titles and three European Cups during his long stay at Liverpool. He was one of the best defenders to ever play in the English league and Bob Paisley held Hansen in the highest regard calling him the most “skilful centre-half I have ever seen.”
Sami Hyypia (£2.6million in 1999) – Big Sami was bought by Gerard Houllier from Willem II in 1999 and spent over 10 years at the club playing over 300 times in the league for the Reds. During his time at the club, the Finn won the Champions League, UEFA Cup, League Cup and FA Cup with the league title the only piece of silverware he missed out on.
Phil Neal (£66,000 in 1974) – Neal played in Liverpool’s first five European Cup finals. A reliable defender, his appearance record a Liverpool shirt was incredible as he never missed a league game for the club during his spell at Anfield. Not bad for a player who cost relatively little.
Ray Clemence (£18,000 in 1967) – Clemence joined Liverpool from Scunthorpe in 1968 and made his first bow in the first team in 1969. He is arguably Liverpool’s greatest ever keeper collecting 12 trophies in 12 years and keeping 335 clean sheets during his spell at the club. Clemence had extremely quick reactions and good positional sense and he made many crucial saves during his time at Anfield.
Ronnie Whelan (£35,000 in 1979) – An absolute steal after transferring from Irish club Home Farm, Whelan was named the League’s Young Player of the Year in his first full season at the club. Taking over from Ray Kennedy on the left side of midfield, he began to play more centrally after the arrival of John Barnes, and he was capable of scoring some spectacular goals. One of the key members of Dalglish’s late 80s side.
Steve Heighway (Free in 1970) – Taken for free by Bill Shankly from Skelmersdale United, Heighway became an integral figure of the Liverpool side of the 70s under both Shankly and Paisley. A strong, pacey winger with two good feet, Heighway played over 300 games in his 11 year stay at Anfield and scored 50 goals.
Pepe Reina (£6million in 2005) – The Spanish goalkeeper was brought in by Rafa Benitez in 2005 to replace Jerzy Dudek in the Liverpool goal. He quickly established himself as a top goalkeeper and is widely regarded by many as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League who is equally adept at distribution with throws and long kicks as he is with shot stopping.
Jimmy Case (Free in 1973) – A bargain buy from local side South Liverpool, Jimmy Case managed to establish himself extraordinarily quickly in the top tier of English football during the 1970s with Liverpool. Case was widely known for his tough tackling and was highly regarded for his work rate, but he also had a powerful shot which on more than occasion led to some spectacular long range goals. Many of the 45 goals he scored for Liverpool came from outside of the box and this combination gave Case the unique qualities of being a threat going forward as well as being able to defend with gusto.
Gary McAllister (Free in 2000) – The Scottish midfielder was a surprise Bosman signing by Gerard Houllier in 2000. He was 35 years of age at the time but the Scot famously scored a winning goal in injury time during a Merseyside Derby and helped Houllier’s side to a treble winning success in 2001.