Previous posts: Formation | Keeper | Right Back | Centerback | Left Back | Central Midfield | Right Midfield | Left Midfield | Second Striker
Yes, I realize this poll and the previous one are mere formalities. I appreciate you indulging my idiosyncratic need for completion.
I could have included eight in this list and still left out players that were better than some in other polls. But as we’re considering a lone striker, names like Anelka, Ciise, and Bellamy missed out.
The team so far:
Finnan Carragher Hyypia Riise
Kuyt Gerrard Benayoun
Milan Baros (2002-2005)
Tantalizing youth product and excellent goalscorer for the Czech Republic, but Baros never made the impact at Liverpool that Houllier had hoped. He never stopped running, but he never looked up either, leading to charges down blind alleys and an utter refusal to pass. Continuing his form from Euro 2004, he played well through the first half of ’04-05, but unsurprisingly, Benitez got rid after one season.
Peter Crouch (2005-2008)
Certainly could do with having Crouchy in the team now, but he wasn’t content playing second fiddle to Torres. They only started seven games (three in the league) together – 4-2 Reading, 0-1 Marseille, 4-0 Bolton, 1-3 Reading, 5-0 Luton, 3-0 Sunderland, and 4-2 Arsenal – before Crouch was sold for £11m. Still, he was a valuable signing (despite taking until December to break his duck), and his perfect hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Arsenal still stands out.
Robbie Fowler (1993-2001; 2006-2007)
Appearances: 393 (108 in 2000s)
Goals: 186 (33 in 2000s)
As the stats suggest, Fowler of the 2000s was not the God of the 90s. As much as it hurt, Houllier probably sold him at the right time, and Fowler never hit similar heights with either Leeds or City. But he was welcomed back with open arms in January 2006 as much-needed fourth attacking option, who worked his socks off to get in shape, chipped in 12 goals in a season and a half, and went out the way he should have the first time.
Emile Heskey (2000-2004)
Houllier loved him, Owen loved playing with him, and he drove the fans crazy. Never an out-and-out goalscorer, Heskey bullied his way through backlines, making space for Mickey. That Ivanhoe (his actual middle name!) was Liverpool’s most expensive transfer until Cisse shows the promise he came in with, but with increased competition from Baros and a continuing inability to score regularly, Houllier sold him to Brum not long before being sacked.
Michael Owen (1997-2004)
Dirty Judas Mercenary Manc. Thanks for the 2001 FA Cup, though, Mickey. And introducing me to the club.
Fernando Torres (2007-present)
So, that Fernando Torres is pretty good at football, no? 33 goals in his first season, and "just" 17 last season during an injury-hit campaign. And still struggling with knocks this year, he’s scored 11 in 17 games. He has the best goals-per-game ratio in Premier League history, and not one of his strikes has been a penalty or direct free kick. He’s not “arguably the best striker in the world.” He’s the best striker in the world. Period.
Despite Friday's holiday, I should be able to get away from family long enough to post a Wolves preview around the normal time. Merry Christmas.