7 former Liverpool players we can’t believe are still playing in 2022

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Aly Cissokho playing for Liverpool in the Premier League against Newcastle United at St James Park, Newcastle. 19 October 2013.

Every club has had those former players that, when you see them pop up in a Twitter clip or appear on telly playing in the Europa Conference League, you think, ‘Oh, sh*t, I remember him’. Liverpool seem to have had more than most.

They went through weird players at a rate of knots in the late 2000s and early 2010s, and, believe it or not, some of them are still going now.

Here, we’ve looked at seven former Reds who somehow haven’t retired yet.

Aly Cissokho

After some time in Turkey’s second tier and the French fourth division, Cissokho managed to find himself one last payday as a pro by moving to Thai League 2 side Lamphun Warrior in 2021 – and he’s still there erratically jerking up the left wing (we imagine) a year later after helping them to promotion.

He won a cap for France and played for Porto, Valencia and Lyon, so he can’t have been terrible all the time. But he was so bad at Liverpool we reckon they should make a film about it…

Aly Cissokho of Liverpool

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Emiliano Insua

Insua played 44 games for Liverpool in Rafa Benitez’s final season in charge, but then Roy Hodgson arrived and that spelled the end.

“It was sad for me to leave because I was feeling really well at Liverpool,” Insua told the Guardian in 2019.

“I wanted to stay but Hodgson told me I will not play [under him]. I was young and I wanted to play, so I left. Hodgson then signed Paul Konchesky to be the left-back but Konchesky did not do well for Liverpool… maybe I should have stayed.”

Despite Hodgson getting the heave-ho a few weeks later, Insua never played for the Reds again, moving on to play in Portugal, Spain, Germany and the USA.

Now 33, he is turning out for Racing Club in his homeland.

Pepe Reina

Reina now seems like a player from an entirely different era of football. He made his professional debut for Barcelona in a game in which Pep Guardiola also came on as a sub and Rivaldo started on the right wing.

But aged 40, he’s still getting paid to play football. He moved back to Spain to play for Villarreal in summer 2022 and is being used as their ‘keeper for Europa Conference League games.

Daniele Padelli

We might have ranked him as Liverpool’s worst goalkeeper of the Premier League era (if you don’t remember, he made one terrible appearance for the Reds in 2007) but Padelli has carved out a very long career, albeit one that hasn’t involved playing football all that much.

Other than three seasons at Torino, he’s almost always been second or third choice for clubs including Bari, Udinese and Inter Milan.

The 36-year-old is now back at Udinese and is still sitting on the bench.

Lucas Leiva

A proper cult hero at Anfield, Lucas Leiva always played like a grizzled veteran, even when he was 24, so we probably overestimated how old he actually was. But it feels surprising that he’s still going five years after leaving his beloved Merseyside.

After spending four and a half of those years at Lazio, winning a Coppa Italia with them in 2019, he moved back to boyhood club Gremio in 2022.

On September 20, he scored his first league goal for Gremio since April 30 2006, a stretch of 5,987 days separating the two.

Understandably, he was pretty pleased with himself.

Ryan Babel

Everybody’s favourite Dutch rapper/footballer, Babel is one of those players who, for several years, would drift out of your consciousness only to flit across your television screen at random intervals making you think, ‘Oh, he’s there now’.

Fulham for a season, anyone? How about a quick loan at Ajax in 2020? Or a little cameo in Galatasaray’s Europa League games? He was also inexplicably getting called up for the Netherlands until last year.

Anyway, he is still going now, though you’re unlikely to see much of him on the small screen anymore given he’s playing for the very Yorkshire-sounding Eyupspor in the Turkish second tier. By ‘eck.

Nabil El Zhar

El Zhar only made 32 appearances for Liverpool across five years under contract at the club. Weirdly, one of them was as a sub for Alberto Aquilani in the 2010 Europa League semi-final defeat to Atletico.

While he was never quite good enough for the Reds, El Zhar built a decent career in Spain and has been in Qatar since 2019, where he currently plays for Muaither SC in the second tier.

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