8 Liverpool heroes that left Anfield for nothing: Origi, Gerrard, Fowler…
It is always a sad time for football fans when they see a player they idolise walk off the pitch for the last time and even sadder for those running the club when they move on for free – a feeling Liverpool know all too well.
Divock Origi is the latest cult hero to head out the Anfield exit door this summer, joining current Serie A champions AC Milan on a four-year contract.
The Reds have seen plenty of other modern-day heroes leave the club for nothing over the past 20 years, and we have taken a look at Origi plus seven others.
Origi, while never the greatest goalscorer, cemented himself in Liverpool folklore after a string of famous goals against Everton, Barcelona and Tottenham.
As Andy Robertson succinctly put it on Twitter after Origi scored a heroic winning goal at Wolves in December 2021, “I’ll take my grandkids to visit the Divock Origi statue one day.”
Two goals in that iconic Champions League semi-final against Barcelona in which Origi also found the net cemented Wijnaldum’s place in Liverpool’s history books.
Unfortunately, a new contract could not be agreed between player and club, and he joined PSG in June 2021 on a free transfer. The Netherlands international left Anfield with just under 200 appearances, 22 goals and four trophies to his name.
It hasn’t gone anywhere near as well in Paris and has even been omitted from recent Netherlands squads.
In June, Oranje manager Louis van Gaal said: “Unfortunately, little has changed in Gini’s situation at his club since our last two international matches in March. As a result, I am forced to make other choices, no matter how difficult and regrettable I personally find it.”
One half of the most lethal strike partnerships a generation of fans have ever seen at Anfield, Sturridge left Liverpool for Trabzonspor in 2019, ending a six-year stint with the club.
The striker found the net 21 times as the Reds came to within a whisker of a Premier League title in 2014 and was only beaten to the golden boot by Luis Suarez that season.
While the Uruguayan departed, Sturridge hung around and, although he was badly hampered by injuries, a Champions League triumph in 2019 was a fitting send-off.
Gerrard left Anfield for LA Galaxy in 2014 with more iconic moments to his name than most clubs around the world can boast between them.
Liverpool signed Hyppia from Willem II in 1999. The centre-back left for Bayer Leverkusen for nothing a decade later, beloved by the fans for mastering the art of sticking his head in where it hurts.
He made 464 appearances and formed an exceptional partnership with Jamie Carragher, winning a Champions League and the FA Cup in the process.
Another iconic figure in Liverpool’s triumph in Istanbul, Dudek’s outstanding extra-time and penalty shootout display secured his place as a club legend.
He left in 2007 after six years with the Reds, joining Real Madrid on a free transfer. The image of him creeping off his line repeatedly in Istanbul will remain etched in the minds of Liverpool fans forever.
👀 2005 final penalty shoot-out…
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 2, 2021
A falling out with Gerard Houllier saw Fowler leave the Reds for Leeds in 2001 after eight years at Anfield. But, four years later, he was back on Merseyside.
While his second coming did not match his legendary spell of the 1990s, 12 goals in two seasons as a back-up striker was certainly not disgraceful. In the summer of 2007, the man The Kop referred to as ‘God’ left for Cardiff City at the end of his contract.
While Gerrard’s header was fantastic, it was Smicer’s perfectly struck goal in Istanbul that really got AC Milan nerves jangling, arrowing his effort beyond Dida moments after the opener.
It was one of just 19 goals he scored for the Reds during his six-year spell on Merseyside. It was also the Czech midfielder’s last game before his move to Bordeaux, cooly converting in the shootout as well before kissing the club badge.
Not a bad way to sign off.