Ranking every Spaniard to play for Liverpool in the Premier League

Quick Reads

Liverpool have been graced by a number of brilliant Spaniards in the Premier League – although they haven’t all been success stories.

Anfield was the home to an influx of Spanish players under Rafa Benitez, but for every Xabi Alonso there was a Josemi.

We’ve ranked every Spanish player to play for Liverpool from worst to best.

19. Pedro Chirivella

Still on the books at Liverpool, we’re not saying Chirivella is necessarily a bad footballer, but a 3-1 defeat to Swansea City on his only Premier League appearance doesn’t help the midfielder’s cause in terms of this ranking.

The 22-year-old’s prospects have hardly been helped by a botched January transfer in which he moved to Spanish outfit Extremadura on loan, only to discover he was unable to play as the move was not registered in time on Deadline Day.

18. Sergi Canos

A handy Championship player for Brentford, Canos’ solitary Premier League appearance for Liverpool at least came in a 1-1 draw against West Brom. Take that, Pedro Chirivella.

17. Daniel Ayala

Another player who has found his level in the Championship, Ayala made five appearances for the Reds in 2009-10 and was rewarded with a new long-term deal, only to find opportunities limited on Merseyside.

16. Dani Pacheco

Poached from Barcelona as a youngster, Liverpool had high hopes for Pacheco, a talented attacker who played for Spain at numerous youth levels.

But things just didn’t quite click for Pacheco, although he was at least trusted with Champions League action as well as appearing five times in the Premier League.

15. Javier Manquillo

Not the only bad Spanish full-back to leave Liverpool after an unimpressive loan spell only to find himself back in England’s top flight with a North East club (Antonio Barragan sadly doesn’t make this list as he never actually turned out for the Reds in the Premier League).

Manquillo joined Liverpool on a two-year loan deal from Atletico Madrid with an option to buy after the first, yet the fact Liverpool instead decided to instead terminate the move entirely at that point probably sums it all up.

14. Josemi

Rafa Benitez’s first signing as Liverpool manager, Josemi initially found himself established in Liverpool’s starting XI, only to get sent off at Fulham and later suffer and injury that allowed Steve Finnan to cement his place as first-choice right-back.

Still, at least Liverpool got to swap him for Jan Kromkamp when he left for Villarreal…

13. Antonio Nunez

A makeweight in the deal which saw Michael Owen leave Liverpool for Real Madrid, fortune conspired against Nunez when he suffered a knee injury in only his second training session for the Reds.

Despite leaving Anfield after just one season, Nunez was something of a good luck charm for the club, making his Premier League debut in a dramatic win over Arsenal, his Champions League debut in the thrilling victory over Olympiakos, and also featuring against Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and the nail-biting semi-final second-leg triumph over Chelsea en route to Istanbul.

The right-midfielder also holds the distinction of being the only Liverpool player to score his one goal for the club in a cup final, having netted in 3-2 defeat to Chelsea in the 2005 League Cup final.

12. Luis Alberto

Compared to Philippe Coutinho by Brendan Rodgers, Steven Gerrard had a different thought when he first saw Alberto and fellow new signing Iago Aspas.

“Straightaway, as soon as I saw them [Aspas and Luis Alberto] in the dressing room, I knew they weren’t going to make it in the Premier League,” Gerrard wrote in his autobiography My Story.

“It boiled down to physique. They had the bodies of little boys – they looked about fifteen. I thought ‘Jesus, how are you going to cope against John Terry, Ashley Williams and Ryan Shawcross?'”

Both Alberto and Aspas have been big successes elsewhere since leaving Anfield, at least.

11. Iago Aspas

See above, although at least Aspas managed to score for Liverpool.

READ: Steven Gerrard has more in common with Iago Aspas than he realises

10. Suso

Following in the footsteps of Alberto and Aspas, Suso is another young Spaniard who failed to realise his potential at Liverpool but has gone on to star elsewhere.

Now at AC Milan, the winger did at least show moments of promise with Liverpool.

9. Alberto Moreno

Yeah, he’s not a very good left-back, but we will always love him for this

8. Albert Riera

Never the sexiest of wingers, Riera was always steady if unspectacular on the flank for Liverpool but could be counted upon as a reliable performer as the Reds finished second in 2008-09.

Riera fell out of favour in his second season, missing out on Spain selection for the 2010 World Cup, and was sold after publicly criticising Rafa Benitez.

7. Fernando Morientes

We wish we could have seen Morientes in his pomp in the Premier League, but the striker still got to win the FA Cup and UEFA Super Cup with Liverpool.

6. Jose Enrique

Given the struggles of previous full-backs on this list, Enrique should be considered a rare success story, despite enduring a mixed career at Anfield.

The former Newcastle United left-back was part of the side which won the 2012 League Cup and collected an FA Cup runners-up medal the same year, but a serious knee injury saw he reduced to the periphery in his final three campaigns.

5. Alvaro Arbeloa

If we’re talking Spanish full-backs at Liverpool, Arbeloa is the gold standard.

Capable of playing on either side of the defence, Arbeloa made his first Liverpool start in a victory in the Camp Nou, setting the tone for the rest of his Reds career early on.

After being a key member of the team which went toe to toe with Manchester United in 2008-09, the defender returned to Real Madrid, where he collected a number of honours.

4. Luis Garcia

Given the number of important goals Garcia scored in his first season at Liverpool, it seems a shame his time at Anfield, and career as a whole, somewhat petered out.

But the fact he still dresses up as his ‘ghost goal’ against Chelsea for Halloween makes us want to put him top of this list.

3. Pepe Reina

Like Garcia, there’s a tinge of sadness in the way Reina’s Liverpool career ended. Indeed, the player himself told the Daily Mail, “I would have preferred to say goodbye in a different way,” while on loan at Napoli.

Of goalkeepers with 100 or more clean sheets in the Premier League, Reina has the best percentage with 47.02%, while he even turned out in midfield for Liverpool.

Pepe-Reina-Liverpool

READ: Remembering when Pepe Reina played as a midfielder for Liverpool

2. Fernando Torres

We’re very happy the bad blood between Torres and Liverpool fans seems to have been put to bed now, because watching the striker in a red shirt was a thing of beauty.

READ: A tribute to Liverpool-era Fernando Torres, a striker who could do it all

1. Xabi Alonso

The master. As good as Torres was for Liverpool, Alonso was at the heartbeat of the Champions League-winning team of 2005 and the FA Cup triumph the following year, as well as been a central figure in the brilliant side which Torres was a part of of.

There’s hardly a greater compliment for a Liverpool midfielder than Steven Gerrard telling Alonso upon his retirement: “When you left it broke my heart.”


More Liverpool

A tribute to Liverpool-era Fernando Torres, a striker who could do it all

Remembering when Pepe Reina played as a midfielder for Liverpool

Ranking Liverpool’s 27 weirdest signings of the Premier League era

Can you name Liverpool’s top 22 Champions League goalscorers?