We’re going to stick our necks on the line and suggest that El-Hadji Diouf isn’t the most popular footballer among Liverpool supporters.
Diouf flopped at Liverpool after joining in a £10million deal from Lens in 2002 and has completely burned his bridges with the club since.
We’ve taken a look at six times he was a bit of a pr*ck – both at Anfield and since leaving.
Diouf had already been involved in controversial spitting incidents before arriving at Anfield, and his infamy in that regard only grew after moving to England.
After spitting at a Celtic fan during a UEFA Cup clash in 2003, Diouf was charged with assault and fined two weeks’ wages, while he was charged with spitting at an 11-year-old Middlesbrough fan and later banned for three matches for spitting at Portsmouth’s Arjen de Zeeuw the following year on loan at Bolton.
It’s safe to say Jamie Carragher isn’t a fan of Diouf, writing in his autobiography he had never met a player “who seemed to care less about winning or losing”.
Carragher recounts one story about Diouf, which came after defeat in the FA Cup at Portsmouth in 2004. Michael Owen missed a penalty at Fratton Park and was disconsolate at Melwood the following day. Diouf, meanwhile, rocked up with music blaring out of his car and “danced across the car park” into the building.
“You’d think we’d won the cup, the way he carried on. His attitude disgusted me.”
🗣️ El Hadji Diouf on Liverpool: “They had the chance to win the league title; they had it in their hands and then let it slip. They were seven points ahead around Christmas – how Manchester City got it in the end beats my mind. As they say in England, I think they bottled it." pic.twitter.com/GS7GtJ3F1N
— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) September 26, 2019
Despite being just 20, Mellor was told by Gerard Houllier that he was the designated penalty taker on his Liverpool debut against Ipswich in the League Cup in December 2002.
The Reds were duly awarded a penalty, only for Mellor to have the ball snatched from his hands by Diouf. Thankfully, Diouf converted the spot-kick, but a promising young striker was denied the chance to mark a dream debut.
Bernard Diomede may have made even less of an impact at Liverpool than Diouf, but the French winger offered an intriguing insight into the atmosphere at Anfield in a recent interview.
When asked by L’Equipe (via Sport Witness) to recall a crazy incident during his career, Diomede said: “El-Hadji Diouf in Liverpool. When you arrive in England, you are nobody. Especially in a club with strong identity with Gerrard, Fowler, Owen, Carragher.
“He, he feared no one, was like at home and did not respect the rules: you had to speak English and he spoke French, he kept it up all the time, mocked the dressing room, on the bus. It was reframing in the training: a player missed the pass so that behind takes a tackle.”
Diouf on Gerrard… "He was nothing at all." Petit's reaction… "Gerrard was an immense player, I cannot let you say that." 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/3Lk8D0a8x6
— Matt Craig (@MattHDGamer) November 25, 2016
The ignominy between Diouf and Liverpool did not end once he left the club, and he celebrated getting one over his former club when Blackburn beat the Reds 3-1 in 2011 by taunting the visiting supporters at Ewood Park.
To be fair to the former Senegal international, that result sealed the fate of Roy Hodgson, who was sacked three days later, so Reds fans were perhaps willing to forgive him for that one.
Over the last few years, Diouf has made a habit of slagging off Gerrard and Carragher at regular intervals.
This includes saying “Gerrard would rather Liverpool lost and he scored”, accusing the former Reds captain of being racist, and labelling Carragher a “turkey” and “a sh*t”.
We must admit, we quite like the use of “a sh*t” as an insult.