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From Reds To Rivals: 9 Former Liverpool Players Making Waves In The Premier League

From Reds To Rivals: 9 Former Liverpool Players Making Waves In The Premier League

The Premier League title race is going to be a very interesting one this season. Liverpool, the 2019-20 league champions, are currently at the top of the table after 16 games, followed by Arsenal, Aston Villa, and Manchester City.

The Reds underwent a major overhaul in the summer, signing World Cup-winning midfielder Alexis Mac Allister and Hungarian sensation Dominik Szoboszlai. Additionally, they also signed Wataro Endo from Stuttgart and Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich.

While they signed four players, a lot of veterans and certified Liverpool legends closed their chapters at Anfield. Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, and Roberto Firmino moved to Saudi Arabia. Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were roped in by Werder Bremen and Besiktas, respectively. Arthur Melo returned to Juventus and James Milner stayed in the Premier League by signing for Brighton.

Speaking of which, there are as many as nine former Liverpool players who are still plying their trade in the English top flight. Let’s take a look at them.

James Milner

Milner was a youth academy graduate at Leeds United, making his professional debut on 10th November 2002. At 16 years at 309 days, he became the second-youngest player to play in the Premier League. In December 2002, in a game against Sunderland, Milner became the youngest goal scorer in Premier League history.

He spent four seasons with Newcastle United and Aston Villa, where he excelled. He was then signed by Manchester City, where he spent five years till 2015.

In the summer of 2015, Liverpool roped him in on a free transfer and the English midfielder enjoyed tremendous success with the Merseyside outfit, winning seven titles, including the UEFA Champions League in 2018-19 and the Premier League in 2019-20.

At his contract expiry this past summer, Milner left for Brighton for free. He is a rotational player for Roberto De Zerbi, but he is just 19 games away from breaking Gareth Barry’s Premier League for most appearances (652).

Harry Wilson

Having joined Liverpool’s academy in 2005 as an eight-year-old, Wilson could never really break into the first team at Anfield, making just two appearances (in the FA Cup in 2015-16 and EFL Cup in 2020-21).

Wilson was sent out on as many as six different loans while being contracted to Liverpool, until he finally found a new home at Craven Cottage as his influential performances for Fulham in the Championship in the 2021-22 season earned him a permanent move.

Loris Karius

Having played for the Manchester City youth teams from 2009 to 2011, Karius couldn’t make a mark for himself at the City Football Academy (CFA). Mainz 05 signed him and gave him the opportunity to flourish. And flourish he did!

The German was among the best keepers in the Bundesliga during his time at Mainz, which caught the attention of Liverpool as they signed him in 2016. He quickly usurped Simon Mignolet as the first-choice custodian.

However, in the 2017-18 Champions League final against Real Madrid, he made two mistakes in the second half to hand the opponents a 3-1 lead. Those errors and the loss in the final resulted in Karius being subjected to online death threats and, eventually, cost him his place in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI.

In the summer of 2018, over a month after the Champions League debacle, Liverpool broke the-then world record for a transfer fee spent on a goalkeeper as they acquired the services of Alisson from Roma, which relegated Karius to a backup role.

That season, and the following one, Karius played for Besiktas in the Turkish Super Lig on loan. In the 2020-21 season, he spent another year on loan, this time at Union Berlin. He returned to Liverpool for the 2021-22 season, but did not make a single appearance.

Newcastle United signed him on a free transfer in the summer of 2022. He made just one appearance all season, in the EFL Cup against Manchester United, making eight saves even though the Magpies lost 2-0. That was his first game in two years. He is still at Newcastle United, but is yet to make an appearance this season.

Javier Manquillo

Once a youngster who was touted to be Spain’s next big thing, Manquillo hasn’t quite made justice to the potential he once showed.

Manquillo started his professional career with Atletico Madrid, but limited playing time saw him go out on multiple loans. His first loan move from the Spanish capital was to Liverpool in the 2014-15 season, where he made 19 appearances for the first team.

Subsequent loan moves saw him play for Sunderland and Marseille, before signing on a permanent basis for Newcastle United in 2017. He made 104 appearances for Newcastle in his first five seasons. However, Kieran Trippier’s signing in 2022 saw his playing time diminishing to a drastic extent. He is yet to play a single game for Eddie Howe’s side this season.

Raheem Sterling

One of the best talents to emerge from the Liverpool youth academy in recent memory, Sterling made his debut for the Reds on 24th March 2012, becoming the third-youngest player to ever play for the Liverpool first team.

He was the recipient of the Golden Boy award in 2014, becoming one of Liverpool’s most exciting players during what was a torrid time for the club as results were hard to come by.

He left Liverpool in 2015 after making 129 appearances and scoring 23 goals, joining Manchester City for the-then most expensive transfer fee for a British player.

Sterling spent seven highly successful seasons at the Etihad Stadium, enjoying both individual and collective success, scoring 131 goals in 339 games for the Sky Blues.

The 29-year-old is now playing his trade for Chelsea, but is yet to produce the sort of form he produced for Liverpool and Man City on a consistent basis. Part of the blame could also be given to how big of a mess Chelsea are at the moment.

Nathaniel Clyne

A product of the Crystal Palace youth setup, Clyne spent four seasons with Palace in the second division before making the jump to the Premier League, when the newly promoted Southampton signed him on a four-year deal.

After spending three seasons with the Saints, Clyne was signed by Liverpool on a five-year deal. In his first two seasons, the right-back received regular playing time, often being named in the starting XI. However, injury problems led to his career at Anfield being cut short. The 32-year-old returned to Crystal Palace in 2020 and has made 64 appearances for the club since then.

Adam Lallana

Another player who was bought from Southampton, Lallana was actually a very important player for Liverpool for the first few seasons. Arriving at Anfield in 2014, Lallana scored 21 goals and had 19 assists in 125 appearances until the end of the 2016-17 season.

Lallana’s versatility was a huge plus for Klopp. The Englishman was used in central midfield, as an attacking midfielder, as a right winger, as a left winger, and occasionally as a centre forward, right midfielder, or left midfielder.

However, injuries took their toll on the player, reducing his role under Klopp to a squad player who would be useful for rotating with and resting the more important players.

After the end of his contract at the end of the pandemic-hit 2019-20 season (when Liverpool won the league), Lallana joined Brighton. He has made 79 appearances for the Seagulls.

Jack Robinson

At 16 years and 250 days, Robinson became the youngest player to play for Liverpool at the time. The left-back was highly impressive for the youth teams, which earned him call-ups to the first team. He made his debut for the Reds on 9th May 2010.

However, having made just five appearances in total until the end of the 2011-12 season, Robinson was loaned out to Wolves in the Championship to earn more playing time and fast-track his progress. The following season, he was loaned out to Blackpool (again in the Championship).

In 2014, Queens Park Rangers signed him and loaned him out to Championship side Huddersfield town the same day. Following his return to QPR for the 2015-16 season, he couldn’t carve a place for himself in the first team.

Things turned around for him in the 2017-18 season as he made 31 league appearances for QPR. His performances didn’t go unnoticed as Rangers decided to hand him a contract extension. Robinson, though, rejected the offer and joined Nottingham Forest, where he stayed for a season and a half.

In January 2020, Robinson was signed by Sheffield United, who were playing in the Premier League at the time. The defender has been a United player ever since, but has made just three Premier League appearances this season.

Dominic Solanke

Solanke joined Chelsea’s youth setup in 2004 and signed his first professional contract in September 2014. That season, he made just one appearance for the Blues, in a Champions League group stage game against NK Maribor, making him the youngest Chelsea debutant in Europe’s premier competition at the age.

He spent the 2015-16 season on loan at Vitesse in the Eredivisie (Dutch top-flight), scoring seven goals across 26 appearances in all competitions.

Upon his return to Chelsea ahead of the 2016-17 season, he remained as the third-choice striker behind Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi. Unfortunately, he didn’t make a single appearance for the first team.

In the summer of 2017, Liverpool roped him in on a free transfer, making 27 appearances in his debut season for the Reds. However, he managed to score a solitary goal.

The following season, he was sold to Bournemouth in the winter transfer window, where he finally came into his own and started scoring more regularly. His 29 goals in the Championship in the 2021-22 season helped the club gain promotion to the Premier League.

Upon Bournemouth’s return to the top-flight, Solanke scored six goals in 33 league appearances as the Cherries survived the drop. At the moment, Solanke seems to be enjoying his best season yet as he has scored eight goals in 16 Premier League games, helping his side steer 10 points clear of relegation at the end of Matchday 16.