Played for both: Aston Villa and Liverpool modern era all-star squad
Ahead of the FA Cup semi-final between Aston Villa (4/1 with Coral to win in 90 minutes) and Liverpool (13/2 chances for victory in extra time), our football experts began to wonder about who has played for both clubs?
It turns out we can make an all-star squad, including subs. Who’s in? Read on to find out!
Goalkeeper: David James
Premier League all-time clean sheet record holder James transferred directly from Anfield to Villa Park for £1.8m in the summer of 1999. This ended a seven-season stint on Merseyside, which included a League Cup triumph in 1995.
Over two years in the West Midlands, James’ value appreciated to £3.5m and West Ham came calling. He also went on to play for Manchester City and Portsmouth in the top flight, as well as earning 53 England caps (1997-2010).
Republic of Ireland centurion Staunton switched between Liverpool and Villa three times, meaning he had two spells at both clubs. Winning the FA Cup and old First Division in back-to-back seasons in 1989 and 1990 during his first stint at Anfield, he then moved on to the Midlands and complete his domestic triple crown with two League Cup triumphs with Villa (1994 and 1996).
Staunton then returned to the Reds in 1998, but left midway through the 2000/01 campaign for the Birmingham-based outfit. He also played for Bradford City and Crystal Palace on loan, and turned out for Coventry City and Walsall at the end of his career. Staunton holds the distinction of representing his country at three World Cups (1990, 1994 and 2002).
Defence: Stephen Warnock
Anfield academy product Warnock spent 13 years man and boy on Merseyside before being bought by Blackburn Rovers in January 2007, following loan stints at Bradford and Coventry. With Liverpool he earned an FA Cup winners’ medal He then left Ewood Park in the summer of 2009 for Villa, with then-manager Martin O’Neill recruiting the best of British talent for his squad.
Warnock started the 2010 League Cup final loss to Manchester United, which was controversial as Red Devils centre Nemanja Vidic avoided a red card for an early professional foul inside his own area. Spells with Bolton Wanderers, Leeds United and now Derby County followed.
Defence: Aly Cissokho
A disastrous loan spell for Brendan Rodgers’ boys last term did not deter Villa making a permanent move for former France full back Cissokho last summer. Tim Sherwood worked wonders with Emmanuel Adebayor at Spurs, so a similar transformation would come in handy here, though the player may miss this Wembley outing with a groin strain.
Like Staunton above, we’re talking about a Republic of Ireland legend here. Midfield hotshot Houghton won two top-flight titles and as many FA Cups with Liverpool before moving on to Villa for £990k in 1992. He also completed his domestic triple crown with League Cup glory under Ron Atkinson in 1994.
Midfield: Joe Cole
Best known for a prodigious beginning to his career with West Ham and a trophy-laden spell at Chelsea, ex-England man Cole tried to revive his fortunes following a serious knee injury with a free transfer to the Reds in 2010.
He was instead shipped out on loan to Lille and, via a second stint with the Hammers, is now at Villa where Cole plays a bit-part role in Sherwood’s side.
Crafty Czech creator Berger was part of the Reds’ cup treble winning side of 2001 (League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup), but soon switched to Portsmouth on a Bosman two years later.
Harry Redknapp controversially quit Fratton Park and, although Pompey preserved their top-flight status, Berger moved on to Villa, where he and compatriot Milan Baros failed to replicate their impressive international form for the West Midlands club.
Midfield: Stewart Downing
Another O’Neill arrival at Villa Park, Downing ditched hometown team Middlesbrough while injured and when they endured relegation in 2009. Purchased for £10m, his recovery was slow at first, but a superb second season (2010/11) of seven goals and nine assists saw Liverpool come calling.
Reportedly doubling in value because of this, Downing could not deliver on the potential he had shown on Teesside and in the Midlands when moving to Merseyside, so West Ham boss Sam Allardyce offered him an escape route in 2013. Big Sam has since converted him from a winger into a creative attacking midfielder.
Striker: Stan Collymore
West Midlands native Collymore had to take a circuitous route to Premier League stardom. His prolific spell at Nottingham Forest attracted Liverpool and he was snapped up for a then English record of £8.5m in 1995. Check out his best Anfield moments below:
The Reds lost money on him two terms later, however, allowing Villa to take him back south for £7m. Collymore’s career was marred by off-the-field controversy both during and after his playing days. His three seasons at Villa Park were particularly poor, so he failed to live up to earlier promise.
Striker: Peter Crouch
Ex-England target man Crouch got his first taste of Premier League football with Villa when signed for £5m from Portsmouth. He flopped, however, and was farmed out on loan to Norwich City. With a spell at Southampton sandwiched in between, he then moved to Liverpool, scooping the highest accolade of his club career; an FA Cup winners’ medal.
Crouch went on to return to Portsmouth (where Villa signed him from) and Spurs (where his career began) before finally settling at Stoke City.
Striker: Emile Heskey
Cult hero Heskey enjoyed his finest honour in a Liverpool shirt, firing the Reds alongside Michael Owen to that hat-trick of cup crowns in 2001.
Having started out at Leicester City, he had stints with Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic before returning to the Midlands with Villa in January 2009 for £3.5m, and netted nine times in 92 Premier League outings. Heskey is at Bolton now, following two years out in Australia with Newcastle Jets.
Veteran Spurs stopper Brad Friedel had spells with both clubs earlier in his lengthy career. Norway midfielder Oyvind Leonhardsen is an engine room alternative, while we’ve kept strikers Dean Saunders, Robbie Keane and the aforementioned Baros in reserve.