Played for both: 10 Premier League names at Chelsea and Liverpool
Jose Mourinho said one of his biggest regrets in management was his failure to sign Steven Gerrard ahead of the Capital One Cup semi-final over two legs between Chelsea and Liverpool.
That got Coral’s football experts thinking about players that actually did spend time at both of these English football heavyweights, with all to play for in the second leg.
We came up with 10 names that did make appearances at both Anfield and Stamford Bridge.
Immortalised in the tabloids with the nickname ‘Le Sulk’, much-travelled former France forward Anelka had six separate stints in the Premier League, including the Reds and Blues. He spent the second half of the 2001/02 campaign on loan at Anfield, but failed to make much of an impact, scoring four times in 20 Premier League outings.
Anelka later spent four years (January 2008-January 2012) at Chelsea, and this period was hugely successful for him. At the Bridge he lifted two FA Cups and the Premier League title (2009/10), plus he was a Golden Boot winner in 2009. Anelka netted 60 goals across all competitions in Blue.
Israel international midfielder Benayoun first rose to Premier League prominence at West Ham, but Liverpool landed him for a reported £5m in the summer of 2007. His scoring prowess from midfield supplemented Rafa Benitez’s push to all fronts and, after almost 100 league outings at Anfield, he joined Chelsea in 2010. Benayoun failed to make an impact at the Bridge, however.
Current Reds first-team frontman Borini came through the ranks at the Blues, but like so many the Italian failed to make the grade. Via a loan spell at Swansea City, and time at Roma, he was brought to Anfield by Rodgers for a reported £10.5m in the summer of 2012. Borini has stayed on Merseyside, despite being farmed out to Sunderland last term, to fight for his place, and is a 7/2 anytime scorer chance.
Ex-England star Cole played his best football at the Bridge (2003-2010), and turned out almost 300 times in Blue winning 10 trophies. A career-threatening injury towards the end of his time at Chelsea hampered him, however, and that was why, during his subsequent time on the books at Anfield, Cole struggled to recapture his best form.
Like fellow West Ham old boy Cole, Johnson went on to play for the Blues and Liverpool, where he is currently sidelined with a groin strain. During Mourinho’s first stint, he failed to displace Paulo Ferreira from the right back berth and moved on to Portsmouth. Johnson’s contract at Anfield is also up at the end of this season, so where will his future lie?
Our ‘played for both’ list so far is lacking some engine room aggression. Ex-Portugal midfielder Meireles, now at Fenerbahce, has this in bucket loads. He switched directly between Liverpool and Chelsea in the summer of 2011 for a fee of £12m, and helped the Blues to an FA Cup and Champions League double.
Crystal Palace academy product Moses joined Chelsea via Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2012, but has been loaned out for each of the last two seasons as there are so many wide players on the books. Last term, he spent the campaign with Liverpool, but managed a sole Premier League goal.
If only England striker Sturridge was fit, then Liverpool would be shorter than 9/2 to win the second leg in 90 minutes. His absence through injury has really hurt Rodgers’ Reds this term. Sturridge switched from Chelsea to Anfield for a reported £12m in January 2013 after never really being first-choice in west London.
From being a player that rocked the Kop to a £50m flop; Torres turned out for both Liverpool and the Blues, but has now left England for good. Back at boyhood club Atletico Madrid, on loan from AC Milan, this Spanish superstar fired in 81 goals in less than 150 outings in Red, but saved his best for European club competitions at Chelsea.
Injuries restricted Dutch midfielder Zenden during his spells at the Bridge and Anfield, with time at Middlesbrough sandwiched in between. He was popular with both sets of supporters, though, perhaps because his name slotted easily into a chant to the tune of 2 Unlimited’s 90s techno classic “No Limit”.