Liverpool & Southampton: Double Agents XI

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With Liverpool travelling down south to face Southampton this weekend there is a strong link between the two sides due to their recent transfer history. Southampton, more jokingly now known as Liverpool’s B team; have made a habit of selling their best players to the Reds for the past four years. It all started with the summer that Luis Suarez left Anfield, in an attempt to improve the squad depth Brendan Rodgers turned to the south coast club and in one summer window acquired Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert for a combined fee of £59.5 million. The season after, Liverpool needed a replacement for the outgoing Glen Johnson and quickly moved to bring in Nathaniel Clyne.

Sadio Mane and Virgil Van Dijk followed these signings in the coming seasons and the latter makes it so that there have in total been 33 players who have worn the Liverpool and Southampton shirts at some point in their career. With so many options on display its only right that we name a whole Starting XI as opposed to the normal top five players; so here it is, the bonafide starting XI of players to play for both Southampton and Liverpool:

Goalkeeper: Bruce Grobbelaar

Signed from Vancouver Whitecaps for a fee of £250,000, Grobbelaar won six league titles and a European Cup in a thirteen-year stint at Liverpool. The keeper made his debut in a 1-0 defeat to Wolves at the Molineux but was able to cap off his first season at Liverpool with a League Cup and Title double. During his time at Liverpool Grobbelaar made a total of 628 appearances before moving permanently from Liverpool to Southampton. He would spend two years at the club and would end up playing for a total of ten clubs in just seven years between 1994 and 2001.

Right-back: Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne is not often referred to as a magician in the footballing sense, but his disappearing act this season has been somewhat short of incredible. Before Houdini started his act, Clyne was Liverpool’s first choice right back under both Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp but was often overlooked in favour of Kyle Walker for England. For Southampton, Clyne moved there from Crystal Palace in 2012 and spent three years at the club before moving to Anfield for a fee of £12.5 million.

Centre-backs: Dejan Lovren and Virgil Van Dijk

You know the honeymoon period is over when your significant other starts to say no to things and this is now the case for Liverpool and Southampton; Virgil Van Dijk caused the two to have a domestic argument and Liverpool ended up in the doghouse?for three whole months. As all great couples do the two parties compromised and Liverpool finally had their man all they needed was a little bit of patience and a ton of money. Maybe in another time Lovren and Van Dijk could have lined up together for Southampton, as it goes they would eventually become team mates this January and were the starting centre back pairing for Liverpool’s last game against Tottenham. Both players’ actions were very similar in order to get their move to Liverpool; both went on strike and because of that both are now passionately disliked anywhere south of Reading. Whilst they did concede twice Van Dijk and Lovren put in a reasonably good showing last weekend and could end up being Liverpool’s starting centre backs for the foreseeable future.

Left-back: Gregory Vignal

Not the most inspiring of left backs but if Ryan Bertrand wants to join this exclusive XI then he’s more than welcome to join Liverpool in the summer. Vignal managed to get a run in this side at the start of the 2001/02 season due to injuries but a fractured foot in October meant he would miss the rest of the campaign. Upon returning, Vignal never broke back into the team and was loaned at to numerous clubs before his contract expired in 2005. From there he moved to Portsmouth and then Lens a season later, it would be the French club that would loan him to Southampton in 2007/08 where he made 20 appearances, scoring three times.

Right-midfield: Sadio Mane

Bought in the era where Southampton weren’t allowed nice things, Mane was the first player that Jurgen Klopp had brought from the club shop and what a signing the Senegalese winger turned out to be. Mane was electric in his first season and was an integral part of the side that finished in the top four for the second time in nine years. The arrival of Salah this summer has left Mane in the Egyptians shadow, but individual moments of brilliance have shown that Mane is still a massive threat whenever he plays.

Central-Midfielders: Jimmy Case and Jamie Redknapp

Jimmy Case was a tough tackling midfielder who could hit a ball hard?like VERY hard; what more could you want in the middle of the park? A local lad, Case had a six-year career at Liverpool and made 269 appearances scoring 46 goals in the process. In his debut season the midfielder would win the league and go on to winning another three league titles and three European Cups between 1975 and 1981. From there he would go on a tour of the south coast of England, playing for Brighton & Hove Albion (1981 1985), Southampton (1985 1991) and Bournemouth (1991 1992).

That one player who gets all the praise because his dads the manager, Jamie Redknapp. Luckily Liverpool managed to prise away Jamie from the smothering hands of his dad at Bournemouth and Redknapp would have a long career at Anfield. Over a ten-year period, the midfielder made 308 appearances and scored 41 goals, his only Liverpool honour came in a League Cup win in 1995. Still technically a Liverpool player when they secured the treble; Redknapp was out the whole season due to injury but lifted the FA Cup on behalf of the team as he was the club captain at the time.

Redknapp would move to Tottenham in October 2001 and later on would finish his career at Southampton in 2005, only playing 16 times in his final season.

Left-Midfield: Adam Lallana

The golden boy of the club as Southampton came back from the perils of nearly going into non-league football to securing a spot in the Premier League once again. Lallana was the captain of Southampton and would spend two seasons in the Premier League with them. In 2014 he was shortlisted for PFA Player of the Year, was named in the PFA Team of the Year and was given Southampton’s fan and players player of the year. Lallana called an end to his 14-year career at the club to move to Liverpool in 2014, Brendan Rodgers’ team had just finished second and with other players like Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert jumping ship the Saint’s Premier League survival wasn’t a sure thing. Since he’s been at Liverpool Lallana has had a stop start career, it took a while for him to get going under Brendan Rodgers and we didn’t see the best of him until Jurgen Klopp arrived. For the first half of the 2016/17 season Lallana was in the form of his life but his and the teams form dipped for the remainder of the campaign. So far this season Adam Lallana has rarely featured due to injury problems.

Strikers: Kevin Keegan and Peter Crouch

The little and large type of combination which would get your dad wishing these two had played in the same era. Keegan spent six years at Liverpool between 1971 and 1977, making 323 appearances and scoring exactly 100 goals for the club. During his time at the club Keegan won three league titles, one European Cup and two UEFA Cups before moving to Hamburg in 1977. From there Keegan would step up his game another level and was successively named the best player in Europe two years in a row, one of only six british footballers to have won the Ballon D’Or. Keegan would move back to England from Germany in 1980 and it was Southampton who bought him. He would spend two years at the club before moving back up north to play for Newcastle United.

Peter Crouch set the trend of moving from Southampton to Liverpool before it became cool. Southampton were his eight club in just five years but he only spent one season there before Rafa Benitez brought him to Liverpool for a fee of £7 million. Crouch was great in the air (obviously) but also had quick feet for someone so tall. It took the big man five months to score his first Liverpool goal but once he got one then his form picked up; Crouch ended his Liverpool career with 134 appearances and scored 42 goals for the club.

Manager: Mauricio Pellegrino

This is a bit of a stretch I know but every team needs a manager, Pellegrino was brought in towards the back end of his career in 2005 and whilst he featured a handful of times for Liverpool he was mainly there to be taught the ways of management by Rafa Benitez. Clearly these lessons worked and in 2017 Pellegrino got the Southampton job after the sacking of Claude Puel, things haven’t quite gone to plan for the Argentine this season and his team are currently sitting in 15th place two points off the relegation zone.

Honourable mentions/Substitutes:

  • Paul Jones (Goalkeeper)
  • Neil Ruddock (Defender)
  • Mark Wright (Defender)
  • Sammy Lee (Midfielder)
  • Danny Guthrie (Midfielder)
  • Rickie Lambert (Striker)
  • Steven Caulker (Defender/Striker)


Article by Louis Connor

Twitter: @Loui_Connor

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