19 Th2 2022 | 05:07
Coming to Anfield, Benitez quickly had 5 new contracts. Xabi Alonso, then a highly regarded young midfielder at Real Sociedad, is most remembered among the rookies.
The former Spain international has enjoyed an illustrious career, but how did Liverpool’s four other summer 2004 signings perform?
Cisse, 22, has just had the season of his career with Auxerre. He scored 26 goals in the 2003-04 Ligue 1 campaign and deserves much to be expected. But Cisse’s time at Merseyside was marred by injury. In his first season with The Kop, he only scored 4 goals in 16 Premier League appearances.
After that, Cisse had to drift in quite a few places, like Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers in England, or Marseille, Lazio and Panathinaikos.
Former Real Madrid midfielder Antonio Nunez spent just one season at Liverpool. A knee injury has hampered his development at Anfield.
“I remember the first months at the club being really difficult, ” Nunez recalls in an interview with the Liverpool Echo. “When you go to a new club, you want to impress, you want to do as much as you can, but it’s a pretty bad injury.”
Nunez made his final appearance with The Kop from the bench in a breathtaking 2-1 win over Arsenal, thanks to a Neil Mellor strike in stoppage time.
Garcia signed for Liverpool on the same day as Alonso, after being deemed redundant at the boyhood club Barcelona. He scored 13 goals in all competitions during his debut season at Liverpool, notably with the ‘ghost goal’ against Chelsea which helped Rafa Benitez’s side reach the 2005 Champions League final. for the next two seasons, before signing for Atletico Madrid for a second time in 2007.
Retiring in 2016 after playing for Australia’s Central Coast Mariners, he became a football pundit and a Liverpool ambassador.
Benitez’s first official signing, Spain defender Josemi established himself as a reliable right-back during three seasons with Malaga. But he received a red card in the 4-2 win over Fulham early in his Liverpool career, and struggled to regain his place following the return of Steve Finnan.
Josemi returned to Spain, signed Manuel Pellegrini’s Villarreal between the 2005-06 season, and remained in La Liga in 2010 before starting his career in Greece (Iraklis, Levadiakos, Skoda Xanthi) ) and India (Atletico Kolkata).
Josemi’s time at Merseyside is easy to forget, but he was still part of Liverpool’s miraculous Champions League triumph in Istanbul in 2004-05.