This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Liverpool get their 2020/21 season underway next Saturday when they take on Arsenal in the Community Shield, and one man who represented both clubs often acquitted himself with distinction in the Merseyside red.
In July 2007, the Reds announced the £5m signing of Yossi Benayoun from West Ham, with then-Anfield manager Rafael Benitez saying that he had been tracking the Israeli winger ever since his time in Spain with Racing Santander before he went to the Hammers (as per BBC).
Having reached the previous season’s Champions League final, Liverpool’s European campaign was faltering after two defeats in their first three group games in autumn 2007. Benayoun helped to get them back on track with a hat-trick in an 8-0 Anfield thrashing of Besiktas as the Reds ultimately went on to make the semi-finals.
He netted another treble against Havant & Waterloovile in the FA Cup, ending his first season at Anfield with a respectable 11 goals. He had a slow start to the following campaign, having to wait until December for his first goal, but ended the 2008/09 season with nine to his name.
Two of those in particular stood out. One was a late winner away to Real Madrid in a famous Champions League triumph in February 2009; the other was his stoppage time winner in a tense game at Fulham as the Reds vied for the Premier League title with Manchester United, a race which they narrowly lost. Benayoun also netted the last-gasp equaliser in the pulsating 4-4 draw against Arsenal in that title run-in.
Another hat-trick followed in the early weeks of the 2009/10 campaign against newly-promoted Burnley, making him the first player to hit trebles in a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup game, with a further six goals coming throughout that season.
He again came to the fore in a crunch European clash for Liverpool, scoring in extra time in their 2010 Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid. Unfortunately, Diego Forlan’s subsequent strike took the Spaniards through to the decider, in which they beat Fulham.
Was Yossi Benayoun underappreciated at Liverpool?
The Israeli winger might not have been the pin-up player in a Reds team that also included the likes of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Sami Hyypia, but several of his 29 goals for the club came on big occasions as he more than justified his £5m fee.
Benayoun also went on to play for Arsenal and made a brief loan return to West Ham. He retired from playing in April 2019, with Beitar Jerusalem in his homeland the last of 11 clubs for whom he featured in his career.
Liverpool fans, what was your favourite memory of Benayoun at Anfield? Have your say by commenting below!
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