The Kop is likely to get its first glimpse of Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Liverpool’s other summer signings this evening when the Reds host Bournemouth, but how have some of the club’s other expensive recruits got on the first time they donned the red shirt in front of their new home fans?
Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool 0 West Brom 2, 11/02/2013
Given that he’s probably the best thing about Liverpool at the moment, Philippe Coutinho certainly didn’t start as he meant to go on.
The Brazilian came on for his debut 12 minutes from the end of a miserable Monday night match against West Brom at Anfield, just seconds after Ben Foster had saved a penalty from Steven Gerrard to keep the score goalless.
Coutinho then watched on helplessly as Gareth McAuley headed in a corner and Romelu Lukaku broke away late on to seal the away victory, leaving the new man wondering just what he’d wandered into.
Daniel Sturridge – Liverpool 5 Norwich 0, 19/01/2013
The fixture list dictated that Daniel Sturridge had to wait two weeks for his first outing in front of his new home fans, but he filled that time by scoring in an FA Cup win at Mansfield and a Premier League defeat at Manchester United.
The ex-Chelsea forward then became the first Reds player since Ray Kennedy 39 years previously to score on his first three appearances for the club when he tapped in the third goal of a 5-0 win over Norwich from a fine Stewart Downing cross.
The dance got its first Anfield airing seconds later.
Luis Suarez – Liverpool 2 Stoke 0, 02/02/2011
Signed alongside Andy Carroll on that infamous transfer deadline day, Luis Suarez was of course fit enough to go straight into manager Kenny Dalglish’s plans, and he inevitably had an instant impact.
The Reds were 1-0 up against Stoke City when the Uruguayan came on for Fabio Aurelio in the 63rd minute, and a quarter of an hour later he was racing onto a Kuyt through ball, rounding goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and stroking an effort goalwards which found the net via Andy Wilkinson and the post.
A romance was born.
Fernando Torres – Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1, 19/08/2007
It was the moment that Liverpool fans realised just what their club had bought, as Fernando Torres combined brilliantly with Steven Gerrard to open the scoring 15 minutes into his first ever Anfield appearance.
The Spaniard controlled Gerrard’s precise through ball, squared up a bamboozled Tal Ben Haim (remember when he played for Chelsea?) and stroked home a terrific finish at the Anfield Road end.
A controversial Frank Lampard penalty – which referee Rob Styles later apologised for giving – ensured the match ended 1-1, but everyone left talking about Torres, including, perhaps, Roman Abramovich.
Dirk Kuyt – Liverpool 2 West Ham 1, 26/08/2006
No-one really knew what to make of Dirk Kuyt’s Liverpool debut, as the Dutch blond bombshell adopted a shoot on sight policy during his second half cameo against West Ham.
Goals from Daniel Agger and Peter Crouch had seen the Reds come from a goal down to lead, and it was a lead that Kuyt seemed determined to increase as he repeatedly fired efforts at Roy Carroll’s goal from all angles.
Xabi Alonso & Luis Garcia – Liverpool 3 West Brom 0, 11/09/2004
The Rafael Benitez era was still in its infancy when West Bromwich Albion came to Anfield in September 2004, and a couple of the manager’s new additions proved that it was going to be an eventful one.
Goals from Gerrard (obviously) and Steve Finnan (honestly) put the Reds in control against Gary Megson’s outfit, before Luis Garcia marked his home debut with a goal after reacting quickly when his first effort had been saved by Russell Hoult.
Xabi Alonso then replaced Gerrard for a 25-minute cameo full of long range passing and gasps from the crowd, who would be watching this team lift the Champions League at the end of the season.
Emile Heskey – Liverpool 1 Sunderland 1, 11/03/2000
Talk about an instant impact.
Emile Heskey had signed for Liverpool from Leicester City for £11m just a day earlier, and two minutes into his Reds debut he charged into the Kop end penalty area only to be hauled to the ground by Sunderland defender Darren Williams.
Patrik Berger scored the resultant spot-kick, but a Kevin Phillips penalty in the second half earned a point for the visitors.
Patrik Berger – Liverpool 5 Chelsea 1, 21/09/1996
Speaking of Berger, the Czech’s Anfield bow was an extremely eventful one as the Reds overwhelmed a hapless Chelsea.
A star of Euro 96, Berger had already excited fans with two goals in a win at Leicester, and he followed that up with a brace as the Reds hammered Ruud Gullit’s Chelsea – for whom Andy Myers scored a quite brilliant own goal which is worth skipping straight to 11 mins 10 seconds into the video to find. Trust me.
Stan Collymore – Liverpool 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0, 19/08/1995
That’s how you respond to the doubters.
Plenty had their say on Stan Collymore’s then club record £8.5m move to Liverpool from Nottingham Forest, but this fine goal just past the hour mark on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday immediately served notice of his talents.
He’d go on to have a good first campaign at Anfield partnering Robbie Fowler in attack, but sadly this was an all too brief appearance of his undoubted abilities.