Alisson Becker: Internacional
Back in 2013, Alisson made his professional debut for Internacional having joined their youth set up in 2002. He spent the season as backup to his brother Muriel Becker (currently at Fluminense), managing six league appearances.
A move to Roma came three years later, before a breakout campaign in 2017/18 meant the Reds came calling.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: Liverpool Academy
In 2013, Trent Alexander-Arnold was just 14 years old. He was one of many young players hopeful of playing on the hallowed Anfield turf.
It would take another two years for him to even be called up to train with the first team.
Joe Gomez: Charlton Athletic
Like Alexander-Arnold above, Gomez had not made a single senior appearance and was plying his trade at Charlton’s academy. The following season would be his breakout season, then Brendan Rodgers – in 2015 – secured his signature for bargain £3.5m.
Virgil Van Dijk: Celtic
Back in June 2013, Van Dijk had just traded life in the Eredivisie with Groningen for a move to Britain. He joined Neil Lennon’s Celtic for £2.6m, where he walked into the starting eleven. He played in 36/38 league matches as Celtic lost just once – to Aberdeen – a match in which Van Dijk received a straight red after just thirteen minutes.
Van Dijk was one of three Celtic players named in the PFA Scotland Team of the Year. He was also nominated for the PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year award but lost out to Kris Commons.
He spent just one more season in Scotland before moving to Southampton. Two-and-a-half seasons followed on the south coast before Liverpool made him the world’s most expensive defender (in 2018).
Andrew Robertson: Dundee United
From being turned down by Celtic as a teenager to a Premier League winner, the rise of Andrew Robertson is meteoric.
In 2013, Robbo’s journey in the professional game was only just beginning. He made the jump from Scotland’s fourth division to the Scottish Premiership, signing for Dundee United from Queen’s Park. He instantly became a key member of the first team, making his debut on the opening day of the season.
Robertson also received international attention in 13/14. He made his debut for Scotland U-21 against Slovakia, coming off the bench late in a 2-1 win. He also went on to make his debut for the senior Scotland side, again coming off the bench in a win.
Across his debut season, Robertson won:
- SPFL Young Player of the Month for September 2013
- SPFL Player of the Month for November 2013
- PFA Scotland Team of the Year; and
- PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year.
A move to Hull followed in 2014 but his fortunes were mixed; one promotion season sandwiched between two relegation seasons. Fortunately for Robertson, Klopp saw something in the flying Scotsman and signed him for a bargain £8m.
Fabinho: Monaco (loan)
Having joined Portuguese side Rio Ave in 2012, Fabinho was loaned out to Real Madrid Castilla for the 2012/13 season. During his time in Spain he also made one appearance for the senior Real Madrid team. Somehow, Rio Ave failed to fully appreciate Fabinho’s qualities and so he was again loaned out, this time to AS Monaco.
Fabinho clearly impressed at the Stade Louis II, as he was brought back on loan the following season before making the move permanent in 2015.
Jordan Henderson: Liverpool
It’s been some journey. In 2012, Brendan Rodgers was attempting to force him out to Fulham as a makeweight for Clint Dempsey. He, of course, failed.
Then Hendo emerged as one of Liverpool’s most important players. In 13/14, he was an ever-present in a midfield which included the likes of Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho.
That season would go down as one of the most exciting in recent memory as the Reds pushed for an unexpected title only to miss out in the closing weeks.
Henderson ended up taking over as captain following Gerrard’s departure in 2015. The rest, as they say, is history.
Georginio Wijnaldum: PSV Eindhoven
In 12/13, back when Gini used to play in a more advanced role, he boasted a record of nineteen goals and assists, cementing himself as one of PSV’s most important players.
Following Mark Van Bommel’s retirement and the sale of Kevin Strootman in the summer of 2013, Wijnaldum took over the captain’s armband. Unfortunately, the Dutchman only featured in eleven league games due to a back injury.
The following season proved more fruitful, as he captained PSV to their first Eredivisie title since 2008 and was subsequently named Dutch Footballer of the Year. His performances that year earned him a move to Newcastle. But his time in the northeast was short-lived, as the Reds snapped him up following the Magpies’ relegation in 15/16.
Mohamed Salah: Basel
Salah had just finished his first season in European football, scoring ten goals in all competitions, including two in the Europa League; the first against Spurs in the quarter-final and the second in the semi-final against Chelsea.
The following season was Salah’s breakthrough year. He scored his first league goal of the season on the opening day and then went on to score ten goals in twenty-nine appearances in all competitions. This includes goals home and away against Chelsea as Basel did the double over the Blues in the Champions League Group Stage.
If you can’t beat him sign him. Chelsea were impressed. Very impressed. So much so they decided to sign him in January. Unfortunately, Salah disappointed during his first stint in English football and found minutes hard to come by.
Loans and a permanent move to Italy followed for Salah before he lit up the Premier League on his return.
Sadio Mane: RB Salzburg
Now one of the most feared wingers in world football, Mane was going into his second season with RB Salzburg in 2013. Mane scored thirteen goals in thirty-three games as Salzburg secured a league and Cup double.
However, his time at the club ended sourly. He forced his way out of the door after not turning up to training and missing a game which Salzburg needed to win to secure Champions League qualification for the next season.
Like Van Dijk (and many others before him), Mane made his way to Anfield via a stint at Southampton.
Roberto Firmino: Hoffenheim
Seven years ago, Roberto Firmino was plying his trade at Hoffenheim alongside Jannik Vestergaard, now of Southampton. The Brazilian was the subject of a €12 million bid from Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow that summer. Instead, he chose to sign a new three-year deal with Hoffenheim.
2013/14 proved to be Firmino’s most fruitful in front of goal, as he finished with sixteen goals, making him the fourth-highest scorer in the Bundesliga. He was also the recipient of the Bundesliga Breakthrough Player of the Season award.
His stint in Germany lasted just one more year, as Michael Edwards forced Brendan Rodgers to make a move for the eccentric forward.
Adrian: Real Betis
Liverpool’s backup keeper had just completed his first senior season as first-choice keeper. He had spent the previous five seasons in Betis’ B team or out on loan. The Spaniard managed thirty-two league appearances, keeping eleven clean sheets, including one in a 1-0 win over Real Madrid.
His performances garnered interest from Sam Allardyce of West Ham, who subsequently brought the Spaniard to England. Adrian went on to play over 100 times for the Hammers.
Liverpool signed him on a free to replace outgoing Simon Mignolet last summer.
Joel Matip: Schalke
Matip signed for Schalke 04 when he was nine and was already an established member of their defence in 2013. At just 21 years old, the Cameroonian had made 150 appearances across all competitions for the Royal Blues.
Funnily enough, Matip managed three goals all season, all coming against the same team – Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Matip spent another three seasons in Gelsenkirchen before moving to Anfield on a free transfer.
Dejan Lovren: Southampton
Lovren had an inauspicious season in 12/13, as he picked up three red cards during a campaign for Lyon in France, only making eighteen league appearances.
Nevertheless, Southampton saw something in the Croatian, and in June 2013 he made the switch to England for an estimated £8.5 million. Lovren spent just one season on the south coast before Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool came calling.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Arsenal
Back in his teenage days, Oxlade-Chamberlain was stuck on the wings at Arsenal. He had featured in twenty-five league games for the Gunners, but managed just one goal, in a 7-3 win over Newcastle.
The following season saw Chamberlain improve in the goalscoring department, despite managing just fourteen appearances due to injury.
He stayed at the Emirates until 2018 – picking up three FA Cup trophies along the way – before making the move to Liverpool for £35 million.
Adam Lallana: Southampton
Lallana had just experienced his first season in the Premier League, as his Southampton side finished 14th in their first season back in the topflight. Lallana contributed three goals and six assists.
Then Lallana really started to shine, as the Saints finished 8th under Mauricio Pochettino. Lallana chipped in with nine goals and eight assists as he was named in the PFA Team of the Year, and crowned as both the Southampton Players’ Player and Fans’ Player of the year. He also made his England debut in November 2013.
James Milner: Manchester City
Liverpool’s Mr. Reliable. A stalwart of the English game. James Milner.
Back in 2013 James Milner was in the middle of his stint at the Etihad stadium. Surprisingly, however, City failed to pick up any major honours in the season prior (unless you count the Community Shield).
Milner did manage to pick up the first red card of his career that season, as he was dismissed in a game against West Brom.
The Yorkshireman spent another two seasons with Man City (picking up another league trophy) before joining the Reds on a free transfer in search of more game time.
Naby Keita: FC Istres
Like Salah above, Keita had just started his journey in European football. Having failed when given trials at both Lorient and Le Mans, Keita joined French club FC Istres in Ligue 2. In his first full season, Keita managed eleven goals in twenty-three games but could not stop FC Istres from being relegated.
Keita also made his senior debut for Guinea in 2013, in an African Cup of Nations Qualifier against Mali.
He joined RB Salzburg that summer, then spent two seasons at sister side Leipzig and then finally joined Liverpool in 2018.
Xherdan Shaqiri: Bayern Munich
At 21, Shaqiri had already announced himself on the European stage, earning a move to Bayern Munich twelve months earlier.
His first season with Bayern ended with a treble as the German giants won every trophy available to them. Shaqiri contributed 21 g/a across all competitions and went on to lift the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup.
The following summer, at just 22, Shaqiri became the most decorated Swiss footballer of all time.
Things went downhill for Shaqiri after leaving Germany however. He moved to Inter Milan for six months before making his way to England with Stoke City.
Following Stoke’s relegation in 2018, Shaqiri made the move to Anfield for just £13.5m.
Divock Origi: Lille
Last season’s Champions League hero made his professional debut early in 2013, coming off the bench to score an equaliser against Troyes. It ended up being Origi’s only goal of the season as he went on to make ten appearances.
The following season Origi featured more prominently and was called up to the Belgian national team for the World Cup. His rapid rise through the ranks sparked interest from Brendan Rodgers, who signed Origi for £10m.
Having been frozen out of the Liverpool team – and shipped out to Wolfsburg on loan in 17/18 – Origi came back stronger and will now go down as an LFC cult hero.
Takumi Minamino: Cerezo Osaka
Just like the first player on this list Alisson, Minamino was still playing in his native country – Japan. 2013 marked the year Minamino broke into Cerezo Osaka’s first team as he became the club’s youngest ever scorer in July 2013.
David Moyes’ Manchester United travelled to Japan for pre-season that summer, where they played Cerezo Osaka. Minamino scored a 20-yard effort in a 2-2 draw. One of United’s scorers that day, Shinji Kagawa, also came through the ranks at Cerezo Osaka, and Minamino used to look up to him as a youth player.
He ended the season with eight goals in thirty-eight appearances in all competitions and was named J. League Rookie of the Year.
Jurgen Klopp: Borussia Dortmund
While 12/13 was a season of jubilation for Xherdan Shaqiri, it was one of near-misses for Klopp. His Dortmund side were well off the pace in the Bundesliga, and they suffered defeat to Die Roten in the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal, as well as in the finals of both the DFL-Supercup and the Champions League.
Klopp would go onto win the DFL-Supercup in 13/14 and 14/15. He later announced he would leave Dortmund at the end of the 2014/15 season following a poor start.
Fortunately for Liverpool, he did.