Classic transfer: Liverpool sign veteran in surprise move

first_imgWhen Gary McAllister arrived at Anfield in the summer of 2000, few could have foreseen the impact the veteran Scot would have on Liverpool football club and it’s emerging generation of talent.Like some Kopites expressing bemusement at the potential arrival of veteran striker Samuel Eto’o, manager Gerard Houllier left many scratching their heads following the arrival of McAllister 14 years ago.However, if Eto’o, who will be 34 soon, were to have a similar influence on Merseyside should he join, then the decision to bring him in could prove to be a masterstroke.McAllister was once regarded as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League, but by the time he pitched up at Liverpool he was 35 and his star was on the wane.Out of contract, having enjoyed four years with Coventry, he was brought in to help nurture a teenage Steven Gerrard, while helping lessen the burden on midfield general Dietmar Hamann.His importance to the side, though, was quickly noticed as he put in match-winning performances and scored crucial goals along the way.Perhaps his biggest impact came towards the end of his debut season with the club, as McAllister’s glorious injury-time free-kick sealed a 3-2 win against Everton at Goodison Park and in the same week he bagged the only goal of the UEFA Cup semi-final win against Barcelona.Liverpool beat Alaves 5-4 in the final, which provided McAllister with arguably his finest moment of his short spell on Merseyside. He was directly involved in four of the goals, which included scoring from the penalty spot as the club went on to finish the season with a unique treble of the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup.Despite his advancing years, he remained an integral part of Liverpool’s midfield the following season, before returning to Coventry as player-manager in 2002.It’s incredibly rare to see a player have such a large impact in such a short period of time, but McAllister’s was so great that Houllier described him as his “most inspirational signing” of his managerial reign. Fans also took him to their hearts and voted him at number 32 in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop survey. Liverpool signed Gary McAllister in the summer of 2000 1last_img