A FEW years ago it was hard not to flick a wry smile at the litany of former Anfield failures playing in the Champions League while Liverpool trudged through the Europa League. Christian Poulsen, Ryan Babel, Milan Jovanovic; they were all there, mocking the club’s stagnation from afar, on the stage they barely deserved to grace.
Thankfully that is now a thing of the past, but this summer’s jaunt in Brazil will see a number of former Liverpool players, many of them no more than an after-thought these days, on the greatest stage of them all.
World Cups don’t hold the mystique they used to – Nicklas Bendtner scored at the last one after all – as well as Anfield rejects Mark Gonzalez and Milan Jovanovic.
Astonishingly, at the last World Cup in South Africa Liverpool were the most represented English club alongside then league champions Chelsea with 12, despite the horrors of the 2009-10 season. It began with Rafa Benitez deposed the week before, and ended with Roy Hodgson at the helm. Four years later, you can’t help but look back with pangs of relief than despair.