by Aroosa Munir
With the recent biggest buy of the summer by Manchester City, bagging ex-Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling, the ‘Anfield curse’ is yet to begin.
Raheem Sterling may believe he has headed to the greener side, however just ask Michael Owen and Fernando Torres on their thoughts about life after Anfield. Statistics can reveal that those strikers who shine bright at Anfield have often failed to hit the same heights after exciting one of England’s most famous and successful clubs.
Michael Owen and Fernando Torres are the immediate famous players who come to mind when thinking about the Anfield curse. They both departed Liverpool at the peak of their careers – the Spaniard for Chelsea and Owen for Real Madrid. Torres was great in the air, electric pace, strong off both feet and incredibly difficult to knock off the ball. He combined with Steven Gerrard to form one of the most feared partnerships in World football. In his four and a half years at Anfield, Torres found the back of the net an impressive 81 times. Similarly, in Michael Owen’s first full season in the Premier League he finished as joint top scorer with 18 goals. He repeated this the following year and was Liverpool’s top goal scorer from 1997–2004 and gained his name as a proven goal scorer. They went to arguably the ‘most successful’ clubs at that time but neither forward was able to replicate their striking abilities at their new home.
However, this ‘curse’ goes back to the days of Rush and Fowler. Anfield legends who wore the number 7 and number 9 both reduced their goal output once they advanced their careers elsewhere.
So what is the real reason behind the Anfield curse? Why can’t players replicate their form elsewhere? Could it be the lack of support? The change in surroundings? Or is it merely down to the ‘curse’ from the Anfield faithful?
Indeed, there are forwards whose records have improved after leaving the club, including Titi Camara, Andriy Voronin, Andy Carroll and El-Hadji Diouf.
However, it remains to be seen whether Sterling will fall the same way as those who believed the grass would be greener in pastures new but it would certainly represent a shift in the narrative of Liverpool forwards in recent times.
Can Raheem Sterling avoid the struggles other star players have faced after leaving Anfield? With his most recent miss against West Brom, putting the ball past the gaping goal, it is yet to be seen if he can rekindle the same form which set Anfield’s roaring Kop alight with.