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The 5 players Liverpool have signed from the Primeira Liga


Liverpool are reportedly about to sign Benfica striker Darwin Nunez – but they’ve not had much success with players from the Primeira Liga.

Nunez could cost the Reds up to £85million and will become just the sixth player to move directly from the Portuguese top flight to Liverpool.

We’ve taken a look at the previous five and how they fared at Anfield.

Luis Diaz

Despite only being at Liverpool for a few months, Diaz has already achieved more than the other players on this list.

The Colombia international spent two-and-a-half years at Porto before completing a £37million move to Liverpool in January 2022.

He hit the ground running and established himself in the starting XI by registering 11 direct goal contributions in the second half of the 2021-22 season.

The 25-year-old also helped Jurgen Klopp’s side win two trophies after producing Man of the Match performances in the League Cup and FA Cup finals.

“He’s a fantastic boy,” Klopp said after the 2022 FA Cup final win. “It’s so funny, we hugged each other after the game just shouting ‘vamos’ and whatever, the few words I know in similar languages. It’s so funny.

“But he gets our football, 100 per cent. We thought we saw that at Porto, but that it really is like this, I feel lucky as well to be honest.

“He fits like a glove to our football, and that’s really, really special.”

Raul Meireles 

After Javier Mascherano left Liverpool for Barcelona in 2010, Roy Hodgson reacted by signing Meireles from Porto in a £10.7million deal.

The midfielder, who had impressed at the World Cup, initially struggled to adapt to English football but turned things around following Kenny Dalglish’s appointment in January 2011.

He registered five assists and five goals in 33 Premier League appearances for the club, including brilliant strikes against Everton and Wolves.

Despite Liverpool’s struggles in 2010-11, the Portugal international surprisingly beat off competition from Samir Nasri and Dimitar Berbatov to win the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year award.

But the Reds reportedly failed to honour a pre-existing agreement to offer Meireles an improved contract, and he then completed a £12million move to Chelsea on transfer deadline day in 2011.

“All I have to say is that I had one promise at Liverpool which wasn’t fulfilled,” Meireles said after arriving at Chelsea. “It’s not the only thing to blame. But that’s why the Liverpool fans are unsure why I left.”

READ: Raul Meireles and the strangest Player of the Year award in Prem history

Joao Carlos Teixeira

An £830,000 signing from Sporting Lisbon’s academy, Teixeira arrived at Liverpool in January 2012 and was being dubbed the ‘next Deco’.

The Portuguese midfielder showed plenty of early promise and was named Liverpool Academy Player of the Year in the 2014-15 season. 

But he only made eight appearances in the Liverpool first team, scoring his one goal for the club in an FA Cup replay against Exeter City.

Teixeira decided to return to his homeland with Porto in the summer of 2016 and Liverpool received £250,000 compensation from the Primeira Liga side. 

“I was 18, it’s hard to say no to Liverpool, it was a unique opportunity,” Teixeira told A Bola in December 2020. “I went and I don’t regret it.

“I had wonderful experiences, I played with great players, things were happening. I don’t regret going. I still played eight games, seven of them under Klopp.”

Tiago Ilori

Ilori, who came through Sporting Lisbon’s academy, was linked with Monaco, Tottenham, Napoli and Valencia before completing a £7million move to Liverpool in 2013.

But the English-born Portuguese defender never appeared in the Premier League and all three of his Liverpool appearances came in the FA Cup.

With his opportunities limited, he joined Championship side Reading for £3.75million in January 2017.

“It was definitely tough,” Ilori told the Reading website in 2018 when reflecting on his Liverpool career. “I was in the squad at the beginning and I felt that the coach [Brendan Rodgers] really liked me. It just didn’t happen, it didn’t work – my fault, obviously, because I’m the one who had to prove that I needed to play.

“In my head, I was looking too short-term – I didn’t realise the work I’d have to put in. So when someone would tell me that within the next two years I would be starting for Liverpool, I was thinking, why can’t I be in there in the next two months?

“I should have gone there and had a plan. Obviously, if I got the chance to play straight away I would, but over the next couple of years I would develop to a point physically and mentally, then be integrated within the club to be able to play and compete in every game.

“It was probably just an age thing, I’m looking back trying to find a reason but I don’t know why!”

Lazar Markovic

After Liverpool received £75million from Barcelona for Luis Suarez in the summer of 2014, Brendan Rodgers spent £20millon of that on Markovic.

The Serbia international had just come off the back of an impressive season with Benfica was regarded as one of Europe’s brightest young talents. 

But he failed to live up to expectations, scoring just three goals in 34 appearances for the Reds in 2014-15. 

The winger then had underwhelming loan spells at Fenerbahce, Sporting Lisbon, Hull City and Anderlecht before joining Fulham on a permanent deal in January 2019. 


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