Since the inception of Liverpool F.C., it is thought that 26 players have departed for club-record sums of money. Due to the paucity of reliable financial records from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, it is not certain who first left the club for a transfer fee and hence who was the first record holder, however the first sale for which reliable data exists is that of George Allan. He left the club for £50 in 1897, though the £1,500 sale of goalkeeper Sam Hardy (right, top) in 1912 is perhaps the first that can definitively be said to have been a club record sale at the time. Fast-forward to the present day, and the club record sale is now that of Philippe Coutinho (right, bottom), who commanded a fee almost three million-times that of Allan in 2018. The list below depicts how Liverpool's record transfer fee received has progressed over time.
Note: The following list, particularly prior to 1950, may contain inaccuracies due to the lack of financial information available before this time.
George Allan- £50Edit
21-year-old Scottish forward Allan left Liverpool to join Celtic on 1 May 1897 for £50 after a two-year spell with the Reds, during which time he netted an outstanding 41 goals in 49 games. Allan would return to Liverpool a year later, but sadly passed away in 1899 after contracting tuberculosis at just 24 years old. It has been said that Allan had the potential to have been one of the all-time great strikers.
Tom Robertson and John Hunter- both £150Edit
Scotsmen Robertson and Hunter were both transferred to Hearts in May 1902 for £150 each. Outside left Robertson had played for Liverpool for four years, netting 34 goals in 141 appearances. He was 27 at the time of his departure. Hunter on the other hand was a centre forward who had netted just 12 goals in 45 appearances over three years with the Reds. He was 24 when he left the club.
Alex Raisbeck- £500Edit
30-year-old Alex Raisbeck- another Scot- was transferred to Partick Thistle on 9 September 1909 for £500. A centre-half, Raisbeck had been at Liverpool for 11 years, captaining the club to their first two League titles in 1900-01 and 1905-06. He made 341 appearances in a Red shirt, netting 19 times. In 2002, he was inducted into the Liverpool F.C. Hall of Fame.
John McDonald- £650Edit
Scottish left winger John McDonald was sold to Newcastle in May 1912 for £650. He had been with Liverpool for three years and left at the age of 26, after netting four goals in 81 games. He was Liverpool's record sale only very briefly.
Legendary English goalkeeper Sam Hardy left Liverpool for Aston Villa in May 1912. The deal smashed the previous record sale and the £1,000 mark in the process. Hardy had previously been a record signing of Liverpool when he joined for £500 in 1905. After playing 240 games for the Reds, he left for the midlands aged 29.
Ken Campbell- £1,750Edit
The record sale was again broken by a goalkeeper- 27-year-old Scot Ken Campbell, who transferred to Partick Thistle in April 1920 for £1,750. Between Sam Hardy and Elisha Scott, Campbell was only briefly Liverpool's number one goalkeeper during his eight year spell on Merseyside, but he still amassed 142 appearances for the club.
Tom Miller- £2,000Edit
30-year-old Tom Miller- another Scot- was Liverpool's next record sale. He transferred to Manchester United on 23 September 1920 for £2,000 after eight years with the Reds. An inside forward, Miller netted 56 goals in 146 games for Liverpool.
Dick Forshaw- £3,750Edit
Seven years passed until the club broke it's sale record again. This came with the £3,750 transfer of 32-year-old English inside-left forward Forshaw to local rivals Everton on 3 March 1927. Forshaw scored 124 goals in 288 appearances during his eight year Liverpool career.
David Davidson- £4,000Edit
Scottish centre back David Davidson broke Liverpool's record sale when he left to join Newcastle in January 1930 for £4,000. Davidson had only spent two years on Merseyside, during which time he played 62 games and netted twice. He was 25 at the time of his departure.
Robert Priday- £10,000Edit
The club's record sale was not broken again for 19 years, though the six years of World War II may account partly for this. Regardless, this remains easily the longest period of time the club has gone without breaking it's record sale. It was eventually broken with the £10,000 transfer of 24-year-old South African winger Robert Priday to Blackburn in March 1949. Priday had been with Liverpool for three years and netted seven goals in 40 appearances.
James Harrower- £15,000Edit
Another lengthy period of time was to pass until Liverpool broke their record sale again. 12 years after the sale of Priday, 26-year-old Scot James Harrower left the club to join Newcastle in March 1961 for £15,000. An attacking midfielder, Harrower netted 22 goals in 105 appearances during a three year spell on Merseyside.
Kevin Lewis- £18,000Edit
Two years later and the club's record sale was broken with the £18,000 transfer of 22-year-old Englishman Kevin Lewis to Huddersfield in August 1963. A winger, Lewis netted an impressive 44 goals in 82 games during a three year spell at Anfield. Lewis had also been Liverpool's record signing when he joined the club in 1960.
Jimmy Melia- £55,000Edit
Liverpudlian Jimmy Melia destroyed the transfer record with a hefty £55,000 transfer to Wolves in March 1964, less than a year after Kevin Lewis had set the club's record sale at the much smaller £18,000. Melia was 27-years-old at the time of his departure and had spent nine years playing for Liverpool. A midfielder, Melia had helped Bill Shankly begin his Anfield revolution, having netted 79 goals in 286 appearances.
Tony Hateley- £80,000Edit
Tony Hateley had arrived at Liverpool in 1967 as a 19-year-old with a burgeoning reputation as one of England's finest young forwards- Liverpool spending a club record fee to bring him to Anfield. However after just a year at the club, and despite a good goalscoring record of 28 in 56, Liverpool had decided he was not going to live up to the hype and sold him on to Coventry on 19 September 1968 for £80,000. Although this represented a £16,000 loss on the player, it was still a club record sale at the time.
Larry Lloyd- £240,000Edit
Six years later, Liverpool smashed their record sale with the transfer of 25-year-old Larry Lloyd- again to Coventry- on 15 August 1974 for £240,000- treble the club's previous sale record. Lloyd had been with Liverpool for five years and had clocked up 215 appearances, netting five goals.
Kevin Keegan- £500,000Edit
Liverpool's transfer sale record was next broken on 3 July 1977 with the departure of iconic English forward Kevin Keegan to Hamburg of Germany. Keegan had been at Liverpool for six years and netted 100 goals in 323 appearances. Keegan was 26 when the £500,000 deal was completed, and it represented the first club record sale involving a non-British club.
Graeme Souness- £650,000Edit
After six years at Liverpool, Scottish midfielder and club captain Graeme Souness transferred to Italian club Sampdoria on 12 June 1984 at the age of 31. The £650,000 deal broke the club's previous record sale, set seven years prior with the sale of Kevin Keegan to Hamburg. Souness left Liverpool having scored 55 goals in 359 games for the club.
The club's record sale was next broken on 1 July 1987 with the departure of Welsh striker Ian Rush for an, at the time, astronomical fee of £3,200,000 to Italian giants Juventus. The deal was an interesting one, not least for the fee- a record for a British footballer at the time- but also with it coming off the back of the Heysel Stadium disaster. Rush had scored 207 goals in 331 games across seven seasons for Liverpool before leaving for Juventus at the age of 25. He only spent one season in Turin though before returning to Liverpool for £500,000 less than what he was sold for. His resigning was a club record signing at the time.
Stan Collymore- £7,000,000Edit
Such was the size of Rush's transfer that Liverpool went through the bulk of the 1990s having failed to again break the club's record sale- which was an impressive feat considering the rapid rise in the value of football transfers seen in the early-mid '90s with the advent of the Premier League. 10 years after the sale of Rush, Liverpool did break their record sale with the £7,000,000 transfer of 26-year-old English forward Stan Collymore to Aston Villa on 13 May 1997. Collymore had been a club and British record signing when he joined Liverpool in 1995, however a poor attitude and inconsistent form cut short his Anfield career. His two year spell on Merseyside saw him net 35 goals in 81 appearances, having forged a famous partnership with Robbie Fowler.
Robbie Fowler- £12,750,000Edit
Liverpool next broke their record sale with the shock transfer of iconic local forward Robbie Fowler four years later to Leeds United on 29 November 2001. Fowler was 26 at the time of his departure, and had netted 171 goals in 330 appearances for the club over the course of nine seasons. He returned to the club for a two year spell five seasons later on a free transfer.
Robbie Keane- £16,000,000Edit
The club's next record transfer sale was that of Irish forward Robbie Keane. Keane had joined Liverpool in the summer of 2008 from Tottenham for a hefty fee of £20,000,000, however a dire start to his Liverpool career saw him shipped back to his old club in the next transfer window- on 2 February 2009. 27 years old at the time of his departure, Keane had only netted seven goals in 28 games for the club. The sale was reportedly worth an immediate payment of £12,000,000, with add-ons taking the deal to a potential £16,000,000.
Xabi Alonso- £30,000,000Edit
Liverpool's next record sale was the £30,000,000 transfer of 27-year-old Spaniard Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid on 5 August 2009. Alonso spent five years on Merseyside, during which time he had established himself as one of the finest central midfielders in the game. However a dispute with manager Rafael Benitez in the summer of 2008, during which time Benitez attempted to replace Alonso with Aston Villa's Gareth Barry in an attempt to improve the English quota at the club left Alonso's position at the club untenable. Despite the significant funds generated from his sale, many Liverpool fans believe his departure was a significant event in Liverpool's rapid demise in the next few seasons. He is remembered fondly by the Liverpool faithful, with many hoping he will return to the club in the future. Alonso netted 19 goals in 210 games during his time at Anfield.
Fernando Torres- £50,000,000Edit
The transfer of Spanish striker Fernando Torres eclipsed that of Alonso to become the club's record sale. He departed the club at the age of 26 to join wealthy London-based Chelsea in a £50,000,000 deal on 31 January 2011. His transfer was a British transfer record and was the fifth largest transfer in football history. Torres had spent four seasons at Anfield after joining as the club record signing in 2008, and netted 81 goals in 142 games. He reached 50 League goals for the club faster than anyone else in Liverpool history. He was immensley popular during his time on Merseyside, but became the recipient of much vitriol from the Liverpool faithful having been perceived to have forced his way out of the club to join a rival for financial reasons.
Luis Suarez- £75,000,000Edit
Suarez, signed on the same day that Fernando Torres left the club, briefy holding the title of Liverpool's club record signing, left Liverpool at the age of 27 to join Barcelona on 16 July 2014 for £75,000,000. In his three-and-a-half years at the club, Suarez amassed 82 goals in 133 games and established himself as one of the finest players on the planet, and one of the finest in Liverpool's history. His time at the club however also came with considerable controversy, as the striker received significant bans for two separate biting incidents, and one incident of alleged racial abuse. Despite these indiscretions, Suarez left the club on considerably more amicable terms than Torres was able to.
Philippe Coutinho- £142,000,000Edit
Coutinho signed for a meagre fee of £8,500,000 in 2013, and stayed with the club for almost five years, before Barcelona once again paid an enormous £142,000,000, making the Brazilian the second most expensive footballer of all time. During his time at the club, Coutinho made 201 appearances and scored 54 goals, becoming a key figure in the Liverpool midfield.