Up until 2022, Robbie Keane remained the most expensive Irish player of all-time. His move to Liverpool in 2008 promised much at the time, although it would prove to be an unfruitful one for both parties.
Keane’s brief stint at a Premier League title chasing Liverpool side under Rafa Benitez was ultimately a failure, as Liverpool cut their losses by selling him back to Spurs, just months after signing him.
In a candid chat on Sky Sports earlier this year, Keane and Carragher discussed the various reasons why Keane, who had been one of the most prolific strikers in the division, failed so spectacularly at Anfield, and what prompted the striker to return to Spurs.
While Keane is adamant that he has 'no regrets' over his time at Anfield, he was able to pinpoint the moment that sent him 'over the edge' in terms of wanting out of the club.
Spurs were monitoring the situation. Obviously Harry (Redknapp) took over at Tottenham. I had a good relationship with Harry and obviously Jamie (Redknapp) so there was definitely a conversation before that.
I wasn’t playing, I got left out of one of the squads, and that kind of pushed me over the edge, and I kind of knew then that this was definitely the way out now.
Now I didn’t mind once I was on the bench it’s no problem, but to be left out of the squad completely, that’s the one that really hurt me. And especially players that were ahead of me at that time. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but a few young strikers, and that’s when I thought it was time for me to go.
🗣 “The idea was for me and [Fernando] Torres to play together.”
Robbie Keane explains why it never worked out at Liverpool. pic.twitter.com/7wxS1PjtMb
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 25, 2022
Looking at Liverpool's squad from the squad from the 2008-09 season, the name David N'gog jumps off of the page as a young striker who was below Keane's level.
He also explained how he went to Liverpool with the expectations of playing in a certain position only to realise after arriving that Benitez had different plans.
"When I spoke to the club and Rafa, the idea was for me and Torres to play together. But then I soon realised a few games in that wasn't the case.
"The year before Stevie (Gerrard) was playing in that 10 and him and Torres had an unbelievable partnership. And that's the way he wanted to continue. He liked that extra body in the midfield in the overloads."
His teammate at the time Jamie Carragher went on to share his view of the situation, and his memories from the ill-fated transfer.
“We sign Robbie so I think I think Stevie’s going to go back to centre midfield, and I always remember a game away in Marseille, Stevie went back to the 10 (position), you (Robbie Keane) were on the bench, it was in the Champions League.
"And Stevie scored a great goal, and Rafa was asked after the game, ‘Robbie Keane’s on the bench he’s your new signing?’, and he said ‘well it’s very difficult when you’ve got Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres'. And even as a player within the team, I’m thinking ‘why did you buy him?’"
It was a fascinating insight into what was a completely misguided transfer that did work out for any of the parties involved, except arguably Spurs who bought Keane back for £7 million less than they had sold him for.