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Five of the best players to have played for Arsenal and Liverpool

Arsenal host Liverpool at the Emirates this evening, in the latest meeting between two of English football’s most successful clubs.

Mikel Arteta’s side take on Liverpool in a clash between two of the Premier League’s in-form teams and past encounters between Arsenal and the Reds have often proven entertaining affairs.

Each have enjoyed sustained spells competing for the biggest trophies in English football and there are several stars who have been fortunate enough to have represented two of the Premier League’s biggest clubs.


Here are five of the best players to have played for Arsenal and Liverpool.

Michael Thomas

A player who enjoyed lengthy stints at both clubs, Michael Thomas was responsible for the most dramatic moment in the history of the two club’s rivalry.

Thomas came through the academy at Arsenal and made 163 league appearances for the club over a seven-year spell, but his goal against Liverpool in 1989 is what he is most remembered for.

Arsenal headed to Anfield on the final day of the season needing to win by two goals to snatch the league title from the Merseyside club’s grasp on goal difference.

Liverpool had not lost by two goals at home for nearly four years but Alan Smith’s goal set up a tense finish. As the seconds ticked towards full-time, Thomas surged forward from midfield and scored a stoppage-time second, sparking wild celebrations as Arsenal secured a first title in 18 years in the most dramatic of finishes.

The midfielder would later sign for Liverpool in 1991, spending seven seasons at Anfield before joining Portuguese side Benfica.

Nicolas Anelka

Anelka enjoyed a meteoric rise after moving to North London from Paris Saint-Germain in a deal worth just £500,000 in 1997, emerging as one of the Premier League’s most exciting young talents.

The teenager broke into the Arsenal team in the 1997/98 season and provided a valuable contribution to the club’s Premier League and FA Cup double-winning season, scoring in the latter final against Newcastle.

His second season saw him crowned as PFA Young Player of the Year after hitting 17 Premier League goals, but a player nicknamed Le Sulk soon agitated for a move and joined Real Madrid in a £22.3m deal just over two years after his arrival.

Anelka returned to the Premier League with a loan spell at Liverpool during the 2001/02 season and the forward scored four goals in 20 league appearances during his time on Merseyside.

Despite his modest goal tally, many were surprised when Liverpool failed to secure the Frenchman on a permanent basis. Gerard Houllier instead opted to secure a deal for El-Hadji Diouf in a transfer the club came to regret.

Kolo Toure

Toure emerged from obscurity to become a key figure in Arsenal’s successes following the turn of the millennium, proving another of Arsene Wenger’s great bargain signings.

The Ivory Coast international played a crucial role in the club’s Invincibles season of 2003/04, whilst he also won two FA Cup winners’ medals during his seven seasons at the club.

Following a spell at Manchester City, Toure moved to Anfield on a free transfer in 2013. The centre-back proved a popular figure at Anfield, bringing experience and quality to Liverpool’s defensive options under Brendan Rodgers.

Yossi Benayoun

The first footballer to have scored a hat-trick in the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, the Israeli schemer was a popular figure after joining Liverpool from West Ham in 2007.

Benayoun provided a versatile attacking option under Rafael Benitez on Merseyside, hitting 11 goals in his first campaign including a European hat-trick against Besiktas at Anfield.

A winner against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu was another highlight of his Liverpool career, before he left for Chelsea in 2010 having scored 29 goals in 134 appearances for the club.

Having found opportunities limited at Stamford Bridge, the midfielder joined Arsenal on a season-long deal in 2011, scoring six goals in 25 appearances during his spell at the Emirates.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Having shot to prominence as a highly-rated youngster at Southampton, Arsenal signed the then 17-year-old in a £12m deal in 2011.

He made an immediate impact, scoring twice in his first three games for the club and becoming the youngest English goalscorer in Champions League history.

Playing in a variety of roles, the midfielder developed into a full England international whilst at the Emirates, winning three FA Cups and scoring 20 goals in 198 appearances.

Liverpool secured the signing of Oxlade-Chamberlain in a £35m deal in 2017 and he thrived under Jurgen Klopp in an advanced midfield role, as the club reached the latter stages of the Champions League during his debut season.

A serious knee injury suffered against Roma in the 2018 semi-finals was the start of several fitness issues the 28-year-old has since suffered, but winners’ medals in the Champions League and Premier League have justified his decision to swap the Emirates for Anfield, despite a more peripheral role in recent seasons.

Read: Iconic Performances: Peak Henry inspires Arsenal to comeback win over Liverpool

Read Also: Five of the Best – Liverpool v Arsenal games

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