A Liverpool defender who was "regarded as the stupidest of the stupid" refused to transfer for a price | soccer4u
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A Liverpool defender who was “regarded as the stupidest of the stupid” refused to transfer for a price

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For five seasons, Stephane Henchoz played defense for Liverpool. However, in January 2005, new manager Rafa Benitez decided to cut him out of the team.

  1. 99A Liverpool defender who was "regarded as the stupidest of the stupid" refused to transfer for a price

 

 

 

I spent five wonderful years with Liverpool, then six miserable months.

Stephane Henchoz was a stalwart in Liverpool’s defense for five seasons. He joined the Reds in the summer of 1999 in a £3.5 million deal from Blackburn Rovers. Under Gerard Houllier, he quickly established himself as a key member of the team and formed a legendary center-back partnership with Sami Hyypia.

It was no accident that Liverpool’s performance under the Frenchman dipped when the Switzerland international began to experience extended absences due to injury after helping the Reds create one of the nastiest defenses in England.

Yet when Houllier left the club in the summer of 2004 and was replaced by Rafa Benitez, it was the beginning of the end for Henchoz. Not that he knew that at the time.

“Stephane is the quiet guy at the back, the unsung hero, but no-one should under-estimate his value to us,” Houllier had once said of the centre-back. “Our fans know just how good he is and so do his team-mates.” It appears his new manager did not agree.

Even if the Swiss and Hyypia’s connection had been excellent, Jamie Carragher’s switch to center back had led his new manager to decide to end it. In actuality, the Reds wouldn’t be sorry given the benefit of hindsight, but Henchoz was still hurt.

He didn’t play as a substitute in Benitez’s first two matches against Grazer AK and Tottenham Hotspur, and after that, he hardly ever made the matchday squad. However, that would be the last time Liverpool fans would see their pairing as his final three appearances for the club were all made alongside youngsters and reserves in the League Cup. He did start the home leg defeat against Graz, reinstated next to Hyypia as he made his first appearance of the season in the process.

When Benitez finally spoke publicly about the Switzerland international in the summer of 2005, he made it obvious that Henchoz was out of contract and that it was game over for him.

 

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