HITC Sport assesses 10 candidates for the dubious honour of being Liverpool's worst ever signing.
However bad Mario Balotelli's start to life at Liverpool has been, he has some work to do before he matches some of the shocking signings in the club's past.
We round up the dodgiest business Liverpool have ever done by listing the top 10 terrible signings:
10. Sean Dundee (£6m from Karlsruher, July 1998)
For a while, South African born striker Sean Dundee was so good the German national team tried to persuade him to get a German passport. But at Liverpool, Dundee looked like a different man - a man incapable of shooting at goal. Dundee didn't play, in fact he later moaned that even if Liverpool only had one fit striker apart from him, he was still left out. The Reds would probably have rather played with 10 than risk Dundee - he must have been quite something in training.
9. Paul Stewart (£2.3m from Tottenham Hotspur in July 1992)
Back in 1992, £2.3 million was a lot of money but Paul Stewart seemed to be worth it. He'd become a hero at Spurs and scored their first goal in the 1991 FA Cup final, but at Liverpool he never managed such an important goal. Or any other goal, really. He scored just once for the Reds in the league and when Nigel Clough arrived as manager he was relegated to reserve. Stewart racked up loan spell after loan spell as his career fizzled out.
8. Torben Piechnik (Undisclosed from FC Copenhagen, September 1992)
Torben Piechnik was unlikely to become a Liverpool legend, but fans at least had some decent material to work with when creating chants for him. As chants of 'Torben Piechnik, Teddy Bears' Picnic' became commonplace, the workmanlike Dane tried in vain to cope with the pace of English football. Souness had fallen into the trap of believing that Denmark's 1992 European Championship success meant Danish players were the best in Europe. Piechnik's 1992 medal is testament to the fact that bad players can win big tournaments.
7. Chris Kirkland (£6m from Coventry City, August 2001)
Regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in England, Kirkland was a shrewd signing, except that he was always injured. Pretty much every time he returned from injury, he would get injured again - the 'keeper was a constant source of new and innovative injuries. It feels harsh to label him a transfer error because he could have been great had he been able to play a few games in a row at any stage, but everything injured Kirkland, including the pointing gesture below.
6. Alberto Aquilani (£18m from Roma, August 2009)
Aquilani was always a promising talent, but eyebrows were raised when Liverpool paid £18 million for him. A talented playmaker, Aquilani's Achilles' heel was his tendency to get injured (not just in the Achilles' heel). Whoever conducted Aquilani's medical must have had an off-day and in three years at Anfield he played a grand total of 18 games. By August 2010 he was on loan back in Italy and fans had to wonder why Liverpool bought him in the first place.
5. Anthony Le Tallec (£3m from Le Havre, June 2001)
For an incredibly brief period, Anthony Le Tallec was seen as the next great striker in European football. This period lasted long enough for Houllier to snap him up and realise that Le Tallec wasn't. In fact, he was pretty useless. Le Tallec never scored a league goal for Liverpool, and, worse still, they couldn't get rid of him so he remained out on loan until 2008 when Le Mans signed him. Liverpool officials probably waited until he was out the car park before they opened the champagne.
4. El Hadji Diouf (£11m from Lens, June 2002)
The quintessential post-World Cup buy. Diouf shone in the 2002 World Cup for Senegal, so Gerard Houllier bought him. What Houllier may not have been able to see from Diouf's showing in Japan and South Korea was just how unpleasant the striker was to have around. Diouf started brightly, then went badly off the boil and only made headlines for his misbehaviour, such as spitting at a Celtic fan. He didn't score at all in the 2002–03 season or the 2003–04 campaign and is said to be the only No. 9 ever to go through an entire season at Liverpool without scoring. £11m poorly spent.
3. Istvan Kozma (£320,000 from Dunfermline Athletic, February 1992)
Kozma's transfer to Liverpool was a surprise to everyone, including Kozma, who was playing for Scottish minnows Dunfermline at the time. Graeme Souness paid £300,000 and should have red the warning signs when Dunfermlime, who'd paid £550,000 three years earlier bit his hand off. Kozma barely ever played at Liverpool because he wasn't good enough to play for Liverpool. He was voted the fourth worst player ever to play in the Premier League in the Times Online. He was decent in Hungary though and fans of Cyprus club APOEL still rave about him.
2. Andy Carroll (£35m from Newcastle United, January 2011)
When Liverpool made Andy Carroll the most expensive English player of all time by paying £35 million it didn't take a genius to work out they'd overspent. Carroll was brought in to replace Fernando Torres - a move that makes sense today, but Liverpool weren't trying to replace the modern-day hapless Torres but the goal machine of circa 2010. Carroll scored six goals for Liverpool before they sold him West Ham for £15 million (a loss of £20 million), so the Reds effectively paid £3.3 million per goal.
1. Paul Konchesky (£4m from Fulham, August 2010)
While more money may have been squandered on others, very few former players send a shiver down the spine of Liverpool supporters like Paul Konchesky.
How bad was he? This sums it up better than words ever could: