“He’s big, he’s red, his feet stick out the bed,” the chant that belonged to one man for his three seasons on Merseyside. On this day in 2005, Peter Crouch signed for Liverpool for £7 million from Southampton.
There were some questions surrounding his transfer. It was viewed as a lot of money and some fans wondered whether he was the kind of quality the Reds should be pursuing just a couple of months after becoming Champions of Europe in such dramatic circumstances.
The previous season Crouch was part of a Southampton side that was relegated from the Premier League but his form for the club was one of their highlights. He scored 15 goals from 30 appearances in all competitions – a good goal-scoring ratio for any footballer in the top flight.
Liverpool needed another forward option after being so thin on the ground the previous season. His height would also come in useful.
It would take a while for him to find his first goal for the club, however. December that season after a few trying months searching for his first goal – including being denied from the penalty spot against Portsmouth a month earlier.
After his strike against Wigan Athletic took several deflections before finding the net, he would add another to settle any debate over finding the net regularly for the Reds, and things seemed to flow a little easier. He would find the net at the World Club Championship, in his first Merseyside derby and net a winning goal in a clash against West Bromwich Albion in that month alone.
He would finish the season with 13 goals in all competitions, and play his part in a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over West Ham United at Cardiff City as Liverpool lifted the FA Cup. Crouch was unlucky not have a goal to his name as he denied by the offside flag. It seemed a borderline call.
His good form that season would earn him a call-up to the England World Cup squad, where he found the net against Trinidad & Tobago.
The following season is probably remembered more for Crouch doing the spectacular as overhead kicks against Galatasaray and Bolton Wanderers caught the eye, as well as a hat-trick against Arsenal as the Reds finished third and reached the Champions League final in Athens.
Crouch did not start the final but came on as a late substitute as Milan avenged their defeat from two years earlier. He scored 18 goals in all competitions, and many feel he was unlucky not to be leading the line in Athens that night.
His third season would ultimately be his last as he fell down the pecking order following the signing of Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid. He still made effective contributions during Liverpool’s run to the Champions League semi-finals and fourth-place finish in the league, scoring 11 goals in the process - two of which came in a Champions League record win over Besiktas in the group stages, where the Reds were 8-0 winners at Anfield.
That summer, he was sold to Portsmouth for £11 million but has always been warmly received at Anfield ever since in the colours of Tottenham and Stoke City.