Liverpool, Tottenham, Newcastle United and even Chelsea have had some absolute superstars who never claimed the Premier League trophy. But who tops our list?
Few have bettered Jermain Defoe’s goal-scoring record for West Ham, Portsmouth, Tottenham, Sunderland and Bournemouth. A lethal finisher who, at the age of 35, is an outside contender for an England call-up in the summer, Defoe has bagged 161 Premier League goals and is seventh in the all-time top-scoring charts.
Matt Le Tissier
Not only did Le Tissier miss out on the Premier League, but he never won a major honour during his club career. A loyal servant to the Saints, Le Tissier was known for world-class goals. And lots of them. If he’d left he’d probably have won a couple of pots. But then again, if he’d left he may not have been the greatest midfielder to have played for Southampton.
Nicknamed Sir Les, Ferdinand was twice runner-up while at Newcastle United. Also pitching in for Tottenham and West Ham, among others, Ferdinand is the ninth all-time Premier League top goal-scorer.
We’re talking about the Fernando Torres who played for Liverpool, not that bloke who turned out for Chelsea. When the Spaniard rocked up at Anfield he was a force to be reckoned with and was comfortably the best No 9 in the Premier League during his first two seasons at the club. Although he won the Champions League and Europa League with Chelsea, he never picked up the most prestigious domestic crown with the Blues.
Another former Chelsea man who was unable to lift the Premier League. Desailly was a wall in the Blues defence between 1998 and 2004, but couldn’t do better than a second-place finish. He won two Champions Leagues, a couple of Serie A titles and the World Cup in 1998, but had to settle for the FA Cup and the Super Cup as only honours in England.
The midfield trio of Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Steven Gerrard was something to behold. Like Philippe Coutinho this month, it wasn’t long before La Liga’s giants came calling for the ice-cool Spain midfielder. At Real Madrid and eventually Bayern Munich, Alonso won it all. Although he won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, that great side couldn’t wrestle the Premier League away from Man United.
A pocket-sized genius, watching Zola play was worth the admission fee alone during his time at Stamford Bridge. The Italian playmaker had swagger and audacity, and regularly chimed in with wonderful goals. Zola was an utterly gifted footballer.
Bale was absolutely outrageous in his final years at Tottenham, form that would earn him a then-world-record transfer to Real Madrid. The Wales winger scored for fun and won the Players’ and Writers’ award for Player of the Year in his final season at White Hart Lane.
Another absolute goal machine, Fowler put in the best performances of his career as a young Liverpool striker. No player has scored more goals than Fowler (163) without winning a Premier League winners’ medal. That stat alone justifies his place on this list.
Like Le Tissier, Gerrard’s loyalty to his boyhood club may have cost him the Premier League. He could have joined Chelsea, Man United or Real Madrid at different times in his career, but chose to stay at Anfield, where he became one of the club’s best ever midfielders. Gerrard wrote himself into the club’s history for the right reasons in the Champions League in 2005, but his costly slip against Chelsea in 2014 allowed Manchester City to snatch the title away from Gerrard and Liverpool.
A part of that 2013-14 Liverpool team that came so desperately close to winning the club’s first title since 1990. The shining light in that team was undoubtedly Suarez, who bagged 31 goals in as many games under Brendan Rodgers. The Uruguayan had a nasty edge to his game at times, but when he was on song there are few strikers who were better than Suarez to have ever played on these shores.