Following on from our recent Christian Abbiati post, another missive on goalkeepers preferring not to wear 1.
Since the 2005 Champions League final, Liverpool have played a total of 46 competitive senior games in which their goalkeeper has worn number 1.
While Jerzy Dudek was the hero that night in Istanbul, he was displaced that summer by new signing José Manuel ‘Pepe’ Reina, limiting the Pole to 12 appearances in his final two years at Anfield.
Dudek had worn number 12 in his first season with Liverpool but took the number 1 when his predecessor Sander Westerveld was moved on. On Dudek’s departure, though, Reina showed no signs of inheriting the traditional netminder’s number and retained 25 for the entirety of his Liverpool career.
With 1 having been vacant for 2007-08, Diego Cavalieri wore it for the next two seasons and the very start of 2010-11 but never suggested that he would usurp Reina as the first-choice, playing only nine times.
Likewise, his replacement as number 1, Brad Jones, was seen as a reserve – in fact, he was third choice behind Reina and Doni (who wore number 32) in 2011-12.
In 2012-13, he did play 15 times, but, despite Reina joining Napoli on loan in the summer of 2013, it was new signing Simon Mignolet (number 22) who Brendan Rodgers favoured in goal.
Reina left for good in 2014, joining Bayern Munich, while Jones remained until the end of 2014-15 before departing for Bradford City. After just a few months there – wearing 22 – he left by mutual consent and is now with Dutch side NEC Nijmegen, with 30 on his back.
The vacating of number 1 didn’t affect Mignolet, however, as he revealed back in August. Neither did new signing Adam Bogdan follow the recent tradition of the back-up keeper wearing 1, as he opted for 34. That was the number he had had in his first season with Bolton Wanderers, 2007-08, but since then he had worn 1. At his first professional club, Vasas in Hungary, he had been number 12 in 2005-06 and 2006-07.
Well, a similar situation applies to the greek champions Olympiacos. Since 2000-2001 (16 football seasons in total), only 44 times a goalie with number 1 in the back has seen action. Most of these appearances are made by former Man Utd keeper, Roy Carroll, who spent few seasons in Greece. In 2011-12 he had 7 caps in total (league, european or cup games) and the next season (12-13) 27. Before him, we have to go back in time, in 2000-2001 when Angelos Georgiou, having #1 in his back, made 10 appearances.
The interesting part is that almost no other goalie (of the many that have passed through the club) has ever wore #1. Only Leonideas Panagopoulos kept that for few seasons, but he was considered as a 3rd or even 4th choise.
The most caps during this period are made by Dimitris Eleftheropoulos, spending almost his entire career in Olympiacos with #31, Antonis Nikopolidis (#71), hungarian Balasz Megyeri (#42) and spaniard Roberto (#16) who still is the 1st choise in the club.