Dean Saunders : Striker (1991-92).
Date of Birth: 21-6-1964
Debut: 17th August 1991v Oldham Athletic (H) Football League Division One - won 2-1.
1st team games: 61
1st team goals: 25
Other clubs: Swansea City, Cardiff City (loan), Brighton, Oxford United, Derby County, Aston Villa, Benfica, Galatasary, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, Bradford City, Blackburn Rovers.
International caps while at Liverpool: Wales.
Honours with Liverpool: FA Cup 1992.
Welsh international striker Dean Saunders was brought to Liverpool for £2.9 million from Derby County by Graeme Souness just before the start of the 1991-92 season as a replacement for Peter Beardsley, and went on to become top scorer with 23 goals in 54 appearances as Liverpool won the FA Cup.
His Reds career didn't start too well when he failed to score in his opening three games. He missed a vital penalty in his second game at Maine Road when he hit the bar and Liverpool lost 2-1 to Manchester City and in his next game somehow missed an open goal from three yards out when he blazed over the bar during a 0-0 draw at Luton. His first Reds goal arrived at Anfield when he scored the only goal in front of the Kop during the 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers, then followed that up with a goal in the 3-1 Anfield derby victory over Everton.
Saunders also went into the Reds record books that season for his European scoring feat. In an Anfield Uefa Cup 1st Round, 1st leg tie with Finnish side Kuusysi Lahti, Saunders became the first Liverpool player to score four goals in a single Euopean match. The Reds won the tie 6-1, but the four goal personal tally was levelled by Saunders Welsh international teammate Ian Rush in the 1992-93 season. Rush scored four at Anfield in the Cup Winners Cup 6-1 victory over Apollon Limassol on September 16th, 1992. 'Deano' also broke Roger Hunt's record for the most European goals in one season, set back in the 1964-65 season. Saunders hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Austrian's Swarovski Tirol, at Anfield gave the Welshman nine European goals during the 1991-92 season - two more than Hunt's tally. Liverpool supporters will also fondly remember his display in the FA Cup final win over Sunderland. Although he didn't score, he was a constant menace to the Mackems defence in the second half and also hit the bar.
However the following season Souness decided Saunders wasn't needed and didn't feel he could play alongside Rush so he sold him to Aston Villa. He scored on his last Reds appearance, a 2-1 Anfield victory over Chelsea and as fate prevailed his home debut for Villa saw him score twice against Liverpool when he ran Torben Piechnik ragged! He also scored on his Anfield return for Villa that same season as his new side won 2-1!
Opinions are divided about Saunders time at Anfield. Some say he shouldn't have been sold and others to this day are still angry at the way Graeme Souness replaced their hero Peter Beardsley with Saunders, but to be fair to 'Deano' that was hardly his fault. He did give 100 per cent every game and he had a good rapport with the Kop, and he did get that European scoring record which is no mean feat to pass the legendary Roger Hunt's tally.
After spells with Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United Saunders rejoined Souness at Benfica and again at Galatasary before moving to Bradford on a free transfer at the start of the 1999-2000 season. He is now retired and a coach at Blackburn Rovers.