Birthdate: 10 November 1973
Birthplace: Prague, Czech Republic
Other clubs: Slavia Prague (1991-95), Borussia Dortmund (1995-96), Portsmouth (2003-05), Aston Villa (2005-08), Stoke City (loan 2006-07), Sparta Prague (2008-10), Dolni Chabry (2010-11)
Bought from: Borussia Dortmund
Signed for LFC: £3.25m, 01.08.1996
International debut: 23.03.1993 vs. Cyprus
International caps: 44/18 (23/9 at LFC) - 15.08.2001
Liverpool debut: 07.09.1996
Last appearance: 11.05.2003
Debut goal: 15.09.1996
Last goal: 06.11.2002
Contract expiry: 01.07.2003
Win ratio: 48.98% W:96 D:47 L:53
Games/goals ratio: 5.6
Honours: FA Cup 2001; UEFA Cup 2001
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 4 / 1
LFC league games/goals: 148 / 28
Total LFC games/goals: 196 / 35
Player profilePatrik Berger tasted success at an early age. He was in the Czech u-16 squad that became European champions in 1990. Berger started on the books of Sparta Prague but their rivals Slavia were quicker to react when Berger was eligible to sign a professional contract at 18. Berger spent four years with Slavia but Sparta dominated the league. He joined Dortmund in 1995 but although the club won the championship in his only season he was mostly on the bench. Berger didn't like the fact that the coach saw him as a defensive midfielder. Four weeks from the conclusion of the 1996 European Championships in England, where the Czech Republic were runners-up to Germany, Roy Evans signed Berger who had featured in a more attacking role for his national team. At the beginning of September Berger had shaken off a minor calf problem and his Liverpool career got off to a glorious start. Two shots with his deadly left foot beat Leicester in only his second substitute appearance. "I’ve never seen a ball move so fast in my life. It’s a good job I didn’t get in the way of either shot or I’d have been back in the net with them," said Leicester goalkeeper, Kasey Keller, still petrified. Berger's first game in the starting line-up against Chelsea resulted in two more goals. Berger was selected Player of the Month at the very beginning of his Liverpool career! He was clearly seen as an out-and-out striker by Evans, threatening Stan Collymore's place in the team who was struggling to recapture the form that had seen him and Fowler score 55 goals the previous season. Berger couldn't keep up his scoring ratio as he had never been a real striker and finished with nine goals in his first season. On 5 October 1997 he scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win over Chelsea at Anfield that turned out to be his only goals in the League that season. Evans was furious when Berger refused to be on the bench in a Premier League against Bolton on 7 March 1998: "I only want people who want to play for Liverpool," Evans raged. "To involve him would not only be an insult to the other players but to everyone at the club. There's no point of having people on the bench if they are not in the right frame of mind. We're looking for offers for Patrik but he won't be going out on the cheap or on loan. He wants to play all the time but to do that you've got to be consistent." In the summer of 1998 Berger said he was going to Prague to contemplate his future with Liverpool.
Berger's saviour came in the form of Gérard Houllier that summer. He put him in the first eleven behind the strikers and although his first two games in the 1998/99 season were quiet, Berger repaid Houllier's faith in him by scoring four goals in the next five. His overall game improved and Berger seemed finally settled on Merseyside after making 39 starts that season. Berger's game blossomed at the turn of the year 2000 and fantastic goals against Wimbledon, Leeds United, Manchester United and Tottenham are forever kept in the minds of Liverpool supporters. The European Championships in 2000 turned out to be a disappointment for Berger and the Czech Republic as Berger had been sent off in a qualifier against the Faroe Islands. He had to sit out the first two games of the Euros that ended in defeat against Holland and France and when he finally made his debut against Denmark it was too late to save the Czechs. Berger was out for five months with a knee ligament injury in the successful 2000/01 season but he made a late cameo in the FA Cup final against Arsenal and set up Michael Owen's winner two minutes from time. Again he played a bit part in the 2001/02 season and at the start of the following season it was clear that his future would lie elsewhere in the summer.
Berger moved to Portsmouth in 2003 and his impact on the south coast was immediate as he scored against Aston Villa on the opening day of the 2003/04 season. He then scored a winning goal against Liverpool a few weeks later. Early 2004 he had to undergo knee surgery and his appearances for Portsmouth from then on were limited. He was released by Pompey in June 2005 and he joined Aston Villa on a two-year contract. The Czech continued to suffer from injuries in the Midlands and didn't figure much for Villa, who eventually let him move on loan to Stoke City. After he returned to Villa Park, his form improved and his general fitness seemed better too. Shortly after the end of the 2006/07 season, Berger signed a one-year extension to his contract but played little football in the enclosing 12 months and alienated his manager Martin O'Neill by advising his club captain, Gareth Barry, to make a move to Liverpool once interest from his former club became known. Berger was fined two week's wages and suspended from the training ground. Once a free agent in 2008 Berger decided to return to his homeland and at the age of 34 signed a two-year contract with Sparta Prague. Berger retired from football in January 2010 due to persistent knee problems but still features on occasion for Dolni Chabry, a sixth division side situated in the suburbs of Prague.
Appearances per season
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
|8||West Ham United|
|1||Paris St Germain|
Goals per season
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
|50||13.12.1997||Crystal Palace||Selhurst Park||League|
|100||12.04.1999||Leeds United||Elland Road||League|
|1||58||15.09.1996||Leicester City||Filbert Street||League|
The Telegraph report on Portsmouth - Liverpool on 18.10.2003. More
Match report from by Press Association on Liverpool - Chelsea on 05.10.1997. More
BB, the former editor of Teamtalk sent us a good story of Vladi and Paddy celebrating the Worthington Cup final win in unusual style in 2001! More
Match report from 21.09.1996 by Ken Gaunt of "Press Association". More
"I was fit at the beginning of the season but I wasn't playing. There is no point in staying here. I want to play football. I can't say my Liverpool career has been great. Nor can I say it has been bad. I've had good times, I've had bad times. Actually I have been through everything since I have been at Liverpool. Whatever you can experience, I have experienced."
Berger in the 2002-2003 season
"The coolest member of the team. He is a snappy dresser and rarely without a pair of shades. Although he is from the Czech Republic, he has become very English — even his kids speak with a Liverpool accent."
Owen in 2001 on Berger
"A few years ago I doubt I would have believed I could play 100 games for Liverpool. Now I think I can make another 100. This is great news for me. It is a great number, a magic number to play 100 league games for Liverpool and I am very proud of this.
I had a good start when I arrived but then I was left out of the side and couldn't get a regular game. Now I think I am in the most consistent form I have ever been at the club. I'm happy with my position in the team and also with the quality of our side and the spirit within the club.
The gaffer has made me work on different areas of my game. I used to play attacking football all the time and never defend. Now I realise I must defend as well and I think that's where I have improved a lot."
Berger played his 100th league game for LFC on 11th March 2000
"Patrik has scored nine goals for us this season, and he is improving all the time. He is showing what he is capable of, and brings a lot to us. I would say he has been directly involved in a third of the goals we have scored this season. He has either scored them, created them, been fouled for free kicks, or delivered the free kicks to score or create goals for others. This is quite a contribution."
"He is a very good midfield player. He likes to run, he likes to do his defensive duties well, and his understanding of the game and his realisation of the needs of his team is getting better. He has a very good partnership with Dominic Matteo. He is willing to work with him, doing his share of the defensive work, and they have worked hard in training to make this partnership work - they get on very well together as footballers."
Houllier on Patrik Berger in April 2000
"I’ve never seen a ball move so fast in my life. It’s a good job I didn’t get in the way of either shot or I’d have been back in the net with them."
Leicester goalkeeper, Kasey Keller on Patrik Berger’s first goals for LFC
|Club||Season||Club rank||League apps||League goals||Total apps||Total goals|
|Slavia Prague||1991-1992||Czechoslovakia 1||20||3||20||3|
|Slavia Prague||1992-1993||Czechoslovakia 1||29||10||31||10|
|Slavia Prague||1993-1994||Czech Republic 1||12||4||14||5|
|Slavia Prague||1994-1995||Czech Republic 1||28||7||32||8|
|Borussia Dortmund||1995-1996||Germany 1||25||4||34||4|
|Borussia Dortmund||1996-1997||Germany 1||0||0||0||0|
|Portsmouth||2003-2004||England Premier League||20||5||23||5|
|Portsmouth||2004-2005||England Premier League||32||3||37||3|
|Aston Villa||2005-2006||England Premier League||8||0||9||0|
|Aston Villa||2006-2007||England Premier League||13||2||14||2|
|Stoke City||2006-2007||England Championship||7||0||7||0|
|Aston Villa||2007-2008||England Premier League||8||0||9||0|
|Sparta Prague||2008-2009||Czech Republic 1||21||6||29||8|
|Sparta Prague||2009-2010||Czech Republic 1||2||0||2||0|
|Dolni Chabry||2010-2011||Czech Republic 6||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|