Player profile

Salif Diao

Salif Diao

Birthdate: 10 February 1977
Birthplace: Kédougou, Senegal
Other clubs: Monaco (1996-2000), Epinal (loan 1996), Sedan (2000-02), Birmingham City (loan 2005), Portsmouth (loan 2005-06), Stoke City (loan 2006-07 + transfer 2007-12)
Bought from: Sedan
Signed for LFC: £4.7m, 06.08.2002
International caps: 39/4 (2009)
Liverpool debut: 28.08.2002
Last appearance: 03.01.2005
Debut goal: 02.10.2002
Last goal: 26.10.2004
Contract expiry: 25.01.2007
Win ratio: 54.1% W:33 D:13 L:15
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 3 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 37 / 1
Total LFC games/goals: 61 / 3

Player profile

Diao trained at Monaco's academy in Daquar, Senegal and impressed enough to be moved to Monaco's first team in 1995. Diao spent three seasons at Monaco but struggled to win a place in the starting 11 as the club enjoyed great success. He was transferred to Sedan in the 2000/01 season where he caught Houllier's attention and was described by his teammate as "an incredible force of nature, athletic, hard working, a great ball winner." Diao signed for Liverpool after the 2002 World Cup where he scored and got sent off in the group stages against Denmark but was back in the starting line-up against Turkey who beat Senegal in the quarter-finals. The boss of Senegal, Bruno Metsu, was a big fan of his midfield general: "He is a monster,'' Metsu said. "I call him the extra-terrestrial one. Salif is a player who makes matches complete. There was no doubt he would be one of the Senegal players to move on to a big club.''

Diao was no monster success at Liverpool. He made 22 starts and 18 substitute appearances in the 2002/03 season, his highlight being a goal against Leeds on 19 October that sent Liverpool to the top of the table. He had also scored in a 5-0 drubbing of Spartak Moscow two weeks earlier which was quite a novelty for the defensive midfielder who didn't score a single goal in 77 league games in France. Despite early promise Liverpool failed to capitalize on a second-place finish and finished 16 points worse off than in the previous campaign. Diao had acclimatized better than Liverpool's other summer buys; his compatriot El Hadji Diouf and Frenchman Bruno Cheyrou, by showing he was a tough player who played with his heart on his sleeve. Although Houllier had initially faith in Diao's ability it was clear that Steven Gerrard did not: "With Salif, I knew after a week of training that he wasn't going to be good enough," Gerrard said in his autobiography. The Senegalese admitted his situation was bleak in February 2004: "Houllier has changed his tactics and uses one ball-winner in midfield. It's fair to say this has been a blow to my chances." 

After Houllier left in the summer Rafa Benítez loaned Diao to Birmingham City and Portsmouth, but injury problems made it easy for respective sides not to sign him. Diao joined the Potteries on loan in October 2006 and eventually signed a one and a half year deal with them in December 2007. Diao was by no means a regular at Stoke, but somehow he managed to convince the boss to sign him on again and again, also becoming an ambassador for the club to improve its links with African countries. Diao passed his thirty-fifth birthday during the 2011/12 season at the end of which he left Stoke, having turned down an offer to join their coaching staff. He has since concentrated on charitable projects.

Appearances per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 37 2 8 14 0 61
2002-2003 26 2 4 8 0 40
2003-2004 3 0 1 3 0 7
2004-2005 8 0 3 3 0 14

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
4 Middlesbrough
3 Chelsea
3 Manchester City
3 Everton
3 Bolton Wanderers
3 Arsenal
3 Birmingham City
3 Tottenham
2 Vitesse Arnhem
2 Olimpija
2 Valencia
2 Spartak Moscow
2 Grazer AK
2 Fulham
2 WBA
2 Blackburn Rovers
2 Sunderland
2 Aston Villa
2 Leeds United
2 Southampton
2 Norwich City
1 Newcastle United
1 Ipswich Town
1 West Ham United
1 Sheffield United
1 Basel
1 Auxerre
1 Olympiacos
1 Steaua Bucharest
1 Crystal Palace
1 Millwall
Total Started/substitutions
35 Started
34 On the bench
26 Substitute
13 Substituted
Total Competition
37 Premier League
8 Champions League
8 League Cup
6 UEFA Cup
2 FA Cup

Goals per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 1 0 1 1 0 3
2002-2003 1 0 0 1 0 2
2003-2004 0 0 0 0 0 0
2004-2005 0 0 1 0 0 1

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

Total Opponent
1 Leeds United
1 Millwall
1 Spartak Moscow
Total Started/substitutions
2 Started
1 Substitute
Total Competition
1 Champions League
1 League Cup
1 Premier League
Total Goal minute period
1 16-30 minutes
1 61-75 minutes
1 76-90 minutes
Total Open play/Penalty
3 Open play

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 28.08.2002 Blackburn Rovers Ewood Park League
50 24.08.2004 Grazer AK Anfield Europe

Milestone Goals

# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 81 02.10.2002 Spartak Moscow Anfield Europe

Related Articles

Diao drives fans to turn on Venables

The Telegraph report on Leeds - Liverpool on 19.10.2002.More

Open letter from Diao to Liverpool supporters

Salif Diao wrote an open letter to Liverpool supporters in April 2004.More

Related Quotes

"I saw Salif Diao after the game and he had a red shirt on under his top which said 'Jerzy - You'll Never Walk Alone'."

Dudek in december 2002

"What I like about Salif is that you can see how much he loves the game and likes playing."

Houllier in 2002

"The players Gerard bought in the summer of 2002 let him down. They were bad buys.

With Salif, I knew after a week of training that he wasn't going to be good enough. Diao's a good player, but not Liverpool class.

Diouf arrived with the most potential, and he ended up causing the most aggravation. As Gerard started playing him on the right. I knew he was a poor signing."

I wasn't Diouf's number one fan. Being around Melwood and Anfield. I knew which players were hungry, which players had Liverpool at heart. Diouf was just interested in himself. His attitude was all wrong. I felt he wasn't really arsed about putting his body on the line to get Liverpool back at the top."

Steven Gerrard on Diouf and Diao

Other Clubs

Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Epinal 1996-1997 France 2 2 0 2 0
AS Monaco 1997-1998 France 1 12 0 13 0
AS Monaco 1998-1999 France 1 14 0 17 0
AS Monaco 1999-2000 France 1 1 0 1 0
Sedan 2000-2001 France 1 26 0 26 0
Sedan 2001-2002 France 1 22 0 24 0
Birmingham City 2004-2005 England Premier League 2 0 2 0
Portsmouth 2005-2006 England Premier League 11 0 13 0
Stoke City 2006-2007 England Championship 27 0 29 0
Stoke City 2007-2008 England Championship 11 0 12 0
Stoke City 2008-2009 England Premier League 20 0 21 0
Stoke City 2009-2010 England Premier League 16 1 19 1
Stoke City 2010-2011 England Premier League 8 0 10 0
Stoke City 2011-2012 England Premier League 6 0 14 0
Total 178 1 203 1
Back