Birthdate: 23 October 1974
Birthplace: Enschede, Netherlands
Other clubs: Twente Enschede (1992-96), Vitesse (1996-99), Real Sociedad (2001-05), Real Mallorca (loan 2004), Portsmouth (2005-06), Everton (loan 2006), Almeria (2006-07), Sparta Rotterdam (2007-08), Monza (2009-2011), Ajax Cape Town (2011-13)
Bought from: Vitesse
Signed for LFC: £4m, 15.06.1999
International debut: 08.06.1999 vs. Brazil
International caps: 6/0 (5/0 at LFC) - 28.02.2001
Liverpool debut: 07.08.1999
Last appearance: 27.08.2001
Contract expiry: 17.12.2001
Win ratio: 57.28% W: 59 D: 22 L: 22
LFC league games/goals: 75 / 0
Total LFC games/goals: 103 / 0
The Dutchman had gained quite a reputation after three seasons at Twente in the Eredivisie and had made his international debut, against Brazil, a week prior to him becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in England. Westerveld was especially known for his drop-kick known as "The Bomb." He entertained teammates at training and fans in pre-match warm-ups by launching the ball from his penalty area into the stands behind the opposite goal. Westerveld's monster efforts were never officially measured but he was widely acknowledged to have the longest kick in Europe. Westerveld quickly won over the Anfield crowd, who had grown weary of the inconsistency of David James and Brad Friedel. He offered stability to this vital position. Westerveld was a great shot stopper, but did lack dominance of the penalty area. He had an excellent first season behind the new central pairing of Sami Hyypia and Stephane Henchoz as Houllier's team took shape.
The treble of the League, FA and UEFA Cup was won in Westerveld's second season but he had been way less impressive than in his first year. He punched the ball into his own net in the Chelsea game on 1 October 2000 as well as making other glaring errors. In January 2001 Liverpool were linked with Coventry's Chris Kirkland. "I've been assured by Gerard Houllier that Liverpool haven't made a bid for Chris Kirkland," said Westerveld confidently. "I believe what the gaffer has told me and I was pleased to hear it. But as long as we don't buy Edwin van der Saar or Peter Schmeichel I won't be worried because I don't mind who sits on the bench. I've got a lot of confidence in myself and will not allow anyone to take my place at Liverpool for as long as I am under contract here." Westerveld had a disastrous UEFA Cup Final which almost cost Reds the treble. Houllier had been looking for a replacement for quite a few months and only three games into the 2001/02 season, Houllier was given the perfect excuse to axe Westerveld for good after a speculative long-range shot from Bolton's Dean Holdworth squirmed under his body. Houllier signed not one, but two 'keepers four days later! Westerveld wasn't obviously best pleased with the arrival of Jerzy Dudek and Chris Kirkland: "When I returned from international duty last week Houllier told me that I was the No. 3 keeper at the club. He said I was still allowed to train with the first team but I would be sitting in the stands on Saturday. I'm absolutely disgusted with that. You could say we have dramatically different opinions. There's no point going back for more talks. I'm looking for a new club as of now. There's no use staying at Liverpool as long as Gerard Houllier is there." Westerveld revived his career with a successful spell in Spain with Real Sociedad and helped the Basque club to the runners-up place in La Liga and Champions League qualification.
In July 2005 Westerveld was a free agent and returned to English football with Portsmouth but failed to impress. David Moyes signed him on loan to Everton, who had suffered a mid-season injury crisis with their Richard Wright and Nigel Martyn. Westerveld only played twice for the Blues before returning to Portsmouth, who released him in May 2006. Westerveld moved back to Spain, signing a one-year contract with Almeria and helping them into La Liga at the end of the 2006/07 season. In September 2007 he returned to his homeland to join Sparta Rotterdam on a short-term contract. Westerveld joined Italian lower-league side Monza in the summer of 2009. Two years later, by now in his thirty-seventh year Westerveld moved to South Africa to play with Ajax Cape Town.
When Westerveld was playing at Liverpool he admitted he didn't appreciate Scouse humour, but more importantly, revealed his confidence was easily dented: "Some people think it's funny to make jokes about goalkeepers when they come up to me but I've just about had enough. If someone two metres away from me drops their glass of beer on the floor, as was the case on Saturday night, you can bet that a wise guy has asked if it was me. Even my postman gets in on the act when he gives me my letters. 'Watch you don't drop them', he says. I don't like these comments and they don't exactly help your confidence either."