Player profile

Sander Westerveld

Sander Westerveld

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
Honours: FA Cup 2001; League Cup 2001; UEFA Cup 2001
LFC league games/goals: 75 / 0
Total LFC games/goals: 103 / 0

Player profile

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. 

Westerveld contined to show that he was capable of keeping his place in the team as his forthieth birthday loomed, appearing in twenty first-team matches for the Cape club between August 2012 and May 2013.

Westerveld's playing-contract was terminated at the end of the 2012/13 season. But he remained at the club as a goalkeeping coach.

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." 


Appearances per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 75 8 5 14 1 103
1999-2000 36 2 1 0 0 39
2000-2001 38 6 4 13 0 61
2001-2002 1 0 0 1 1 3

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
5 Manchester United
5 Leeds United
5 Arsenal
4 Leicester City
4 Tottenham
4 Bradford City
4 West Ham United
4 Everton
4 Coventry City
4 Newcastle United
4 Middlesbrough
4 Derby
4 Sunderland
4 Aston Villa
3 Chelsea
3 Manchester City
3 Southampton
2 Ipswich Town
2 Charlton Athletic
2 Wimbledon
2 Roma
2 Slovan Liberec
2 Rapid Bucharest
2 Olympiacos
2 Porto
2 Watford
2 Crystal Palace
2 Barcelona
2 Sheffield Wednesday
1 Tranmere Rovers
1 Bayern Munich
1 Hull City
1 Birmingham City
1 Fulham
1 Wycombe
1 Alaves
1 Rotherham United
1 Huddersfield Town
1 Bolton Wanderers
1 Blackburn Rovers
Total Started/substitutions
103 Started
2 On the bench
0 Substitute
0 Substituted
Total Competition
75 Premier League
13 UEFA Cup
8 FA Cup
5 League Cup
1 Charity Shield
1 European Super Cup

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 07.08.1999 Sheffield Wednesday Hillsborough League
50 15.10.2000 Derby Pride Park League
100 19.05.2001 Charlton Athletic The Valley League

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Related Quotes

"When I returned from international duty last week Houllier told me that I was the No3 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. <br> <br> "I'm looking for a new club as of now. There's no use staying at Liverpool as long as Gerard Houllier is there."

Dudek and Kirkland put Sander up in the stands

"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. <br> <br> "One guy told me I was lucky to have Sami Hyypia and Stephane Henchoz in front of me. That attitude is stupid. Another told me he'd been a fan for years and asked if I really knew what it means to be a Liverpool player. To suggest that is not only unbelievable, it's insulting. I don't mind criticism as long as it's justified."

Westerveld doesn't appreciate Scouse humour - March 2000

"I don't want to be disrespectful to the other players we've had here, but it's plain to see that this year we've had the best defensive record in the Premiership and I think Hyypiä and Henchoz have been the main reason for that. <br> <br> I also think that Sander Westerveld has come in and proved he is a very good 'keeper. I think he's done really well, especially when you consider this is his first season in England, although it must have been helpful to have such a good defence in front of him." <br> <br> Redknapp must then clearly belong to one of these stupid people as described by Westerveld who reckoned he was lucky to have Hyypia and Henchoz in front of him.

Jamie Redknapp

"Our goalkeeper is a typical Dutchman — supremely confident and with strong opinions on the game. He is the new technology wizard of the team. Everyone goes to him if they have a problem with their laptops, CD players or computer games."

Michael Owen on Sander Westerveld in 2001

Other Clubs

Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Twente Enschede 1994-1995 Netherlands 1 3 0 3 0
Vitesse Arnhem 1995-1996 Netherlands 1 0 0 0 0
Vitesse Arnhem 1996-1997 Netherlands 1 34 0 34 0
Vitesse Arnhem 1997-1998 Netherlands 1 34 0 36 0
Vitesse Arnhem 1998-1999 Netherlands 1 33 0 35 0
Real Sociedad 2001-2002 Spain 1 20 0 20 0
Real Sociedad 2002-2003 Spain 1 37 0 37 0
Real Sociedad 2003-2004 Spain 1 20 0 20 0
Real Sociedad 2004-2005 Spain 1 0 0 0 0
Real Mallorca 2004-2005 Spain 1 6 0 6 0
Portsmouth 2005-2006 England Premier League 6 0 7 0
Everton 2005-2006 England Premier League 2 0 2 0
Almeria 2006-2007 Spain 2 33 0 33 0
Sparta 2007-2008 Holland 1 29 0 29 0
Monza 2009-2011 Italy 3 54 0 55 0
Ajax Cape Town 2011-2012 South Africa 25 0 25 0
Ajax Cape Town 2012-2013 South Africa 19 0 19 0
Total 355 0 361 0
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