Liverpool FC Player Profiles
Playmaker Yossi Benayoun signed from West Ham in July 2007.
The winger is a huge star in his native Israel, where he captains the national team.
His ability between the lines has also proved an invaluable asset when Liverpool are struggling to break teams down.
Benayoun began his career at Hapoel Be'er Sheva, 30 miles from where he was born and grew up. He was invited to the Ajax Academy aged 15 but homesickness meant he spent just one full season in Holland before re-joining Hapoel.
The player nicknamed The Kid made a senior breakthrough soon after his return in 1997, scoring 15 goals in his first season.
Despite this, the club were relegated and their star man was off to Maccabi Haifa. Several foreign clubs had expressed an interest, but three years of national service would keep him at home until the age of 21.
International recognition soon came his way, with Benayoun making his full debut aged 18 against Portugal in November 1998.
He was developing into one of the shining lights of Israeli football, finishing 1999-00 as the country's second top scorer with 19 goals.
In 2000-01 he helped lead Haifa to their first title in seven years, winning the division's most valuable player in the process.
The following campaign brought another title-winner's medal but it was to be his last in his homeland. After four seasons, 130 appearances and 55 goals for Haifa, the midfielder was on his way to northern Spain and Racing Santander.
Benayoun enjoyed three seasons in La Liga, managing 21 goals in 101 matches before financial difficulties forced his owners to cash in.
West Ham reportedly paid £2.5million for the forward in the summer of 2005, though he instantly repaid some of his fee with two assists against Blackburn Rovers on the opening day of the season.
Benayoun quickly established himself as one of the Premiership's best right-sided midfielders. His five goals and seven assists helped Alan Pardew's side finish 9th in 2005-06 - as well as an FA Cup final against Liverpool.
West Ham may have lost on penalties, but their No.15's disappoint was soon eased with news he was being handed the Israeli captaincy.
The father-of-two bagged another three goals in his final year with The Hammers, taking his total to eight in 63 league appearances.
Benayoun made his Reds debut in a Champions League qualifier against Toulouse on August 15, 2007.
Six weeks later he opened his Liverpool account with a classy run and finish in a 4-2 Carling Cup victory at Reading. More cup joy followed in November 2007 with a hat-trick in an 8-0 drubbing of Besiktas in the Champions League group stages.
Benayoun tallied 11 goals in total during his debut season at Anfield, a credible return considering he wasn't always an automatic choice.
It wasn't until the latter half of 2008-09 that Anfield began witnessing his mercurial talent week in, week out. With Liverpool gunning for the title, Rafa Benitez put his faith in the wide man and was rewarded with nine goals and countless assists.
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