Best Liverpool players: the 11 greatest of all time
It's difficult to whittle down the very best players to have represented Liverpool over the years, but that's exactly what we've done here.
Regardless of position, and in no particular order, we've picked out the greatest 11 Liverpool players. Don't agree with our selection? Tell us in the comments below, including who we should have included.
And maybe we'll update this list again, incorporating your suggestions.
1. Ray Clemence
Liverpool’s greatest ‘keeper was ever-present throughout the side’s 1967-1981 trophy glut. Thanks to the wealth of attacking prowess the Reds possessed, he sometimes flew below the radar – and often had few saves to make – but it’s easily forgotten how many scrappy 1-0s Liverpool carved out on their way to titles, with Clem saving the day. Agile and dominant in his area, he rarely had a poor game but had countless incredible ones – just re-watch the 1977 European Cup final, where his stops were crucial. Rightly considered Peter Shilton’s equal for England, too.
2. Graeme Souness
Doing an interview with The Sun and a mixed spell as gaffer have tarnished Souey’s reputation for many Reds, but his bullying midfield majesty was the heartbeat of Liverpool’s most ruthlessly successful spell, when five league titles and three European Cups were won during the Scot's crunching six-year presence between 1978 and 1984. A true leader, Souness could beat you either physically or mentally: he brutalised those who fancied a physical scrap and artfully outplayed those who didn’t.
3. Billy Liddell
A left winger who could also play as an inside forward or up front, he was the Cristiano Ronaldo of his day
One of those golden oldies who now seems almost too good to be true: Liddell played his entire career (1938-1961) for the Reds, as well as serving in the RAF during World War II and working as an accountant. A left winger who could also play as an inside forward or up front, he was the Cristiano Ronaldo of his day: a two-footed, quick, robust, direct goalscorer, who also possessed true loyalty to his club, even when they languished in Division Two. Liddell spearheaded the Reds' resurgence and 1947 league triumph, and was so talented that the team was eventually nicknamed “Liddellpool”.
4. Ron Yeats
Bill Shankly was clearly the man at the centre of Liverpool’s transformation from a deeply average 1950s outfit into a European powerhouse, but Yeats was his most obvious representative on the pitch. “With him in defence we could play Arthur Askey in goal,” Shanks once gushed. The boss was given to hyperbole, but he wasn’t far wrong in the case of the tall and powerful Scot who shored up the backline as Liverpool rose from the second tier to become champions of England.
5. Luis Suarez
Suarez's astonishing one-man mission to menace Premier League defences saw the Reds come within two points of the title in 2013/14
The biting, the racism storm, the manoeuvring for a transfer to Arsenal, the eventual departure to Spain: Suarez’s rap sheet should, in theory, have seen him demonised by Liverpool fans. That it hasn’t is testimony to his ludicrous footballing ability. Suarez's astonishing one-man mission to menace Premier League defences saw the Reds come within two points of the title in 2013/14; of all those who have seduced the Kop, there can be few - if any - with more natural talent than the Uruguayan.
6. John Barnes
Barnes illuminated an era where many English league players were still honest cloggers: his skills had an otherworldly, Brazilian exoticism, and Anfield would collectively draw breath whenever he got the football. An exceptional athlete, he tormented defender down the left wing with poise, grace and style. That Barnes did it all during a time when racism was rife was all the more impressive – as was the fact that he turned himself into a decent holding midfielder when his pace went.
7. Kevin Keegan
A relentless runner, Keegan had the physique of a modern player at a time when many of his contemporaries didn’t take diet or training seriously
‘Mighty Mouse’ is arguably the second-best player to ever wear the Liverpool No.7 shirt, but none worked harder for it. A relentless runner, Keegan had the physique of a modern player at a time when many of his contemporaries didn’t take diet or training seriously. It paid off: his stamina saw him run defenders ragged, and Keegan was so good he became one of the sport’s first crossover superstars. Many Reds felt miffed when he opted to go to Hamburg in 1977 - he’d have surely won a mountain more of silverware, had he stayed.
8. Alan Hansen
One of the finest sights in the English game during Liverpool’s dominance in the eighties was Hansen elegantly swooping up the pitch, opening up attacking options with the same class as a Bobby Moore or Franz Beckenbauer. His reading of the game and positioning were supreme: the Scot would snuff out danger at every turn, stealthily nicking the ball and then giving it to a red jersey with the passing accuracy of a great midfielder. Anfield has not seen a defender of his calibre since.
9. Ian Rush
Rush was a superlative forward whose positional sense, speed and savvy was matched by an instinctive finishing ability
Scoring easy-looking goals is far more difficult than it looks, and Rush was a superlative forward whose positional sense, speed and savvy was matched by an instinctive finishing ability. The Welsh whippet took a while to get going at Anfield but never looked back once he did, notching a record 346 strikes for the club – many of them crucial. Rush was a real grafter, too, working tirelessly as Liverpool’s first line of defence and pressing defenders while Jurgen Klopp was still at school…
10. Steven Gerrard
Never mind the fact that his trophy collection didn’t match his ability, or the heartbreaking penultimate season and the underwhelming final one: Gerrard is undisputedly the greatest midfielder to ever don the Liverpool shirt. During his mid-2000s pomp, he had mastered virtually every element of the modern game, and somehow elevated a series of workaday teams to greatness on a regular basis, twice bringing them close to the league title and – as some reward at least – captaining Liverpool to the best moment in their modern history, Istanbul.
11. Kenny Dalglish
Kenny was the complete forward: sublimely cool on the ball, he could score easy goals, difficult goals, and put them on a plate for others, too. He was arguably the greatest back-to-goal player ever, with an almost freakish peripheral vision, and a standard-setting will to win that he transmitted to the rest of his side. He doesn’t just top lists of Reds, either: back in 2010, FourFourTwo named him the best striker in postwar British football. Still the King.