Liverpool Football Club has seen its fair share of legendary players grace the pitch at Anfield, leaving fans in awe with their incredible skills and unforgettable moments. Among these footballing icons, there’s a special group of players who stand out as the absolute best in Liverpool’s history. From goal-scoring wizards to midfield powerhouses and defensive stalwarts, these top 10 players have left an unforgettable mark on the club, earning the admiration and respect of fans not just in Liverpool, but worldwide.
10. Ray Clemence
The legendary goalkeeper stood as a beacon of reliability and consistency between the posts for Liverpool during their glory years in the 1970s and early 1980s. Agile, commanding, and blessed with lightning reflexes, Clemence was a formidable presence in goal, instilling confidence in his defenders and thwarting opposition attacks with aplomb. His trophy-laden career at Anfield, which included multiple league titles and European triumphs, earned his status as one of Liverpool’s greatest-ever goalkeepers.
9. John Barnes
John Barnes, hailed as one of England’s greatest wingers, dazzled Anfield with his mesmerizing dribbling skills, pinpoint crosses, and thunderous strikes. A true entertainer on the pitch, Barnes possessed the ability to change the course of a match with a moment of magic, leaving defenders in his wake. This ability was backed up by his trophy count, being crowned Champions of England two times, two FA cups, and one League Cup. Beyond his footballing talent, Barnes broke down barriers as one of Liverpool’s first black players, becoming a trailblazer in the sport.
8. Alan Hansen
A composed and elegant defender, Alan Hansen played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s defensive solidity during their dominant period under manager Bob Paisley. Gifted with impeccable timing and an astute reading of the game, Hansen exuded calmness under pressure, marshaling Liverpool’s backline with authority. His leadership qualities and ability to play out from the back were instrumental in Liverpool’s success, as he helped the club lift eight league titles, three European Cups, two FA Cups, and four League Cups.
7. Mohamed Salah
Salah’s instant, meteoric rise to stardom at Liverpool has seen him carve out a place among the club’s all-time greats with his electrifying performances and goal-scoring exploits. Blessed with blistering pace, sublime dribbling ability, and a lethal left foot, Salah has terrorized defenses and shattered numerous records since his arrival at Anfield. His impact extends beyond goals, as he embodies the relentless pressing and attacking verve synonymous with Liverpool’s “heavy metal football” style under Jurgen Klopp.
6. Kevin Keegan
Simply put, Kevin Keegan was one of the most elite footballers of the 70s. With 323 appearances and 100 goals, Keegan’s boundless energy, relentless spirit (and amazing perm) made him an instant favorite among Liverpool fans. His knack for dribbling past defenders and finding the back of the net left opponents scratching their heads. But it wasn’t just his skill on the pitch that endeared him to the faithful; it was his passion for the game and his infectious personality that made him a beloved figure, not just at Anfield, but in the hearts of football fans everywhere.
5. Graeme Souness
Graeme Souness was a force to be reckoned with on the football pitch, described by one observer as a blend of raw power and delicate finesse. Despite his tough reputation, Souness possessed an exquisite touch that belied his aggressive style of play. During his six-year stint at Liverpool, he played a pivotal role in securing an impressive haul of 15 major trophies. Hailing from Edinburgh, Souness initially made his mark at Middlesbrough before Liverpool secured his services for a then-record fee. His impact at Anfield was immediate, highlighted by a thunderous goal against Manchester United in just his second home game.
Souness quickly became the heartbeat of Liverpool’s midfield, culminating in his appointment as club captain in 1982. Under his leadership, Liverpool experienced continued success, with Souness’s steely determination driving the team to victory time and time again. Despite his on-field intensity, off the pitch, Souness enjoyed the finer things in life, earning him the nickname “Champagne Charlie.” His unwavering commitment to winning endeared him to fans, and his legendary status at Liverpool remains unblemished, cemented by his pivotal role in the club’s illustrious history.
4. Billy Liddell
Billy Liddell holds a special place in the hearts of Liverpool fans, revered as the greatest player to ever don the famous red jersey. So profound was his impact that supporters affectionately dubbed the club “Liddellpool” in his honor. His name evokes fond memories of a bygone footballing age, where his mesmerizing talent and unwavering commitment to Liverpool captured the imaginations of fans. Despite the club’s struggles, Liddell’s presence kept Liverpool afloat in turbulent times.
His loyalty and dedication to the Reds were unmatched, as he turned down lucrative offers to remain at the club he loved. A versatile player, Liddell excelled in various positions, but it was his attacking prowess that truly shone, with his goals and assists lifting Liverpool time and again. Off the pitch, he epitomized sportsmanship and integrity, embodying the values of a true gentleman both on and off the field. Liddell’s impact extended beyond the pitch, with his charitable endeavors and exemplary conduct earning him respect and admiration throughout the footballing world. Despite his illustrious career coming to an end, Liddell’s legacy lives on at Anfield.
3. Ian Rush
Goals, goals, and more goals. With a staggering 346 goals in 660 appearances, Rush holds a club record that may stand the test of time. His goal-scoring prowess wasn’t just about numbers; it was about the seismic impact he had on the Kop and opposition defenses alike. Rush’s lethal instincts were pivotal to Liverpool’s dominance throughout the 1980s, earning him adoration at Anfield and across Europe. Despite a modest start and initial doubts about his potential, Rush quickly silenced critics with his relentless work ethic and clinical finishing. His partnership with Kenny Dalglish became the stuff of legend, propelling Liverpool to unprecedented success.
The 1983-84 season stands out as Rush’s pinnacle, with a remarkable 47-goal haul and a historic treble of the league title, European Cup, and League Cup. His departure to Juventus in 1987 left a void at Anfield, but Rush’s eventual return saw him pick up where he left off, continuing to rewrite the record books and etch his name into Liverpool folklore. From his unforgettable hat-tricks to his iconic performances in Merseyside derbies and cup finals, Rush will forever be remembered as a true Anfield legend.
2. Steven Gerrard
“Captain Fantastic”. Rising through Liverpool’s youth academy, Gerrard made his debut in 1998, initially struggling to find his footing on the right wing. However, a move to central midfield proved transformative, forming a formidable partnership with Jamie Redknapp despite setbacks from injuries. Named club captain in 2003, Gerrard’s loyalty was tested amidst trophyless seasons, contemplating a departure before embracing Rafael Benitez’s vision.
His role in the miraculous 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul alone will forever remain iconic, where Gerrard single-handedly dragged Liverpool from being down 3-0 at halftime to clinching victory on penalties against a legendary AC Milan side. Subsequent seasons showcased Gerrard’s prowess, earning accolades such as the PFA Player of the Year and leading Liverpool to FA Cup glory in 2006. Despite enduring heartbreaks, Gerrard remained a stalwart, before embarking to MLS side LA Galaxy. As of writing, Gerrard is currently a club manager in Saudi Arabia.
1. Kenny Dalglish
Kenny Dalglish ascended to the role of Liverpool’s first player/manager in 1985, already revered as the undisputed King of the Kop. Entrusted with guiding the club through the aftermath of the Heysel Stadium tragedy, Dalglish faced a monumental task at just 34 years old. Yet, he seamlessly transitioned into management, leading Liverpool to their inaugural league and FA Cup double, a feat made sweeter by victories over rivals Everton. Dalglish’s ability to balance his dual role was exemplified by his crucial contributions on the pitch, including the winning goal that secured the championship.
While his managerial tenure encountered setbacks, notably losing Ian Rush to Juventus, Dalglish’s recruitment of talents like John Barnes and Peter Beardsley revitalized Liverpool, fostering an era of exhilarating football at Anfield. Despite triumphs on the field, the dark shadow of the Hillsborough tragedy cast a pall over the club, ultimately taking its toll on Dalglish. After guiding Liverpool to their 18th league title, Dalglish’s emotional strain became evident, culminating in his unexpected resignation following a heartbreaking draw with Everton in the FA Cup. Dalglish would return to the club decades later as a stop-gap manager between Roy Hodgson and Brendan Rodgers, winning the League Cup during that time. Overall, Dalglish marked by success as both player and manager, solidified his status as the undisputed King of the Kop, and the greatest Liverpool player of all-time.