Best Liverpool forwards of all time
Many top-rated strikers have played for Liverpool ever since the club was established in 1892, over 128 years ago. Some of these strikers have left an everlasting impact on the fans.
But what are the criteria for selecting the best forwards of all time? Goal-to-game ratio? Trophies won? Just how the best Liverpool strikers are determined?
By-and-large the biggest measure of a striker is the goals they score.
The Reds have boasted some fantastic forwards since 1992, from homegrown talents to other strikers all over the world.
Liverpool’s ever-present run in the Premier League has been bookended by a clear stylistic blueprint: formidable at the front, brittle at the back.
Liverpool have one of the best attacking trios right now in the world comprising of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané.
As one of the oldest and most successful clubs in England, Liverpool have had some of the best strikers in the world ply their trade in the club.
Many top strikers have played at Anfield with some leaving an everlasting impression on Liverpool fans. Liverpool currently have one of the most lethal attacking trios in the world in Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Talking about the greatest Liverpool forwards strikers ever, the names of several players like Ian Rush, Roger Hunt, Gordon Hodgson, Billy Liddell, Steven Gerrard and more come to the mind. Let's look at the top strikers who have scored most goals for Liverpool.
Before these players, several forwards have come and gone to Liverpool. So, let’s take a look at who are the best Liverpool strikers of all-time.
From the days of Roy Evans’ Spice Boys to Jurgen Klopp’s current incarnation, the Reds have been spoiled for choice up front, but clearly flawed in defense – and more often than not, their attacking quality has papered over the cracks.
That’s not to say every center-forward to walk through the Shankly Gates has been top-class, with Anthony Le Tallec, David N’Gog, Andriy Voronin, Iago Aspas, Fabio Borini, Andy Carroll and even Mario Balotelli working against type at Anfield.
Talking about the best Liverpool forwards ever, the names of several players like Ian Rush, Roger Hunt, Gordon Hodgson, Billy Liddell, Steven Gerrard and more come to the mind. Let's look at the top strikers who have scored most goals for Liverpool.
Who are the best Liverpool strikers of all-time?
Liverpool have certainly been blessed with talent in front of goal. Here are the top best strikers to grace the red half of Merseyside in the Premier League era, including goalscorers currently firing for Klopp.
Roger Hunt - 285 goals
Roger Hunt, MBE, born 20 July 1938, is an English former footballer who played as a forward. He spent eleven years at Liverpool and was the club's record goalscorer with 286 goals until that number was surpassed by Ian Rush. Hunt remains Liverpool's record league goalscorer.
As one of the best Liverpool forwards of all time, Roger was an integral part of the team during his football career. He played for the Reds for 11 years, starting from 1958 to 1969 and scored a total of 285 goals in 492 matches during that time.
Not only is he the second-highest scorer for Liverpool, no one has bettered his record in terms of league goals so far. While being at Liverpool, Hunt helped the club bag 2 league titles, 3 Charity Shields and the FA Cup.
Regarded as one of Liverpool's greatest ever players, Hunt is referred to as Sir Roger by the club's fans.
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Dirk Kuyt (2006–2012) - 51 PL goals in 208 games for Liverpool
Dirk Kuijt, born 22 July 1980, is a Dutch former professional footballer. Originally starting out as a striker, he played much of his career as a winger.
As another best Liverpool forward of all time, the Dutch forward contributed 71 goals in his six years at Anfield. He won plaudits from the Liverpool faithful for his hard-work and clutch goals. He played an instrumental role in getting the club back into the 2006/07 Champions League finals where the team lost 2-1 to AC Milan.
Kuyt was not always deployed as a striker for Liverpool, owing to the devastating presence of Fernando Torres, but his role as a goalscoring wide-forward earns him a place in our ranking.
A tireless threat on and off the ball, the Dutchman won the hearts of the Kop with his industrious displays on the right flank, and when he was called upon up front he invariably shone.
Only 30 players have scored more goals for Liverpool in the club’s history, with Kuyt netting 71 times in 285 games, while his contribution in big-game situations was near unparalleled.
Ushered out as Brendan Rodgers oversaw a changing of the guard in 2012, it can certainly be argued that Kuyt was allowed to leave Anfield too soon. His title-winning swan song with Feyenoord in 2016/17 secured his icon status with not one but two clubs.
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Gordon Hodgson - 241 goals
Gordon Hodgson (16 April 1904 – 14 June 1951) was an English sportsman, born in South Africa, who is best known as a striker for Liverpool and as a fast bowler for Lancashire.
He was appointed Port Vale manager in 1946, a position he would hold until his death in 1951.
It would be fair to state that Gordon was considered Liverpool’s best attacker ever until the kinds of Liddell, Dalglish and Rush came around. Having played in South Africa during his youth, Hodgson arrived at Liverpool in the year 1925.
During his stint at the club, he came to be known as an unselfish player who connected well with other players while scoring a healthy number of goals. Hodgson continued with Liverpool till the year 1936, scoring a total of 241 goals from 377 appearances.
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Emile Heskey (2000–2004) - 39 PL goals in 150 games for Liverpool
Emile William Ivanhoe Heskey, born 11 January 1978, is an English former professional footballer who played as a striker. He made more than 500 appearances in the Football League and Premier League over an 18-year career, and represented England in international football.
The industrious English forward Emile Heskey played four seasons with Liverpool where he bagged 60 goals in 223 appearances. The best Liverpool forwards’ significant honors include an FA Cup and a UEFA Cup in 2000.
A victim of a warped reputation, Heskey deserves to be considered one of the great strikers of the Premier League era, with his four-year stint with Liverpool seeing him continue the form that made the Reds shell out a then club-record £11m to bring him to Anfield from Leicester in 2000.
Heskey scored 60 goals in 223 appearances overall, making him the 40th highest goalscorer in the club’s history, but it was the hulking center-forward’s all-round play that ensures his place in our top 10.
An archetypal target man, Heskey was the ideal foil for Michael Owen, and it was his selfless work that provided the backbone to his strike partner’s surge to the Ballon d’Or in 2001.
Liverpool won an FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup treble under Gerard Houllier that season, and Heskey was a key weapon in the Frenchman’s arsenal.
Roberto Firmino (2015–present) - 33 PL goals in 92 games for Liverpool
Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Oliveira, born 2 October 1991, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward, attacking midfielder or winger for Premier League club Liverpool and the Brazil national team.
With 56 goals in 165 appearances, the world-class Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino easily makes the list. Now in his fourth season at Anfield and runners-up in last year’s Champions League, he looks to add some silverware to his trophy bin.
“Mo Salah, world class, but not every day. Sadio Mane, world class, but not every day. Roberto Firmino, world class, pretty much every day.” Klopp’s assessment of his sensational attacking trident highlights the enduring quality of one of the Reds’ most continually underrated talents in the Premier League era.
Firmino arrived from Hoffenheim in 2015 something of an enigma, and his misuse by Rodgers threatened to derail the progress he had made since moving to Europe from Brazil. Yet under Klopp, the No.9 has shone.
Blending an undying work rate with supreme technical quality and an improved finishing ability, Firmino is the ideal striker for Klopp. As he nears the 50-goal total in his third season with the club, he should be considered among Liverpool’s very best in recent years.
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Mohamed Salah (2017– Present) - 22 PL goals in 26 games for Liverpool
Mohamed Salah Hamed Mahrous Ghaly, born 15 June 1992, is an Egyptian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League club Liverpool and the Egypt national team.
Considered one of the best players in the world, he is known for his finishing, dribbling, and speed.
As one of the best Liverpool forwards of all time, Mo Salah arguably enjoyed his best year during the 2017/18 season, setting a team record for most goals in a season (33) while winning all the honors for the best player in the Premiership. He finished third in the 2018 Best FIFA Men’s Player award and helped Liverpool finish Champions League runner-ups.
Liverpool best ever forward, Mohamed Salah is the talk of the football world as his magical performances throughout the season got him many awards. In 2017, he was named the ‘African Footballer of the Year’ after scoring a ton of goals.
The Premier League Player of the Year and Golden Boot winner finished the campaign with a surprising league goals for the Reds, including one astounding goal against Brighton on the last day of the season.
Salah may have only joined Liverpool from Roma in 2017, but the impact the winger-cum-striker has made since completing his £36.9m switch has been phenomenal, as well as record-breaking.
Just seven months after returning to England, Salah broke the 20-goal mark in the league, becoming the fastest Liverpool player to do so since Fred Pagnam in 1915 - eclipsing Daniel Sturridge and Fernando Torres, who both scored 20 in 27 Premier League games.
His pace, movement and relentless tenacity make him a devastating option in the final third, and while he is - paradoxically - far from the most clinical, few defences are able to quell his drive. The Egyptian King also has the best chant of any Liverpool player since Maxi Rodriguez.
When Salah was named as the Swiss League Player of the Year while he was at FC Basel. At the awards show, the hostess of the event kissed Salah to congratulate him. The forward was heavily criticized on social networking sites by his Egyptian fans.
“They have spoiled my joy,” Salah told to reporters. “They forgot the prize and concentrated on the lady kissing me.”
Saleh added, “Anywhere I go here in Switzerland people applaud, while my native fans criticize me.”
Daniel Sturridge - 48 PL goals in 98 games for Liverpool
Daniel Andre Sturridge, born 1 September 1989, is an English professional footballer who most recently played as a striker for Turkish Süper Lig club Trabzonspor.
Sturridge has played in the Premier League for Manchester City, Chelsea, Bolton Wanderers, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion.
It's unlikely Sturridge will ever be given the recognition he deserves for his performances for Liverpool, with his injury-plagued run at Anfield souring supporters’ views.
But for his immediate impact on joining from Chelsea at the start of 2013, and his healthy scoring rivalry with Luis Suarez in the ill-fated title charge under Rodgers the following season, Sturridge deserves to be considered among the clubs’ greatest strikers in the Premier League era.
Combining exceptional raw talent with a refined intelligence, Sturridge was starved of opportunities at Stamford Bridge. But given the freedom of the final third at Anfield, he thrived.
Sixty-three goals in 133 games is a phenomenal tally, and his strike in the Europa League final defeat to Sevilla in 2015 was one of pure, unadulterated genius.
Kevin Keegan 1971–1977
Joseph Kevin Keegan, OBE, born 14 February 1951, is an English former football player and manager. As a forward, he played for several clubs, including Newcastle United, Southampton, Liverpool and Hamburger SV.
He went on to manage Newcastle United, Fulham and Manchester City, winning promotion as champions in his first full season at all three clubs, and also the England national team.
Considered one of the best strikers to wear the Liverpool shirt, the quick-thinking Kevin Keegan made 290 appearances for The Reds and netted 89 times.
Winner of three League titles, an FA Cup, a European Cup, and two UEFA Cup he’s also one of the most decorated Liverpool players of all time.
Luis Suarez (2011–2014) - 69 PL goals in 110 games for Liverpool
Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz, born 24 January 1987, is a Uruguayan professional footballer who plays as a striker for Spanish club Barcelona and the Uruguay national team.
Often regarded as one of the best players in the world, and also as one of the greatest strikers of his generation, Suárez has won 18 trophies in his career so far.
In 2011, Ajax accepted a €26.5 million (£22.8 million) offer for Suárez from Premier League club Liverpool. Suarez left Ajax while suspended because of biting PSV's Otman Bakkal!
Therefore, Suarez signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with Liverpool until 2016 to be the club's most expensive signing (£22.8 million) at that time.
Luis Suárez had a slow start to his Premiership career, only netting 11 league goals in his first full season with the Reds.
However, the best Liverpool forward of all time emerged as an incredible force up top the following two seasons where he scored a combined 54 league goals.
The Uruguayan won the 2013-14 PFA Player of the Year award. However, he got into trouble for his racist taunts against Patrice Evra in 2011 and for his second biting incident against Chelsea’s Ivanovic in a 2012 Premier League match.
If it weren’t for a certain messianic presence, Suarez would be the undisputed No.1 in our ranking. That the Uruguayan is not in the top spot is simply testament to the attacking talent to turn out at Anfield in the Premier League.
Joining on the same day as Carroll, Suarez proved the antithesis to the lumbering Geordie. Where Carroll stuttered and stumbled his way through a season and a half with the Reds, Suarez hit the ground running.
Suarez Merseyside zenith came in 2013/14, when he scored 31 goals in 37 games, providing Rodgers with an untouchable focal point in his rampaging, attack-heavy side. Suarez was a mesmeric forward, unable to pigeonhole.
He could be poacher, creator, target man, wide outlet and Liverpool’s key defensive presence all in the space of 90 minutes.
However, in October 2011, Luis Suarez, the Liverpool striker, became embroiled in a running battle with Patrice Evra. During and after the match, the United defender claimed the Uruguayan had hurled racial abuse in his direction.
Suarez was given an eight-match ban after being found guilty of misconduct for using insulting words to Evra.
Suárez maintained that his use of the word ‘negro’ in his row with Patrice Evra was misunderstood by people who do not speak Spanish.
Fernando Torres (2007–2011) - 65 PL goals in 102 games for Liverpool
Fernando José Torres Sanz, born 20 March 1984, is a Spanish former professional footballer who played as a striker.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez signed up the Spanish starlet Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid for a £20.2 million fee in 2007. The rest is history.
The best ever Liverpool forward scored 81 goals in 142 appearances for the club. He remains the fastest player to 50 goals for the side and still holds the club’s highest goals per ratio with 0.637. The only thing missing for El-Nino was silverware.
Torres’s £20m move from Atletico Madrid in 2007 was a major statement of intent from Liverpool: the Spaniard was an established, top-level goalscorer poised to dominate Europe.
He did not disappoint, settling in quickly under Rafa Benitez and forming a devastating partnership with Steven Gerrard.
The pace and movement of Torres made him a menace to defences in both Premier League and Champions League.
Able to finish from all angles, he racked up 81 goals in just 142 games - before his ambitions outgrew the club and he pushed for a move to Chelsea.
If you need any more convincing of Torres’s ability during his four years with Liverpool, just ask Nemanja Vidic.
Michael Owen (1996–2004) - 118 PL goals in 216 games for Liverpool
Michael James Owen, born 14 December 1979, is an English former footballer who played as a striker for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City, as well as for the England national team.
Since retiring from football in 2013, he has become a racehorse breeder and owner and regularly features as a sports pundit and commentator.
Signing to Liverpool on his birthday at the age of seventeen, Michael Owen emerged as one of the greatest English strikers of all-time.
Liverpool best forward ever scored 118 goals in 216 appearances with the side, including winning the Ballon d’Or in 2001. He also earned an FA Cup and UEFA Cup title with Liverpool.
Owen is not a popular man on Merseyside. His departure to Real Madrid in 2004 and eventual move to Man United in 2009 have ensured villain status in some sections of Anfield.
However there's no denying his achievements with his boyhood club, breaking through the academy ranks to establish himself as the leading striker for Liverpool and England, as well as a preeminent talent on the continent.
His game relied on searing pace and remarkable agility, springing through defences with ease and humiliating goalkeepers with his effortless finishing ability. Owen remains the only Englishman to win the Ballon d’Or since Kevin Keegan in 1979.
Robbie Fowler (1993–2001 & 2006-07) -128 PL goals in 266 games for Liverpool
Robert Bernard Fowler, born 9 April 1975, is an English former professional footballer, who played as a striker. In a playing career which spanned between 1993 and 2012, Fowler was known for being a natural scorer with an instinctive goal-poaching ability.
Ranked as the sixth top Liverpool striker of all time, Robbie Fowler took Anfield by storm when he joined the club in 1992. He scored a total of 183 strikes for The Reds, once scoring 30 or more goals in three consecutive seasons. He was awarded the PFA Young Player of the year for the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
Fowler is best remembered for his tenure at Liverpool and is the seventh-highest goalscorer in the history of the Premier League.
Robbie Fowler was known as the Anfield’s God. There's no debating Fowler’s status as Liverpool’s best striker since 1992.
The Toxteth Terror captured the essence of the Reds in the ‘90s, as a world-class centre-forward and a cultural cornerstone. He often toed the line of decency, but his talent made it worthwhile.
A natural finisher, Fowler could create something out of nothing, providing a natural successor to the ageing Rush. Along with Steve McManaman, he had an ability to back up the damaging "Spice Boys" image of Evans’s young squad.
At his youthful peak, he scored 30+ goals in each of three consecutive seasons (1994-95, 1995-6 and 1996-97).
Marginalized by Houllier, Fowler left Liverpool too early, and his heroic return in 2006 - even as a bit-part player - only further cemented his legendary standing at Anfield.
Kenny Dalglish (1977–1990)
Sir Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish MBE, born 4 March 1951, is a Scottish former football player and manager. During his career, he made 322 appearances for Celtic and 502 for Liverpool and earned a record 102 full caps for the Scotland national team scoring 30 goals, also a joint-record.
The best Liverpool forward ever won the Ballon d'Or Silver Award in 1983.
Known as a complete forward, Kenny Dalglish scored 172 goals with the Reds as helped them dominate England and Europe in the late 1970s and 80s.
The amazing “King Kenny” played thirteen seasons with the club, winning six English league championships, three European Cups, the FA Cup, and three League Cups.
He will also forever be remembered for managing the side during the Hillsborough disaster that claimed 96 lives.
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Ian Rush (1980–1986, 1988–1996) - 346 goals - 45 PL goals in 130 games for Liverpool
Ian James Rush, MBE, born 20 October 1961, is a Welsh former professional footballer who played as a forward. At club level Rush played for Liverpool from 1980–1987 and 1988–1996.
Rush is the club's all-time leading goalscorer, having scored a total of 346 goals in all competitions at the club.
The 1984 Footballer of the year helped the Reds win a European championship, three FA Cups, five League Cups, along with five English league titles.
Considered the all-time Best Liverpool striker or one of the best Reds of all-time, the speedy center-forward was also a tireless defender.
Counted amongst the best Welsh footballers to have ever played the beautiful game, Ian Rush established his status as a top-rated striker in Europe and England with Liverpool.
He joined the club in 1980 as a teenager and had an extremely successful period from 1980 till 1986, winning 13 trophies, including 4 league titles and a couple of European Cups.
Rush's personal best came during the 1983-84 season when he scored 32 goals in 41 appearances for the Reds, good enough for him to bag the European Golden Shoe.
Rush eventually joined Italian giants Juventus in 1986 for a British record £3.2 million transfer fee. Rush didn't perform equally as well at Juve, lacking support up front and hence returned to Liverpool in 1988.
This time around Rush continued at Anfield till 1996 and added to his impressive goal tally and silverware. Rush finally bid goodbye to Liverpool in 1996, joining Leeds United.
In total, the best ever Liverpool striker scored 346 goals in 660 matches, a record that still stands unbeaten. Undoubtedly, he is the best striker in the history of the club.
Though far from the peak of his powers in the Premier League, Rush is Liverpool’s greatest-ever goalscorer and was still finding the back of the net well into his 30s.
After enduring a difficult spell under Graeme Souness, Rush’s experience soon shone through as he partnered both Nigel Clough and a young Robbie Fowler in turn.
The Welsh striker scored at least 19 goals in all competitions in each of the 1992/93, 1993/94 and 1994/95 campaigns.
His Anfield tenure came to a muted end in 1996, but Rush was a genuine sharpshooter whose finishing ability and poacher’s instinct made him a star of the Kop.
Jack Parkinson - 130 goals in 220 appearances for Liverpool
John Parkinson (September 1883 – 13 September 1942) was an England international footballer who played for Liverpool as a striker.
As Liverpool’s best player during the pre-World War 1 era, Jack Parkinson joined Liverpool in 1903 and played at the club till 1914, scoring 130 goals in 220 appearances for the club.
In Parkinson’s second season with the club, he scored 21 goals in 23 appearances as Liverpool won the Second Division to return to England’s top flight. Due to injury, Parkinson made very limited appearances in the 1905-06 season when Liverpool won the league title.
As the best Liverpool forward ever, Parkinson’s best season with the club was the 1909-10 season during which, he scored 30 goals in 31 matches. Unfortunately, Liverpool ended second in the league, losing out to Aston Villa. However, Parkinson was the league’s top scorer.
He left Liverpool in 1914 and joined Bury where he played four matches before retiring. Parkinson passed away in 1942, aged 59.
In general, the Reds have had world-class players such as Luis Suarez, Fernando Torresm and Roberto Firmino as the all-time best forwards at Liverpool.
But they've also had their fair share of bad ones.
Mario Balotelli, Andy Carroll and Christian Benteke were all signed for big money but failed to make an impact.
Liverpool fans will also prefer to forget the times they had the likes of Andriy Voronin, David Ngog and Fabio Borini as their strikers.