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Best Liverpool XI of All Time

Thursday11 February 2021 | 11:00
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It’s time to take a look at one of the greatest European teams ever and see who are the Best Liverpool XI of all time:

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As the most decorated team in England, with 48 major trophies, and as one of the Giants of European football, Liverpool has had some of the greatest players ever represent them. With the club’s success spanning several decades, these players come from different eras but they all have one thing in common and that is the fact that they have won trophies with Liverpool and were successful individuals as well.

So we have decided to undertake a rather difficult task of picking the

best Liverpool XI of all time

and present a brief summary of their time as a Liverpool player as well as their Liverpool win so many trophies over the years. With so many legends in one club, some players like the great Jamie Carragher or Michael Owen missed out on being in this team selection but nonetheless here is our list:

Liverpool All-Time Greatest XI

The formation we chose here to represent the Liverpool all-time greatest XI is 433 which despite being a rather modern formation serves its job well as it will act as a well-balanced formation to include as many Liverpool legends as we can. So let’s see who makes up this team:

Goalkeeper: Ray Clemence

Who else but the great Ray Clemence could take the goalkeeping position in our list of

Liverpool best XI of all time

. The Englishman is one of the most decorated Liverpool players and one of the most proficient goalkeepers in English top flight. His constant presence in Liverpool’s squad during the 70s and the 80s was a big part of the Reds domination of the league back then and it’s the reason he gets the nod here.

Manager Bill Shankly brought Clemence from Scunthorpe United to Anfield in 1967 and Clemence found his place into the squad a year later. He soon became Liverpool’s first choice keeper and his reactionary saves and reflexes helped Liverpool plenty as they went about winning every trophy that was out there. Some of Clemence’ records were just incredible in that period like his record of conceding only 16 goals in a 42-match season in the 1978-79 season with only 4 of them being scored at Anfield, which was broken by Petr Cech in the 2004-05 season as he only conceded 15.

Ray Clemence is only one of 29 players who have over 1000 career appearances and for Clemence 665 of those appearances were at Liverpool. With 5 league titles, 3 European Cups (now known as the Champions League), 2 UEFA Cup, 1 FA Cup and a League Cup, Clemence is surely one of the most decorated players in our best Liverpool XI of all time. Sadly, Ray Clemence finally lost his battle with cancer last year and has passed away but the man that finished his last ever Liverpool game winning the European Cup will always remain in the heart every Liverpool fan.

 

Right Back: Phil Neal

Liverpool is no stranger to having world class right backs, having the likes of Alexander Arnold, but players the like of Phil Neal are hard to come by as he is truly one of the best ever right backs. Although much of the early and latter stages of Neal’s career came at the lower levels of English football, mostly in Third and Fourth Divisions, the success he achieved in the 11 years he spent at Liverpool is reason enough for him to be included in all-time greatest XI of Liverpool.

As far as Neal’s playing style goes, The right back of our choice in the

Liverpool best 11 of all time

was quite attack minded, which earned him the nickname Zico after the legendary Brazilian player. He tended to drift to the middle of the park as well to create long-range shooting or passing opportunities. He was also a great penalty-kick taker which resulted in him scoring over 40 goals for Liverpool in the league.

Phil Neal ended up winning the English top-flight 8 times as well as winning four League Cups, five FA Charity Shields, four European Cups, one UEFA Cup and one UEFA Super Cup. This amount of dizzying accomplishments at the club level make him one of the most decorated English players of all time and certainly one of the most underrated players out there. So there could be no other choice for the position of right back for the best Liverpool XI of all time but the great Phil Neal.

 

Left Back: Andy Robertson

Scotland’s current captain, Andy Robertson, is definitely one of the best fullbacks in football right now, if not the best. The Scotsman is one of the pillars of Jurgen Klopp’s team as the German manager likes to utilize his two full-backs as his main playmakers and Robertson has done an exceptional job of that with the many assists he has provided in recent years which makes him the perfect player for the left back position in Liverpool greatest XI of all time.

Robertson started his career in Scotland soon found his way to the Premier League and Hull City in 2014 and after a relegation and a subsequent promotion with Hull, his performances impressed Liverpool and he ended up joining them in 2017.

Robertson’s attacking mind-set and great technique with the ball helps him operate basically as a midfielder but he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty in the defense and is very competent in one-on-one situations. His quick feet allow him to bomb forward especially in counter attacks and cross great balls into the box.

Andy Robertson’s potency in attack has been proven by the consistent number of assists that he has made over the past 3 years at Liverpool. Robertson has made 38 assists in the Premier League in the past 2 season and a half and has helped Liverpool win the title after 30 years. He has also reached two Champions League finals with Liverpool and has won it once, playing a vital role in both campaigns. In our opinion there could be no other player filling in for the left back position in the best Liverpool XI of all time.

Center Back: Alan Henson

One of several Scottish legends in the Liverpool Football Club is the Jockey himself, Alan Hensen. He is one of the best ever Football League players and alongside several members of our

Liverpool best ever XI

has won everything there was in European football at the club level. An elegant player on the ball as well as being a great defender, Hensen will make the perfect center back duo with the next player in our list!

Alan Hensen’s 14-year career at Liverpool started in 1977 when he joined the Reds from the Glasgow based club Partick Thistle. Alongside Dalglish and Souness, Hensen became part of a Scottish core to a very successful Liverpool side as they became perhaps the greatest English team ever. Hensen’s achievements and longevity as a player was more than his two fellow countrymen at Liverpool and his consistent presence in Liverpool, throughout the decade and a half, were a big part of why the Reds won so many trophies.

With 620 appearances for Liverpool, Hensen is among the players with most appearances for Liverpool. He has won 8 league titles, 4 League Cups, 3 European Cup and 2 FA Cups with Liverpool which is just unbelievable for any player to achieve. He also represented Scotland 26 times which included appearing in the 1982 World Cup. He is without a doubt the best Liverpool defender ever and one of the first name to appear on our list of

best Liverpool XI of all time

.

Center Back: Virgil van Dijk

The man that came so close to winning the Ballon d’Or and Liverpool’s current captain, Virgil van Dijk, joins Alan Henson in the center back pairing of our

Liverpool all-time greatest XI

. The Dutch defender is a generational talent when it comes to defending. A complete defender with modern sensibilities that can assist in the build-up of the attack in addition to being an unstoppable force in defence. One only needs to look at the loss of form Liverpool are experiencing in his absence or the state they were in before he joined them to realize how integral van Dijk actually is to Liverpool’s continued success in recent years.

The towering center back has all the attributes of a great defender but it was his commanding presence that shored up Liverpool’s quite patchy defense and within 6 months led them to a Champions League final. Despite the loss against Real Madrid in that game, this would be only the beginning of can Dijk’s great career at Liverpool. A career that might very well contain a lot more trophies and honors.

If the arrival of Jurgen Klopp to Anfield signaled a new era and Mohammad Salah’s signing ushered in that new era, then the signing of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton was the true turning point in this new era. It was the last piece of the puzzle that made Liverpool a genuine challenger for every trophy out there and that has been sufficiently proven by the consecutive Champions League and the Premier League title they have won since van Dijk has been there. These alongside the numerous individual trophies that van Dijk has won make him the perfect candidate for our best Liverpool XI of all time.

Midfielder: Graeme Souness

You may know him as one of the best Skysports pundits but in his playing days, Graeme Souness helped Liverpool achieve immense success and became one of the most decorated Liverpool players of all time and our choice for the midfield 3 of the

Liverpool greatest XI of all time

. Souness at some point even was the manager of Liverpool between 1991 and 1994 but as a player he joined Liverpool from Middlesborough in the January of 1978 and went on to play for the Reds for the following 6 seasons.

Souness was only 1 of the 3 Scottish players who joined Liverpool back then with the other two being Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hensen, all of whom are also on our list, and they ended up being a part of perhaps the greatest ever Liverpool side. In Souness’ six and a half years at the club, Liverpool won the league 5 times as well as winning 3 League Cups and 3 European Cups. He even became Liverpool’s captain towards the end of his tenure and he ended his career at Liverpool in style, by winning a European Cup in 1984.

Graeme Souness made 359 appearances for Liverpool and scored 59 goals for the club as well as representing his country Scotland in 44 matches and in 3 different World Cups. Souness was a complete midfielder who had a bit of everything which added that needed versatility to Bob Paisley’s Liverpool that resulted in a bag full of trophies. Having won 11 major trophies as a player and an FA Cup as a manager with Liverpool, Souness has become one of the best Liverpool players of all time and totally deserving of a spot in our best Liverpool XI of all time.

Midfielder: Steven Gerrard

In his 17 years stay at Liverpool, Steven Gerrard became their greatest player of all time which is no small feat, as Liverpool are the most successful club in England. Despite playing in an era without any domestic glory for Liverpool, Gerrard helped the club reach 3 European finals, 2 of which they won largely thanks to him. He is probably the greatest captain Liverpool has ever seen so he will be our captain in the all-time greatest XI of Liverpool.

Physically strong and tactically intelligent, Steven Gerrard was a force to be reckoned with. His great shooting ability made him able to score from seemingly impossible distances. He bossed the midfield so well in every way a midfielder should that he drew praises from the likes of Zidane and Pele, who both called him “the world’s best player” at some point. But above all, it was Gerrard’s great leadership that drove Liverpool forward all those years and at times seemed to single-handedly drag Liverpool to success.

Perhaps the greatest performances of Gerrard’s career in which he showed why he is considered one of the greatest midfielders ever would be the 2 finals Liverpool played against AC Milan and West Ham. the first being the 2005 Champions League Final where after going down 3-0 in the first half, Liverpool came back to draw the match 3-3 and win in the penalties. Gerrard took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half as he scored a goal and won a penalty. He did the same a year later in the FA Cup final against West Ham, where he scored 2 and made the game 3-3, only for Liverpool to win it in the penalties.

Gerrad made 710 appearances for Liverpool scoring 186 goals and assisting at least 100 more. He won 3 League Cups, 2 FA Cups, 1 UEFA Cup and 1 Champions League with Liverpool. He helped Liverpool reach another Champions League final in 2007 which they ended up losing and he is considered by many to be one of the greatest midfielders of all time and he is right at the center of midfield in our best Liverpool XI of all time.

Midfielder: John Barnes

Built like a Rugby player the Left-footed John Barnes was an absolute nightmare to any defender he came up against throughout his career at Liverpool. Despite his stature, Barnes was quick and also possessed great technique. The midfielder joined the Reds from Watford in 1987 and soon established himself as a first team played, a position he kept near the end of his Liverpool career in 1997.

Barnes joined Liverpool on what was to be the end of their Golden Age, when a lot of players on this list featured in. so Barnes’ first 4 season at Liverpool were when the bulk of his success happened. He mainly operated on the flanks and ended up consistently scoring more than 15 goals a season which in turn helped Liverpool secure 2 league titles as well as an FA Cup. Barnes’ personal best season was the 1989-90 season where he scored 28 goals in all competition and was named Footballer of the Year, an award he won 3 times in addition to being named Footballer of the Year twice.

Barnes appeared in 403 matches for Liverpool and scored 106 goals, which is an incredible amount of goals for a left midfielder. He ended up winning 2 league titles, 2 FA Cups and a League Cup title with Liverpool and becoming of their best midfielder ever, which makes him the perfect candidate to operate on the left side of the midfield for the best Liverpool XI of all time!

Forward: Kenny Dalglish

There can’t be any bigger legends than Kenny Dalglish since the man became one of the best Liverpool players of all time in his playing days and then immediately became one of their most successful managers ever. He deservedly takes a spot on our

all-time greatest XI of Liverpool

as both a forward and even a manager!

Almost as big of a legend for Scottish national team and Celtic as he is for Liverpool, Sir Kenny Dalglish started his Liverpool career in 1977, having joined them from Celtic after achieving massive success with the Scottish club. Dalglish soon delivered on his rather hefty transfer sum and big reputation and the goals kept coming regularly for Liverpool. He possessed an incredible level of technique which allowed him to find pockets in opposition’s defense and exploit them, either through creating chances or scoring goals.

As if his 169 goals in 502 matches for Liverpool which resulted in them winning 6 league titles, 4 League Cups, 3 European Cups and an FA Cup was not enough for the Scotsman, he went on to become Liverpool’s manager as well and ended up winning 3 league titles and 2 FA Cups in that role as well. Sir Kenny Dalglish is the undisputed King of Anfield and there is no other player more deserving of a spot in best Liverpool XI of all time.

Forward: Ian Rush

When it came to scoring goals for Liverpool, no one has ever been better and more successful than the legendary Ian Rush. The Welshman seemed like he would find the net even if he was half sleep. The Welsh superstar joined Liverpool in 1980 when he was only 18 years old and soon partnered with the more experienced Kenny Dalglish in attack to make up Liverpool’s greatest attacking partnership ever. Rush then went on to become Liverpool’s record goal scorer, a record that is doubted to be broken any time soon.

Despite being a lifelong supporter of Everton, Liverpool’s arch-rivals, Rush chose Liverpool as his next destination after having impressed at Chester City. Liverpool paid £300,000 to Chester, a then-record amount for a teenager, and Rush soon proved well worth it. His natural finishing ability helped Liverpool win several trophies as well as helping him win a European Golden Boot in 1984. But then Rush’s career at Liverpool was divided into two parts by a fairly unsuccessful transfer to Juventus which only lasted a year, before he came back to Liverpool again.

Ian Rush’s 346 goals in 660 matches for Liverpool helped the Reds win 5 league titles, 5 League Cups, 3 FA Cups and 2 European Cups. His position as Liverpool’s top goal scorer of all time is fairly secure as no one has ever come close to his numbers which makes him the perfect candidate to put as the main target man in the best Liverpool XI of all time.

Forward: Mohammad Salah

The third man in our Liverpool best 11 of all time could’ve gone to a number of players ranging from the Ballon d’Or winner Michael Owen to Luis Suarez and even Fernando Torres but for us Mohammad Salah takes the spot mainly because of his consistency at being one of the best in the world season after season and the fact that his arrival signaled a new era of success at Anfield.

Back in 2017 when Salah came back to the Premier League, no one would’ve thought that the once Chelsea reject would turn out to be the Player of the Season and Golden Boot winner in his debut season for the Reds but the 44 goals he scored that season proved otherwise. Although the Egyptian’s numbers since hasn’t been as good as his first season, he has proved a consistent goal scorer for the Reds which is one of the main reason of their success in recent years.

Having scored 113 goals in 180 matches for Liverpool and helping them win a 30-year awaited league title on the back of a sweet Champions League title from the season before, Mohammad Salah is fast becoming one of Liverpool’s greatest players and beats out the other contenders for the last spot on our

best Liverpool XI of all time

and the best part is that he seems like he has a lot more to give to Liverpool!


source: SportMob