Best Liverpool Players in the 21st Century

Thu 31 March 2022 | 7:30

Legends, leaders and hard workers. Here are the 16 best players who have donned the Liverpool jersey in the 21st century.

It would probably be madness to pick the best players in the history of a club that has been in existence for almost 130 years. However, choosing the best to wear the red jersey of


in the 21st century is a much easier task. This is why we have decided to pick up a list of some of the best footballers who played for the Liverpool football club during the 21st century. Stay tuned!

Top Liverpool Footballers in the 21st Century

In the long history of Liverpool football, there are many dozens of fantastic players. Some have managed to make their mark on the club's history during the 21st century, which is now winding up its 22nd year. The following article features a selection of the best of the best who have worn the Reds jersey with pride in this millennium.

Philippe Coutinho

Brazilian forward Philippe Coutinho transferred to Liverpool from Inter Milan for £8.5 million in January 2013 and quickly proved to be a very good deal for the club. With questions about whether the subtle player could cope with the physically demanding game in the Premier League, Coutinho soon brushed them off as pointless with his great performances for the club.

He had adapted to English competition surprisingly quickly. He made up for his lack of height with speed, football intelligence, accurate passing, quick shooting and immense technical skill. Watching how he could get around the opposition and what he could do with the ball on his foot was a joy. It was no wonder he was on the radar of the most famous and richest big clubs. He finally moved to


for 145 million euros in January 2018, which made him the most expensive midfielder in history.

During his time at the Liverpool football club, he played a total of 201 matches in all competitions and managed to score 54 goals for the Reds. Philippe Coutinho possesses a wide range of technical skills, thanks to the fact that he played futsal as a youngster. He is a pure Brazilian number 10, like Zico or Ronaldinho, and can operate in various positions such as attacking midfielder or winger, as well as a holding midfielder.

With his speed of running, Coutinho is capable of breaking through defences with ease, without hesitation. He possesses a vision of the game that enables him to get ahead of the game and give away precise balls. Coutinho is a pocket playmaker who can detect weaknesses in the opposing team and exploit them to his advantage. His ability to pass the ball, combined with a sense of teamwork, makes him a quality passer of the ball.

Dietmar Hamann

The defensive midfielder Dietmarr Hamann was a loyal and devoted servant of the club for seven long seasons between 1999 and 2006. He played 191 league games for the Reds, during which he netted eight goals. It is interesting that his qualities were only recognised by the fans in the final years of his tenure at Anfield Road. The ex-German international was a major part in the middle of Liverpool's line-up under coach Gérard Houllier and during Rafael Benítez's time. His strength was his simple but very effective play.

Hamann was instrumental in helping Liverpool to two FA Cup wins, celebrated two League Cup victories with the club, lifted the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup trophy over his head and helped to a memorable Champions League triumph in 2005. Coming on at half-time of the final for the injured Finnan, he was the motor that pumped up Liverpool's counter-offensive at 0-3. He wasn't quite fit then.

In the second half he broke his toe with which he played the rest of the game and extra time. Even with that setback, he converted the Reds' first try in the penalty shootout. He was a midfielder and a tactically disciplined halfback, who was also dangerous in long-distance shots, including volleys. He also possessed excellent charisma and personality. He was a very good player and truly deserved a place in the list of best Liverpool players in the 21st century. Stay tuned to know more of the best Liverpool players of all time.

Dirk Kuyt

The Dutchman Dirk Kuyt is perhaps among the most underrated footballers in Liverpool's history. He has spent six seasons at the club, and while he wasn't one of the most technically accomplished players, his concentration and ability to score important goals in big games were a huge asset to the team. Just to mention the hat-trick he scored against

Manchester United

in 2011.

In England, Kuyt has played 208 league games for Liverpool, scoring 51 goals. A further 20 came in cup matches, 15 of which were in continental competitions. Yet despite taking part in both the Champions League and FA Cup finals and a great 2008/09 season in the Premier League, he never enjoyed another trophy at Liverpool apart from winning the League Cup in 2012.

He was adapted to play as a right-winger after arriving at Liverpool while previously playing as a striker. However, he was used in a variety of positions on the pitch. A powerful player, he was very dynamic, fast and resistant to fatigue. Gifted with good technique and tactical sense, he was particularly flexible, sacrificing himself in recovering the ball and applying an asphyxiating pressure on opponents.

Having been moved to the flank, he confirmed his talents both on the offensive and defensive side of the pitch, rushing up and down the side lane from start to finish. Because of his talents as a tireless runner, his coach at Liverpool Rafael Benítez nicknamed him "Mr Duracell", after the popular long-lasting batteries. Fellow great Johan Cruyff, known for his thrifty statements, said that it was a blessing to have someone like Kuyt for a teammate, whose presence provides great tactical balance to the team.

Roberto Firmino

The Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino emerged as Liverpool's workhorse over the past few seasons, building on the four seasons he spent at Hoffenheim in Germany before moving to the islands, where he had been an absolute star. Nowadays he is practically indispensable to the team.

The striker, who has already made 317 appearances in total for the Reds and scored 96 goals in all competitions, became the prey of Liverpool in the summer of 2015, who purchased him for £29 million. A new, improved contract at Anfield Road guarantees him a salary of £180,000 a week and expires in 2023.

Roberto plays as a centre forward, but his flexibility means he can also play as a second striker or a trequartista. He is a very technical player, is right-footed but can also play with his left. With a good nose for goal, combined with great intelligence and the ability to move in the right spaces and times, he has become a key player for Liverpool over time.

Firmino is excellent in pressing as well, able to evade opponents through feints, as well as having a good vision of the game to give assists to teammates. His atypical role of "false nine" suits him particularly well, as it emphasizes his ability in tight exchanges and deep assists for his teammates. Stay tuned to know more of the best Liverpool players of all time.

Michael Owen

Lots of Liverpool fans can't forget Michael Owen's decision not to return to Anfield Road following a year-long loan spell at

Real Madrid

. The fact that he went to Newcastle would most certainly be forgiven, but the fact that he had spent three seasons at Manchester United since 2009 is hard to swallow from their point of view.

However, the former wonderkid of English football is part of the list of the best Liverpool players in the 21st century because when he played in the red jersey of Liverpool, the fans absolutely adored him. Nobody can erase from history the 158 goals he scored for the Reds, nor the fact that he assisted the club to six trophies (two League Cups, FA Cup, FA Community Shield, UEFA Cup and Super Cup). During the eight seasons he remained with the Liverpool club, he played a total of 297 matches for them in all competitions.

Highly skilful and athletically gifted footballer, his key strengths included accuracy, power, speed and great vision, in addition to an excellent nose for goal. Throughout his career, he suffered numerous injuries, which adversely affected his performance at clubs and with the English national team. Michael Owen is undoubtedly part of the top 10 Liverpool players of all time.

Javier Mascherano

The Argentinian Javier Mascherano moved from West Ham to Liverpool for £5.5 million in January 2007. In 2010, when he was heading to Barcelona, the Catalan big club paid almost five times as much for him at Anfield Road - £24 million to be more specific. That already speaks pretty clearly about his contribution to the club.

Mascherano remains one of Liverpool fans' favourite players to this day. No wonder, in his time at the club, he emerged as one of the best defensive midfielders not only in the Premier League, but in the whole world. This former captain of the Argentine national team had great insight and reading of the game, and was a major contributor to the Reds becoming one of the best teams on the European continent at the turn of the millennium.

Known as El Jefecito which means little boss in Spanish, he was a physically and technically skilled midfielder. With his tactical intelligence, vision and passing ability, he was also employed as a regista, and on some occasions was even employed as a central defender. He himself gave credit to coach Rafael Benítez for his maturation as a player, who was his head coach at Liverpool. Stay tuned to know more of the best Liverpool players of all time.

Alisson Becker

Liverpool made Brazilian Alisson the most expensive goalkeeper of all time for a few days in the summer of 2018 (before he was surpassed by Kepa's transfer to


) when they paid £65 million for him to AS Roma in Italy. This happened just not long after the Reds players had peppered him with seven goals in the Champions League semi-final and in spite of the fact that he had only one successful season in a big European club on his sporting CV so far. Except, by the looks of it, it was money fabulously spent.

Alisson was based in his native country until 2016, when he protected the goal for


. Having arrived in Italy four years ago, he patiently had to wait for his chance as a reserve behind Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and gradually convinced coaches of his qualities.

It wasn't until the 2017/18 season that he started to play regularly and became a pillar of the Roma team during their sensational campaign to the Champions League semi-finals. Now in his fourth season, he is proving his qualities in the most watched league competition in the world. With Liverpool, he won the Champions League during the 2018-19 season, and in the following season, he led the team to the Premier League title.

Widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the game, he is a goalkeeper who mixes physicality and agility, goal covering technique and excellent instincts with great reaction, despite his tall stature. He also does well in exits with his feet outside the box, to thwart opposing actions in the open field. He reminds one of Júlio César because, while allowing flashes of spectacle in instinctual saves and being extremely good in the ability to spread himself out even in a low catch against the clock, he is still a fairly straightforward basic goalkeeper. He also happens to be very quick at getting the game going again, with hands and feet, just like his fellow countryman.

Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres was once a god to Liverpool fans, but after he transferred to Chelsea in London in January 2011, he turned into one of the hated traitors. The Spanish striker had arguably the happiest time of his career at Anfield Road.

He was a goalscoring machine for the next three seasons from 2007 onwards and was unquestionably one of the best players in the world. El Niño went on to score an impressive 81 goals in just 142 games in a Liverpool jersey, and he was not taking direct kicks or taking penalties.

Torres was described by pundits as having great vision, world-class skills and a technically skilled forward with a hunger for goal. He was able to create goalscoring opportunities and use his pace and intelligence to break behind defenders.

Torres was a hard-working attacker, known for his tendency to run down and press opposing defenders, and in his ability to create situations for his teammates in addition to scoring goals, sometimes playing in a deeper role as a backline wedge. During the peak of his career, he had a strong head game, was an accurate and prolific finisher, and was regarded as one of the best strikers in the world, scoring with both feet.

Jamie Carragher

The defender Jamie Carragher had his entire professional career at Liverpool. He won twelve trophies, but was never a winner in the English league with the Reds. However, few have performed so consistently and above-average throughout their time at Anfield Road.

Over seventeen seasons he played on both sides of the defence and in the middle, and was even used as a defensive midfielder. Following the 2012/13 season, he hung up his boots at the age of thirty-five with a record of 737 games played in all competitions and remains one of the club's greatest legends and an inspiration to all the aspiring footballers at Anfield Road.

What will remain unforgettable is his performance in the 2005 Champions League final. In fact, he became one of the heroes of the evening. He went all out in the match, struggling with cramp in the final minutes, but fought on bravely and helped win the most valuable trophy of all.

Having started his youth career as a second striker and then a forward, he was then shifted to the role of central defender, which he played throughout his competitive career. He was considered one of the best English defenders of his generation, and had a leadership personality. Carragher stood out for the impetuous tackles he made in the match, in addition to his reading of the opponent's game, which enabled him to play ahead, and his concentration throughout the 90 minutes. He was also able to be adapted as a midfielder in front of the defence, besides being a full-back on both flanks.

Sadio Mané

Senegalese international Sadio Mané is already playing his sixth year in a Liverpool jersey, where he arrived in the summer of 2016 for £34 million from


. Just like in his previous stint, he is one of the mainstays of the team at Anfield Road. His rapid adaptation to his new surroundings has taken many pundits by surprise. Mané quickly emerged as one of the team's indispensable mainstays. The twenty-nine-year-old striker has scored 86 goals in 188 games for the Reds in the Premier League.

In the 2017-2018 season, he helped the club reach the Champions League final, with 10 goals in 13 appearances, which was lost 3-1 to Spanish side Real Madrid (and in which he had scored the Reds' momentary 1-1 goal), with him becoming the team's technical leader due to Mohamed Salah's first-half exit due to injury.

On 13 March 2019, he was decisive in the same competition in reaching the quarter-finals, as he scored two goals against

Bayern Munich

. The English side made it to the final for the second consecutive season, securing the European title by beating their compatriots Tottenham 2-0. The Senegalese scored a double in the European Super Cup against Chelsea and Liverpool won the trophy on penalties after a 2-2 draw in extra time.

Considered to be one of the strongest and most complete African footballers in the game, he is an attacking forward who uses his good sense of position as well as good movement without the ball to make the most of opportunities to find the net, helped by his speed, change of pace in addition to good jumping ability. He is also a good penalty taker. Stay tuned to know more of the best Liverpool players of all time. Today, Sadio Mane is amongst the best Liverpool players 2022.

Xabi Alonso

There is an old saying that you don't know what you have until you lose it. In Liverpool, they might talk about it. You only have to say one name - Xabi Alonso. Indeed, the Spanish midfielder has been one of Liverpool's most popular players over the last twenty years and fans know exactly why he is fondly and respectfully remembered.

Xabi was phenomenal at the defensive midfield position as well; he was the kind of player who had a perfect overview of the game at all times on the pitch and could cement the team's defensive and offensive lines with tremendous flair. He was a born orchestrator, under whose guidance the team ran like a well-oiled machine. He played a big part in the Reds' Champions League victory in 2006 when he scored the equalising goal in the 60th minute to make it 3-3 and send the match into extra time.

Xabi Alonso was a defensive midfielder who was especially adept at building the game, with his vision and ability to interpret the play. His qualities enabled him to be used both as a last line of defence and in a 'relay' position with another defensive midfielder. He was very hard-working and recovered a large number of balls, which he passed on cleanly.

His powerful kicking ability meant that he could take a lot of set-pieces, especially penalties. His precision in both long and short passes earned him a place in the starting line-up for his club and the Spanish national team.

Sami Hyypiä

The Finnish defender Sami Hyypiä first arrived in England in 1999 for just £2.5 million from Tilburg in the Netherlands, and spent ten seasons at Anfield Road, where he became a crowd favourite. That transfer is still considered to be one of the most successful signings in the British Isles.

Hyypiä was rock solid in defence and his leadership skills even saw him wear the captain's armband. He netted one of the most memorable goals on their way to the Istanbul Champions League final in 2005. He scored the opening goal of the quarter-final match against


Torino with an unforgettable volley. Along with Jamie Carragher, he made up one of the best defending duos of the first decade of the new millennium.

A difficult time at the club for Hyypia came when young stoppers Daniel Agger and Martin Škrtel arrived at Anfield Road. Nevertheless, he remained at the club until 2009, when he made his way to the German side

Bayer Leverkusen


In ten seasons with Liverpool, he played 464 games for the club, making him one of the twenty players who have played the most games in the red jersey in the club's history. He was given the captain's armband by substitute Steven Gerrard in his last game on the islands. After the match, he left the stadium to a thunderous ovation from the crowd with tears in his eyes. Sami is definitely one of the top 10 Liverpool players of all time.

Virgil van Dijk

The Dutch stopper Virgil van Dijk made his mark when he was just 20 years old and won a solid place in Groningen's line-up. He enjoyed two extremely successful seasons in the Dutch top-flight before moving to the famous


Glasgow for less than £3 million. At the beginning of the 2015/16 season, his price had already more than quadrupled - he moved to Southampton for £13 million and at the club, he grew into a well-respected Premier League figure in just two and a half seasons.

There were rich big clubs interested in his services, and he finally signed for Liverpool at the start of 2018, who paid £75m to Southampton for the Dutch international. The transfer significantly reinforced the club's defensive ranks and since then, they have had one of the best defensive mounds in Europe. In addition, Van Dijk has also been paid a king's wage - he now earns £180,000 a week and will continue to receive this amount until 2023, when his current contract expires.

He is a physical central defender, who is known for his ability to anticipate and for his clean defensive interventions, but also for his marking skills, besides being a very good header, which allows him to be very dangerous on set pieces; he is gifted with good feet, allowing him to be useful when setting up the game. In addition to his technical skills, he offers a strong leadership ability.

He had demonstrated great self-sacrifice on several occasions, including the two matches in the run-up to October 2018, when he went on the pitch voluntarily despite having two broken ribs. In both games, he was one of the best players on the pitch. Today, Virgil Van Dijk is amongst the best Liverpool players 2022.

Mohamed Salah

On two consecutive occasions (2017 and 2018), Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah has been awarded the prize for Best African Footballer of the Year, and it may not be the last time he wins this ever more prestigious individual trophy. No other player in the history of England's top competition has been able to shoot his way to the title of best goalscorer as quickly after arriving in the league as the Egyptian international did in a Liverpool jersey in the 2017/18 season. He guided the Reds to a

Champions League

triumph in the 2018-19 season, and a Premier League victory a season later after thirty years.

The 29-year-old striker netted 44 goals in 52 matches (32 league goals) during his debut season in the islands, breaking the record among under-26 players, which was until then held by Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suárez with 31 goals. That is why Anfield Road did not hesitate to renew and properly upgrade their superstar's contract in 2018, which guaranteed him a weekly salary of £200,000 until 2023. So far, he has scored a total of 153 goals for Liverpool in 239 matches.

Salah plays as a winger, though he is also deployed in a forward position. He has excellent dribbling and incredible acceleration. With his technical skills and pace and his style of movement on the pitch, he has been dubbed Egypt's Messi. He has an excellent shot from outside the penalty area and is also a great taker of set pieces. Still today, Mohamed is amongst the best Liverpool players 2022.

Luis Suárez

If any contemporary footballer has been labelled "controversial" until recently, it is Luis Suárez, the Uruguayan striker. He showed in less than four seasons at Liverpool that he was a phenomenal player, but on the other hand, he also proved to be a simulacrum and a cannibal who would insult and bite opposing players. However, no one will probably argue the fact that after his departure to Barcelona of Spain, the Premier League lost one excellent player.

Many experts say Suárez was the most talented footballer ever to wear a Reds jersey. El Pistolero impressed at Anfield Road with his shooting ability, quick feet and superman physicality. Not coincidentally, he was the Premier League Player of the Year in the 2013/14 season according to the PFA Players' Association. He only played 133 games for the club, however, in which he netted 82 goals.

An all-round striker, the Uruguayan is a skilled player capable of taking out his opponents individually with the ball at his feet. While his speed is not his greatest asset, he knows how to put it to good use, and his good physical build and hard footwork mean that he often gets the better of defenders. Suarez is an excellent penalty-taker and free-kick taker, but more importantly, he is a striker known for his positioning, finishing and vision, which makes him considered by many to be the best striker of the decade.

Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard was part of the winning Liverpool team that captured the Champions League in 2005. He turned the game around in the final when he scored in the 54th minute to reduce the score to 1:3. The phenomenal performance earned him a nomination for the Ballon d'Or for the best footballer in the world at the time.

In the end, he finished third in the poll behind Ronaldinho and Frank Lampard. A year later, he had to overcome another Champions League defeat to

AC Milan

in the Champions League final. He set a personal best in the 2008/09 season when he scored 24 goals in 44 games against his opponents. Unfortunately, Liverpool ended just a step below the top in the domestic competition back then.

Frenchman Zinedine Zidane referred to him as the best footballer in the world in 2009. He began on the right-wing but over time shifted to the centre of midfield, which was his permanent place. During the 2000/01 season, he played an unbelievable 50 games in all competitions. He was captain of the team from 2003 until his departure from the club in 2016.

In 2012, he lifted the Carling Cup winner's trophy over his head at Wembley. Only a few weeks later, he achieved something that made him an unlikely hero in the eyes of the fans - he scored a hat-trick in the Liverpool derby at Everton, a feat that last happened in 1935.

Following a failed 2003/04 season, there was some talk of him moving to Chelsea for £20m, but he remained with new coach Rafael Benitez. Gerrard remains one of the greatest greats in the club's history and one of the most important figures to have worked there and is undoubtedly one of the top 10 Liverpool players of all time.

source: SportMob

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