Goalkeeper: Pepe Reina
For many years, it was Ray Clemence who was most Liverpool fans choice as their best ever goalkeeper at Anfield, but after years of searching to find a worthy successor to messers Clemence and Grobbelaar, we have found a matador. Signed for a bargain £6m by Rafa Benitez in 2005, Reina had a mixed first season in the Premier League, but became a hero in the penalty shoot-out win in the 2006 FA Cup Final.
From there, he went from strength to strength, showing incredible consistency, fantastic shot stopping skills and agility. His distribution is second to none, with technique and passing range with either foot that any midfielder would be proud of, he has been the catalyst of so many attacks.
So from assisting goals, to sweeping up behind the back four, to pulling off great saves, Pepe Reina is my first choice between the sticks.
Left Back: Alan Kennedy
Alan Kennedy was a modern day full-back 30 years ahead of his time. Defensive ability, mixed with great attacking runs and a tendency to score important goals at key times, like the winner in the 1981 European Cup Final against Real Madrid. He was signed for Liverpool in 1978 by the shrewdest judge of a player in British football, Bob Paisley.
During his seven years at the club, he gave great service and is still held in high regard amongst supporters to this day.
Centre Back: Alan Hansen
A truly wonderful defender, a great reader of the game, blessed with impeccable timing and superb technique. His runs, carrying the ball into midfield, were a regular feature of his game, committing opposition midfielders and creating space for his own.
Hansen won league titles, European Cup, FA Cups and League Cups in his 14 years at the club, lifting many as captain before injury forced him to retire in 1991. Hansen was simply a Rolls Royce of a footballer.
Centre Back: Sami Hyypia
The big Fin came to Liverpool in 1999 from Dutch club Willem II for just £2.6m and was arguably Gerard Houllier’s best signing. Hyypia quickly established himself as a quality centre half; strong in the air, good on the ground, a great tackler and showed the leadership skills that made him a natural captain.
When he was replaced by Steven Gerrard as club captain, he never spoke ill of Gerrard or sulked about being stripped of his captaincy, he simply got behind the new skipper, such was his professional approach towards the game.
Right Back: Phil Neal
Phil Neal was the model of consistency during his time at the club and if you were awarded a penalty, he was the man to take it. Scoring an impressive 60 goals in 650 games over 11 years as a Liverpool player after being signed from Northampton Town by the great Bob Paisley in 1974.
Though not spectacular, he was always solid; his 50 caps for England and countless winners’ medals were a testament to that.
Left Midfield: John Barnes
His famous goal for England against Brazil wowed many fans, but after moving to Anfield in 1987, he wowed Liverpool fans week in, week out. He was a mesmerising winger, his link up play and understanding with fellow summer 87’ recruit, Peter Beardsley, was fantastic.
He was quick, strong, has classy technique, a great dribbler, had the vision for a pass that served him well when he moved infield later in his career and not only scored his fair share of goals, but also scored some spectacular ones too.
Signed by Kenny Dalglish for £1.9m, he became one of the greatest ever players in the clubs illustrious history.
Centre Midfield: Graeme Souness
Although his time as manager was unsuccessful and he made himself very unpopular with fans, there can be no denying his achievements as a player for the Reds and the fact that he was quite simply an outstanding footballer. Passion, desire and an insatiable will to win were trademarks of the tough tackling Scot, as were his technical ability and powerful shot.
Yet another Bob Paisley signing, he was an out and out winner, a midfield enforcer who could play and was missed when he left the club to join Sampdoria after lifting the European Cup as captain in 1984.
Centre Midfield: Steven Gerrard
A boyhood Liverpool fan, Gerrard has fulfilled his dream to not only play for the club, but also captain it and lift the Champions League Trophy. His swashbuckling runs and goals have become his trademark, so often dragging his team out of difficult positions and being the man to stand up when needed.
He has touch, vision, control, great passing ability, can tackle, go past players, scores goals, has great technique striking the ball, good in the air, a leader and a versatility that has seen him play effectively in almost every outfield position; simply put: Steven Gerrard is the perfect modern day footballer.
Right Midfield: Steve McManaman
I would have quite happily paid just to watch Steve McManaman play in the 90’s. After coming through the youth ranks, his mazy runs unsettled opponents, changed games and were a joy to watch. Perhaps he could have scored more goals for Liverpool, but he certainly did score some memorable ones, including him dribbling the ball from inside his own half against Celtic.
His ability on the ball and instinct later made him a European champion in the ‘Galacticos’ Real Madrid side along the likes of Zidane and Figo, but I’ll always remember his understanding with Robbie Fowler that gave me some joyous moments watching the Redmen.
Striker: Kenny Dalglish
Legend, genius, King. Still regarded as Liverpool’s greatest ever player, the mercurial Scot had the touch, vision and technique that only the true all-time greats of the game possess. Signed by, who else but, Bob Paisley in 1977 from Celtic for a then club record fee.
He capped his first season off by scoring the winning goal in the 1978 European Cup final at Wembley, one of many important goals for the club that also included the winner at Stamford Bridge in 1986, his first season as Player-Manager, that made Liverpool League champions that season.
He had an amazing strength on the ball and his partnership with Ian Rush was almost telepathic at times.
Striker: Ian Rush
Think about goals for Liverpool and you can’t help but think of Ian Rush. Yet another Bob Paisley acquisition, Rushie was plucked from Chester and initially struggled, but Paisley’s faith in the Welsh striker was paid back in spades with a total 346 goals in 660 games during his two spells at the club, either side of a somewhat ill-fated year at Juventus.
However, there was more to him than goals, the Liverpool defence started with the hard work of Rush pressing the opposition; his pace, movement and timing of his runs made it easier for the likes of Dalglish, Barnes and Beardsley to create opportunities and more often than not, Rush would finish them off.
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Published with permission from O-Posts.