Anfield is one of the world's most famous stadiums and is the home of Liverpool, one of Europe's most successful clubs. With a history of more than 125 years, the Kop has witnessed several greats gracing the hallowed Anfield turf.
Defending is an art, and Liverpool have had the honour of calling a few of the greatest defenders in the world to have turned up for them. Now that the Reds have finally won the coveted Premier League that had evaded them for three decades, we take a look at the five best central defenders to have donned the Reds' jersey.
Five best central defenders to have played for Liverpool
5. Sami Hyypia
Having supported the team as a youngster, in 1999 Sami Hyypia was signed by Liverpool for just £2.6 million. Labelled as 'a steal, a bargain', Hyypia showed the world what he was capable of. Forming a formidable defensive wall along with Stephane Henchoz and later with Jamie Carragher, Hyypia picked up just one red card during his career.
Hyypia was voted in 19th place in Sky Sports' 'Top 50 Premier League Foreign Players', 45th in FourFourTwo magazine's 100 Greatest Foreign Players' and 38th in Liverpool's '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' survey.
Underlining the role Hyypia fulfilled at Liverpool, club legend and highest goal-scorer Ian Rush noted:
"He's got to be up there with the best signings the club has ever made."
Ten years, 454 appearances and 54 goals later, Hyypia decided he needed to move on from Liverpool and joined Bayer Leverkusen in 2010.
4. Daniel Agger
Danish defender Daniel Agger was voted Denmark's most promising young player for three years in a row from 2004 to 2006.
He started his career at Danish club Brondby IF where the prolific centre-back was linked with a big club transfer for some time. He finally got his big break during the January 2006 transfer window, when Liverpool snapped up his services.
Then Liverpool gaffer Rafael Benitez famously remarked about Daniel Agger:
"He will be a Liverpool centre-back for the next ten years."
Eight years and 175 appearances later, Agger decided to move back to Brondby after a rather injury-prone last few years. Two years later, at the age of 31, he decided to hang up his boots and bring an end to an illustrious career.
3. Alan Hansen
Alan Hansen cost Liverpool £100,000 in 1977.
Perhaps one of the best signings made by Liverpool, Hansen helped bring eight league titles and three European Cups during his stay at Merseyside. Nicknamed 'Jocky', Hansen was cool on the ball and never lost his calm under pressure.
Hansen was a crisp tackler and his reading of the game was exceptional. He's widely regarded as one of the most skilful central defenders in British football history.
His skills played a key role in Liverpool forging one of the meanest defences in their history.
2. Ron Yeats
Ron Yeats, a stockily-built 6' 2" central defender, was bought by legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly in 1961 for a fee of around £20,000 and was immediately installed as captain.
When Yeats was signed, Shankly was so impressed with the physical presence of his new player that he told waiting journalists:
"The man is a mountain. Go into the dressing room and walk around him".
Yeats was the rock around whom Shankly rebuilt the iconic Liverpool team that won the club's first FA Cup title in 1964 and their first league title in 17 years in 1963-1964. Yeats went on to play 454 games for Liverpool before moving on to Tranmere Rovers in 1971.
1. Jamie Carragher
When it comes to the former Liverpool vice-captain Jamier Carragher, no words are enough to describe his 17-year long career at the Kop.
A one-club man, he was not only Liverpool's second-longest ever serving player, but he also holds the club's record for the most number of appearances in European competitions.
Local lad Carragher started his career at the Liverpool academy, making his professional debut in 1997. Seven years later, he was given the permanent centre-back slot alongside Sami Hyypia. He played an important role in Liverpool's iconic Istanbul miracle in the 2005 Champions League final where the English club recovered a three-goal first half deficit to beat AC Milan in a penalty shootout.
With Hyypia, Carragher formed what was then one of the most ruthless defences in Europe. After a record 508 appearances, Carragher decided to bid a tearful goodbye to his beloved club and received a standing ovation at Anfield.
A philanthropist off the field, Carragher continues to work for disadvantaged children around Merseyside.Published 13 Jul 2020, 17:35 IST