Friday, August 12, 2016

Liverpool Greatest All-Time Team

1978 European Cup
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Before the 1960's, Liverpool was not considered among the more successful sides in England.  Their rise began when Liverpool hired Bill Shankly in 1959.  At that point, the club had been playing in the Second Division since the 1954.  Under his guidance, the club reached the First Division in 1962.  They would dominate English football for the next three decades.  At the time of writing, they won 5 European Cup/Champions' League trophies, a record for British clubs.  In the 1970's, they won three European Cups, making them one of the greatest ever club sides in history.
1965 FA Cup
GK: Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwe)
He made 628 appearances for Liverpool in 13 years.  He was considered among the best England-based keepers of his generation. He won the 1984 European Cup, 6 English league titles and 3 FA Cups. Born in South Africa, he was capped by Rhodesia and later Zimbabwe.

GK: Ray Clemence (England)
Clemence was considered one of England's greatest keepers. He won 3 European Cups and 2 UEFA Cups in the 1970's with Liverpool and a UEFA Cup with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He was voted as Liverpool's greatest keeper.  For the national team, he was locked in a battle of number 1 with Peter Shilton.  He made 61 appearances for England.

GK: Jerzy Dudek (Poland)
Dude was best remembered for helping winning the Champions' League in 2005.  In the Final, he saved two penalties in the shootout that beat AC Milan.  He also played for Feyenoord and Real Madrid. Dudek played 60 times for Poland – the second most-capped player in his position for several years – representing the nation at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

RB: Phil Neal (England)
Neal was the great right back from Liverpool between 1974 and 1985. He was one of England's most decorated player: 4 First Divisions, 4 League Cups, 5 FA Charity Shields, 4 European Cups, 1 UEFA Cup and 1 UEFA Super Cups. He also played for Northampton Town and Bolton Wanderers as a full back. Neal also had a long career with England winning 50 caps and playing in the 1982 World Cup and the 1980 European Championship.

RB: Tommy Smith (England)
Smith was a key figure for Liverpool during the 1960's when Liverpool became the most successful club in England.  He spent 16 years with the club. Smith's most memorable moment for the club probably came when he scored the winning goal in the 1977 European Cup final against Borussia M√∂nchengladbach.  He later played in the NASL.

CB: Ron Yeats (Scotland)
Yeats joined Liverpool in 1961 from Dundee United. He was the captain of the side that won the promotion to the top level and began nearly 25 years of successes in England.   He later had three years as player/manager at Tranmere Rovers. Yeats was also player/manager at Barrow and Santa Barbara Condors.
Ron Yates
CBJamie Carragher (England)
Carragher spent his entire career with Liverpool.  He is their second longest serving player in their history.  He won the Champions' League in 2005 and two FA Cups with them.  He had 38 caps for England. He was a part of England's team at Euro 2004 and the WC Finals in 2006 and 2010.  His international career was limited by playing at the same time as John Terry, Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinard, etc.

CB: Phil Thompson (England)
He made his professional debut in 1971 for Liverpool and never looked back.  He was a part of the decorated team that won 3 European Cups and 7 league titles.  He formed a partnership with Alan Hansen that was considered among the best ever in Europe.  he was briefly the captain for Liverpool.  He also earned 42 caps and went to Spain 1982.

SW: Alan Hansen (Scotland)
Among the greatest defender ever from United Kingdom.  He won three European Cups and 8 English league titles with the great Liverpool team of the 1970's and 1980's. Despite being one pf the greatest ever centerback from the UK, Hansen only won 26 Scotland caps. The reason given for his lack of caps by Scotland coaches of the 1980s was that a formidable central defensive partnership had formed between Willie Miller and Alex McLeish at Aberdeen.  he played in the 1982 WC Finals, but he left off controversially the WC in 1986. 
Alan Hansen
CB/LB: Emlyn Hughes (England) 
He was at one point the captain of England and Liverpool.  He was considered to be one of Liverpool's most important defenders.  He played under Bill Shankly in the 1970's where he won two European Cups, four League titles and a single FA Cup. He was FWA Football of the Year in 1977.  He earned 62 English caps. 

LB: Alan Kennedy (England)
Kennedy started his career with Newcastle United, but his best years were spent at Liverpool.  He won two European Cup with Liverpool, scoring a goal at each of the Final.  His international career, however, was limited to 2 caps. He later played for  Sunderland, Wigan Athletic, Hartlepool United, B 1903, Beerschot, Northwich Victoria, Wrexham, Colne Dynamoes, Morecambe, Netherfield, Radcliffe Borough and Barrow.

CM: Xabi Alonso  (Spain)
Xabi Alonso started with Real Sociedad.  He joined Liverpool in 2004 winning the Champions' League trophy in his first season.  In 2009, he moved to Real Madrid, winning the Champions' League again in 2014.  In 2014, he joined Bayern Munich. He was a key member of the Spanish team that won the WC and two European Championships.  His 114 caps make him the fifth most capped player in the nation's history.
Xabi Alonso vs AC Milan at the Champions' League Final, 2005
CM: Graeme Souness (Scotland)
Sounds played for Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough and Sampdoria, but his greatest achievement came while he played for Liverpool. He was one of the greatest ever Liverpool players.  He won three European Cups with them, captaining the team in the early 1980's.  He was also the Player-Manager for Rangers. He also earned 54 caps for Scotland.
Graeme Souness\
CM: Terry McDermott (England)
He was a member of the Liverpool team of the 1970s and early 1980s, in which he won three European Cups and six Division 1 titles. Before Liverpool, he played for Bury and Newcastle United. In 1974, Newcastle United lost the FA Cup Final to Liverpool, where he joined the following season.  He was also capped 25 times for England.  Before Liverpool

CM: Steve Gerrard (England)
He represented his country at the 2000, 2004 and 2012 UEFA European Football Championships, as well as the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups – captaining the team at the latter two tournaments.  He led Liverpool in winning the Champions' League in 2005. He is the third highest cap holder for the Three LionsHe won the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 2006 and the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2009.
Steven Gerrard
RW: Ian Callaghan (England)
Callaghan held the all-time appearance record for Liverpool.  He was a part of the team that made its historical promotion in 1962 and remained on the team as Liverpool won the European Cup twice in 1977 and 1978. Callaghan also played four times at senior level for England.[3] Although he was in the squad for the 1966 FIFA World Cup, he did not play in the final and so did not receive a medal until 2010.

LW: Ray Kennedy (England)
Started his career with Arsenal, but better known for his career with Liverpool.  Liverpool broke their transfer record when they signed him in 1974. With Liverpool, he won three European Cup titles in 1977, 1978 and 1981.  He was a part of England's squad at Euro 1980.  He had 17 caps.

LW/RW/SS: Billy Liddell  (Scotland)
He was one of the early star for Liverpool. He spent his entire career at Liverpool starting from 1938 to 1961.  He was at one point the appearance record holder for Liverpool.  He was voted the 6th greatest player for them.   He represented Scotland at international level on 29 occasions as well as for Great Britain and wartime representative side.  He was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in November 2008.
Billy Liddell  
LW: John Barnes (England)
Barnes was widely considered to be one of the greatest Liverpool players, where he formed one of their greatest team playing alongside Ian Rush, Peter Beardsley, John Aldridge and Ray Houghton.  Before joining Liverpool, he played for Watford.  At Watford, he also helped them to the Final of the FA Cup in 1984. He was voted PFA Player of the Year in 1988 and FWA Player of the Year in both 1988 and 1990.
John Barnes
FW: Roger Hunt (England)
He was a member of England's 1966 WC winning team.  He joined Liverpool in 1958 under Phil Taylor and he was one of the few players who was retained by Bill Shankly when he became the manager.  He helped Liverpool to gain their historical promotion in 1962 and was a key figure during their successes in the 1960's.

FW: Peter Beardsley (England)
Beardsley was one of the few players i history to have played for Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City. His first successes came in the early 1980's while playing for Newcastle United.  In 1987, he joined Liverpool as the most expensive player in England's history.  Together with John Barnes, they formed one of the best English sides of the later 1980's.

ST: Ian Rush (Wales)
He was voted as the third greatest Liverpool player by fans in 2013. He is the Liverpool's all-time leading goalscorer, with 346 goals. He won both the PFA Player of the year and FWA Player of the Year in 1984.  he was European Golden Boot winner in the same year.  He also had short spells with Chester City, Juventus, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Wrexham and Sydney Olympic. Rush made 73 appearances for Wales between 1980 and 1996.
Ian Rush
ST: Kenny Dalglish  (Scotland)
Known as "King Kenny", he was the greatest player for Liverppol in an era where Liverpool was considered to be among the greatest club sides in history.  He won three European Cups with them. He is the cap record holder and their top ever scorer for Scotland. Dalglish won the Ballon d'Or Silver Award in 1983, the PFA Player of the Year in 1983, and the FWA Footballer of the Year in 1979 and 1983. In 2009 FourFourTwo named Dalglish as the greatest striker in post-war British football, and in 2006 he topped a Liverpool fans' poll of "100 Players Who Shook the Kop".
Kenny Dalglish
ST: Michael Owen (England)
Michael Owen began his senior career at Liverpool in 1996. He progressed through the Liverpool youth team. In his first full season in the Premier League, he finished as joint top scorer with 18 goals. He repeated this the following year and was Liverpool's top goal-scorer from 1997–2004.  He helped Liverpool to win the UEFA Cup in 2001.  Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City.  For England, he earned 89 caps.  He was the youngest player to play for England in the 20th century as well as the youngest goal scorers.

ST/SS: Kevin Keegan (England)
Two-time European Footballer of the Year in 1978 and 1979. He won the European Cup in 1977 with Liverpool. He also found successes in the Bundesliga with Hamburger SV.  He later played for Southampton and Newcastle United. He had 63 caps for England. However, his WC appearance was limited to 20 minutes against Spain at the WC Finals in 1982. 
Kevin Keegan
Honorable Mention
Ian St John, Ray Houghton, Peter Thompson, Steve Heighway, Mark Lawrenson, Ronnie Whelan, John Aldridge, John Toshack, Steve Nicol, Sami Hyypia, Jan Molby, Luis Suarez, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Paul Ince, Jamie Redknapp, Pepe Reina.

Squad Explanation
-- I was deciding between Pepe Reina and Jerzy Dudek.  Dudek won a Champions' League by winning a penalty shootout.  He deserved a place on the team. So I took him instead of Reina. I also included Xabi Alonso who was the hero of the 2005 Champions' League title.
-- Carragher did not get the same recognition as the defenders from the old generations. Perhaps, he was not playing in a generation, where Liverpool dominated English football.  Internationally, he was playing at the same time with John Terry, Rio Ferdinard, Sol Campbell, etc.  However, he is the second longest serving player in their history.  He also won the Champions' League in 2005.  
-- Sami Hyypia almost made the team, but I preferred the older centerbacks such as Thompson, Hughes and Hansen.  They played for Liverpool when they were considered to be the best in England. I took Carragher over him because of the Champions' League title.
-- Ron Yeats led the team to grain promotion. He is often credited as turning the club around in the 1960's from a 2nd division side to among the greatest club in Europe.  Ian St John was also credited with the turn around.
-- The Spice Boys of the 1990's was better known for their fashion sense than trophy winning.  None of the players were seriously considered.  Steve McManaman later won a Champions League title with Real Madrid, but his peak with Lverpool was very limited. I have Robbie Fowler as an Honorable Mention.
-- Luis Suarez won both PFA and FWA Player of the Year while playing for Liverpool. That is an achievement in itself.  He was originally selected onto the team, but I took him out upon further review.  Instead, I added Michael Owen.
-- Michael Owen won the Ballon d'Or(the European Player of Year) while helping Liverpool to win the 2001 UEFA Cup. He was also a top scorer for the club. Unfortunately, he left for Real Madrid in 2004, the season before Liverpool won the Champions' League in 2005.  He also played 8 seasons with the club, which is not short.
2005 Champions' League
This is a classic 4-4-2, British formation.  John Barnes, the Liverpool's legend, is reduced to the bench because Liddell is even more of a legend. I pushed Keegan to the wide so that both Dalglish and Rush are on the field as Keegan.

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