Ray Kennedy or Graeme Souness? Phil Neal or Trent Alexander-Arnold? Ray Clemence or Jerzy Dudek? There have been countless legends who have worn the famous red strip and helped lead Liverpool to European glory, with the club winning the title six times.
Ahead of their Champions League final showdown with Real Madrid this weekend, whose own best European XI we compiled yesterday, we have decided to put together who we feel are the greatest 11 players to have won Europe’s grand prize with the Merseyside outfit.
Goalkeeper: Ray Clemence (1977, 1978, 1981)
The late Ray Clemence is highly thought of as Liverpool’s greatest ever goalkeeper and on the basis that he has won half of the club’s major European honours, no one compares to him for this spot in the side. He is a Liverpool legend and his heroics in this dominant period helped pave the way for the club’s success in Europe in the modern era. Having cost just £18,000, he was certainly money well spent.
Right-back: Phil Neal (1977, 1978, 1981, 1984)
While current Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold is playing a different way to a traditional right-sided defender, Phil Neal had a perfect combination of skills in his locker that made him useful in attack as well as defence. He is Anfield royalty as no Liverpool player has won more silverware for the Reds than him (23 titles). And to further cement his place in this side, he was on the scoresheet for both the 1977 and 1984 finals.
Centre-back: Alan Hansen (1978, 1981, 1984)
Long before he became a TV pundit and famously said ‘you can’t win anything with kids’, Alan Hansen was the Scottish shield of Liverpool’s backline for three of their European triumphs and his ability with the ball at his feet, paired with his outstanding challenges, heavily influenced the way Liverpool played - a Rolls Royce of a defender, as they say.
Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk (2019)
He may not have the same European success as Hansen but Virgil van Dijk has been a symbol of Liverpool’s recent resurgence under Jurgen Klopp. People were left shocked as he joined from Southampton for £75 million but he has been worth every single penny because of the class and composure he brings to the defence. One Champions League, a Premier League, a Carabao Cup and now an FA Cup to his name - he has been sensational.
Left-back: Andrew Robertson (2019)
There is a fine trend with Liverpool enjoying success with Scottish players and Robertson is right up there with his compatriots who have also played for the Reds. Like Van Dijk, Robertson has been key to Klopp’s revolution and his role as the modern day full-back in acting as another outlet in attack has been integral to their recent success. He is adored by the fans and he always shows 110% commitment. You’ll always see him making darting runs in the 85th minute as though it was the first and he had a full tank.
Central midfielder: Graeme Souness (1978, 1981, 1984)
Scottish midfielder Graeme Souness was a delight to watch on the pitch, not only for his aggressive style but his elegant touches too. Perfect examples include the inch-perfect pass he played to compatriot Kenny Dalglish in the 1978 European Cup final and leaving Dinamo Bucharest captain Lica Movila with a broken jaw in the 1984 semi-final.
Central midfielder: Steven Gerrard (2005)
The iconic Liverpool midfielder of the Premier League era, Steven Gerrard was the club’s inspiration for almost 20 years. He was instrumental in his side’s astonishing comeback against AC Milan in the 2005 final. His header got them up and running and that, along with his strong character, lifted the players around him.
Right-winger: Mohamed Salah (2019)
There is not much more to be said that hasn’t already been said regarding Mohamed Salah at Liverpool - he has been simply incredible. The Egyptian's goalscoring record has been out of this world and he has been instrumental in the club’s recent resurgence and successes. He has helped his side to three Champions League finals including this season’s and he will be hoping to double up on his European honours on Saturday.
Left-winger: Steve Heighway (1977, 1978)
The Republic of Ireland winger was playing for non-league Skelmersdale when he was snapped up by Liverpool in 1970 but he went on to be one of the most exciting players to ever wear the shirt. He was the kind of winger that always had you on the edge of your seat, much like Salah has in recent years. He was part of the strong side of the 70s which won historic back-to-back European Cups.
Centre-forward: Kenny Dalglish (1978, 1981, 1984)
The Scotsman is truly one of the greats when it comes to Liverpool FC. He came to the club as a 15-year-old for a trial in front of Bill Shankly and went on to leave a lasting legacy at Anfield. He was magical to watch and had an eye for goal, too. He scored 172 goals for the Reds, one of which was the one that clinched the 1978 European Cup. He was given the nickname ‘King Kenny’ and one of the stands at Anfield is named after him.
Striker: Ian Rush (1981, 1984)
Ian Rush is the most prolific goalscorer to ever wear a Liverpool shirt. While Dalglish had a mixture of goals and creativity, Rush was the huntsman who had one singular ambition when on the pitch. He is Liverpool’s record goalscorer with a staggering haul of 346. His pace and skill were a frightening combination for defenders. With his abundance of goals for the club it was no surprise that he became the first Brit to win the European Golden Shoe.
*18+ | BeGambleAware