7 Greatest Liverpool No. 7s

Mark Jones@@Mark_Jones86Featured ColumnistJuly 3, 2013

7 Greatest Liverpool No. 7s

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    Every club has their iconic shirt numbers, the one you think of above all others.

    At Liverpool it's the No. 7, a jersey worn by several of the club's greats over many years of success.

    The shirt hasn't always been a gateway to greatness, of course, with the likes of Nigel Clough, Harry Kewell and Robbie Keane never quite living up to the standards set by their predecessors, whilst it must be noted that another previous wearer of the No. 7―Czech midfielder Vladimir Smicer―only experienced an upturn in his Reds career when he switched to donning the No. 11, in which he scored during a Champions League final no less.

    Others haven't found the shirt to be a burden, though, and here―in chronological order―are seven men who wore it well.

Billy Liddell

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    Liverpool appearances: 534 Goals: 228

    Scotsman Billy Liddell―a player so important to Liverpool during the 1940s and 50s that the club were often rechristened "Liddellpool"―didn't always wear a shirt number during his career as a one-club man.

    When he did, though, it would often be the No. 7, as the winger frequently dominated matches thanks to his terrific goalscoring ability and power.

    A player "discovered" by former Liverpool captain and future Manchester United manager Matt Busby, Liddell was capable of playing in all outfield positions on the pitch but was somewhat unfortunate in that he played in the pre-Bill Shankly era when Liverpool weren't anywhere near the force they are now, with the club bouncing between the First and Second Divisions.

    He did, however, win a league championship and was a runner-up in the 1950 FA Cup final.

    Liddell died in 2001, and a plaque honouring him was unveiled at Anfield three years later.

Ian Callaghan

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    Liverpool appearances: 857 Goals: 68

    Another player who didn't always wear the No. 7, record-appearance maker Ian Callaghan did, however, don the shirt when he made the first of his 857 appearances for the club in a match against Bristol Rovers in 1960―as recalled in this archived report from The People.

    That's enough to get him on this list, and the local lad made good is used to topping plenty of those.

    His appearance record is unlikely to ever be beaten―especially now that Jamie Carragher has ended his career some 120 matches behind―and the midfielder has a collection of honours to be proud of too.

    Five league championships, two FA Cups, two European Cups and two UEFA Cups figure in that, and they make his a trophy cabinet one to be envied by others.

Kevin Keegan

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    Liverpool appearances: 323 Goals: 100

    No one really knew what to expect when Shankly signed a somewhat unknown 20-year-old by the name of Kevin Keegan from Scunthorpe United in 1971.

    Initially seen as a midfielder, Shankly saw Keegan as a strike partner for giant Welsh forward John Toshack―and so one of the most iconic forward lines in British football history was born.

    Keegan was arguably Liverpool's first superstar, with his image and "brand" helping launch the club into a new era.

    He scored 100 goals for the Reds and won three league titles, an FA Cup, a European Cup and two UEFA Cups before a move to Hamburg in 1977, where he was to win two successive Ballon d'Or awards.

Kenny Dalglish

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    Liverpool appearances: 515 Goals: 172

    When Keegan left for Hamburg there were worries that Liverpool wouldn't be able to replace him, but instead they got a better player.

    Kenny Dalglish arrived from Celtic for surely the best £440,000 the club ever spent, and he went on to score the winning goal in the European Cup final at the end of his first season.

    That was just the tip of the iceberg, though, as Dalglish went on to contribute to half of Liverpool's 18 league titles as either a player or a manager, giving so much to the club over that time.

    Regarded as one of the finest British players to ever play the game, the Scot is at the forefront of any debate over the best players to ever play for Liverpool, regardless of what number they wore.

Peter Beardsley

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    Liverpool appearances: 175 Goals: 59

    The Liverpool team of 1987/88 is widely regarded as one of the best in the club's history by Reds fans, but perhaps often overlooked elsewhere due to the ban on English clubs from Europe.

    With the attacking talents of the likes of John Barnes, John Aldridge and Peter Beardsley, Liverpool would win the First Division title by nine points from second-placed Manchester United, with Beardsley a key component of that in what was his first season at the club.

    A gifted attacking midfielder and forward, the north-easterner quickly found fans on the terraces at Anfield and won two league titles and an FA Cup during his four-year, 59-goal Reds career, before he joined Everton in 1991.

Steve McManaman

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    Liverpool appearances: 364 Goals: 66

    The '90s might not have been the most success-laden period in Liverpool's history, but the Reds were often capable of playing some fine football.

    Local winger Steve McManaman was a key part of that, with his rangy, almost effortless style contributing so much to a team that also featured the likes of Jamie Redknapp and McManaman's great friend, Robbie Fowler.

    The winger wore No.17 as the introduction of squad numbers came in with the new Premier League, and that was the number he was sporting when he put on a virtuoso display to score both goals in a 2-1 League Cup final win over Bolton Wanderers at Wembley in 1995.

    He later switched to the iconic No. 7, though, and wore that up until his free-transfer departure to Real Madrid in 1999, where he scored in a Champions League final at the end of his first season.

Luis Suarez

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    Liverpool appearances: 96 Goals: 51

    The No. 7 had been somewhat of a curse for over a decade since McManaman's departure, but Luis Suarez had no hesitation in picking it up when he joined in January 2011. It's safe so say that things have been pretty eventful since then.

    Goals, controversy, performances of supreme quality, but just the one trophy in the 2012 League Cup have followed, with the Uruguayan's future at the club now shrouded in uncertainty ahead of a potential summer move to Real Madrid or elsewhere.

    Whatever happens, he's certainly brought the shirt back into focus and outlined its' importance to a club that pins so much on history and symbolism.

    The No. 7 shirt remains one of those most important symbols.