Top 10 All-Time Liverpool Strikers

Kaustav BoseCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2010

Top 10 All-Time Liverpool Strikers

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    Ian Rush and Dalglish

    Although the recently concluded Summer transfer window didn't quite end according to plan, as Roy Hodgson failed to lure another striker to the squad ensuring a more complete look, Liverpool FC , one of the most famous football clubs around the globe has a rich history of famous strikers who had joined the club at various stages of if its evolution to further enrich its heritage.

    Here I have enlisted 10 players who have achieved great heights playing for the club upfront and shouldering the most attractive option for the club, i.e., Scoring goals. 

Fernando Torres, El-Nino

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Certainly the best signing under the controversial Liverpool FC manager Rafael Benitez, Fernando Torres has a goal scoring record for the club , which is matched by no other in terms of goals per match basis for a considerable extent. Bearing ample testimony to that fact is Torres’ record of being the fastest ever to score 50 goals for Liverpool FC .

    As it stands now  Torres has scored 56 goals in 87 matches, an impressive 0.634 goals per game ratio.

     Torres started his career with Atlético Madrid, progressing through their youth system. He made his first team debut in 2001 and finished his career with the club having scored 75 goals in 174 La Liga appearances. Prior to his La Liga debut, Torres played two seasons in the Segunda División, making 40 appearances and scoring seven goals. He joined Premier League club Liverpool in 2007 after signing for a club record transfer fee. He marked his first season at Anfield by being Liverpool's first player, since Robbie Fowler in 1995–96, to score more than 20 league goals in a season. Torres became the fastest player in Liverpool history to score 50 league goals after scoring against Aston Villa in December 2009.

     Although Fernando Torres has suffered long spells of injury-hit terms whilst at Liverpool, he remains the only recognized striker for Liverpool’s present squad.

    He scored his first goal of the season with the winner in a 1–0 victory over West Brom on 29 August, which was his 50th goal in all competitions to be scored at Anfield.

The Wonder Boy, Michael Owen

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    Liverpool signed Owen after he graduated from Lilleshall at 16, and joined the club on the Youth Training Scheme. The star of Liverpool's 1996 FA Youth Cup triumph, scoring in the final against a West Ham United team that included Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand, Owen scored prolifically as he rose rapidly through the Anfield ranks. After four months, he signed professional forms for the senior team just after his seventeenth birthday on 18 December 1996.

    He made his debut for Liverpool against Wimbledon in May 1997, coming on as a substitute and scoring a goal. With an injury to Robbie Fowler, he was thrust immediately into action as a first team regular alongside the likes of newcomer Paul Ince and playmaker Steve McManaman in the following 1997–98 season. He scored his first European goal for the club against Celtic in the UEFA Cup and recorded his first professional hat-trick against Grimsby Town in the League Cup. His first Premier League hat-trick came later that season at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday. Owen ended that season as a joint top scorer in the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers' Chris Sutton and Coventry City's Dion Dublin, scoring eighteen goals, and was voted the PFA Young Player of the Year by fellow professionals.

    The 1998–99 season proved to be another good season for Owen as he scored 23 Goals in 40 games for Liverpool.. Owen managed to score 12 goals and helped Liverpool to qualify for the UEFA Cup.

    In the 2000–01 season, he helped the club to their most successful season in several years. The team won the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup, with Owen scoring two goals in the last few minutes against Arsenal in the FA Cup final to turn what had appeared to be a 1–0 defeat into a 2–1 victory, the game has since been christened "The Michael Owen Cup Final".

    Winning the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup allowed Liverpool to play in the Charity Shield and the UEFA Super Cup at the beginning of the 2001–02 season. Liverpool won both matches with Owen scoring the second goal of the 2–1 win over Manchester United in the Charity Shield and the third goal in the 2001 UEFA Super Cup win over European champions Bayern Munich. Liverpool thus became the first English team to win five trophies in one calendar year.

     At the end of the year 2001, Owen became the first English player in twenty years and the only Liverpool player ever to win the European Footballer of the Year award. He was also voted World Soccer player of the year in 2001; he is the only English player to win the award and was the first Premier League player to do so. He scored his 100th goal for Liverpool on 21 December 2001 against West Ham United. Liverpool finished second in the league in the 2001–2002 season and Owen played a key part in the success, scoring 28 goals.

    The 2002–03 season saw Owen on top form again as he hit 28 goals. Liverpool were on top of the table and looked like genuine title contenders for the first time in several years, but a run of bad results saw them eventually finishing fifth in the table. Owen also scored at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff when Liverpool beat Manchester United 2–0 to win the League Cup and scored his 100th Premier League goal against West Bromwich Albion.

    In an injury-hit 2003–04 season he still managed to score 19 goals, getting his 150th goal for the club      on 15 February 2004 against Portsmouth, but otherwise it was a bleak season for both him and Liverpool.

    Since 1998 Owen had been Liverpool's top scorer every season until he left the club. Real Madrid signed him for a fee of £8 million on 13 August 2004, with midfielder Antonio Núñez moving in the other direction as a make-weight.

Robbie Fowler

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    Robbie Fowler can easily be considered as Liverpool’s first prolific goal scorer in the premier League era. His career began with Liverpool as a youth team player on leaving school in the summer of 1991, signing professional terms on his 17th birthday, 9 April 1992.

    Fowler's first involvement with the Liverpool first team came on 13 January 1993, when he was an unused substitute in an FA Cup third round tie against Bolton Wanderers. In the following close season, Fowler helped the England under-18 team win the 1993 European Championship, before making a scoring first-team debut in Liverpool's 3–1 win in a first round League Cup tie at Fulham on 22 September 1993. Fowler scored all five goals in the second leg at Anfield two weeks later, making him the fourth player in Liverpool's history to score five in a senior fixture. He scored his first league hat-trick against Southampton in only his fifth league game.

    In the 1994–95 season, Fowler was an ever-present for Liverpool, playing in all of their 57 competitive matches, including the victory in the 1995 League Cup final, and a match against Arsenal in which he scored the Premier league's fastest ever hat-trick- in four minutes and 33 seconds, a record that still stands. Fowler was voted the PFA Young Player of the Year in two consecutive years in 1995 and 1996, a feat equalled only by Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney.

    Throughout the mid and late 1990s, Fowler was widely considered to be the most natural finisher playing in England. Fowler sealed this reputation as he scored more than 30 goals for three consecutive seasons, up to 1997. Fowler's partnership with Steve McManaman was largely described as the reason why Liverpool had become the club known for being the most potent attacking force in England at the time, and Fowler was reknowned for scoring goals of all varieties, from every angle and distance.

    Stan Collymore, Fowler's strike partner from 1995 to 1997, said in his autobiography that Fowler was the best player he has ever played alongside. Fowler and Collymore were among the most prolific goal-scoring strike partnerships in England during the 1995–96 season. In the same season he scored twice in a 4–3 victory over Newcastle United, a match voted the best of the decade in a Premier League poll. The match helped prevent Newcastle from winning the league, but it was not enough for Liverpool to clinch the title; they finished third while Manchester United were crowned champions.

     On 14 December 1996, he scored four against Middlesbrough, including his hundredth for Liverpool. This meant he reached a century of goals one game quicker than his first strike partner, Ian Rush, in just 165 games.

    Fowler’s actions on the pitch however ranged from exemplary to derogatory. He won the  UEFA Fair Play award in 1996 but also had a few match bans and fines imposed on him for his controversial goal celebrations.  

    Being injury-hit and with problems surrounding the Liverpool FC coaching management, Robbie Fowler left Liverpool FC in 2001 to join Leeds United after having scored 120 goals for the club in 236 appearances.

    On 27 January 2006, Fowler rejoined Liverpool from Manchester City on a free transfer, signing a contract until the end of the season. Fowler had remained a Liverpool fan after he left the club; he was in the Istanbul crowd when Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005.

    The fans were overjoyed to learn that Fowler had returned; there were large banners in the game against Birmingham City which read 'God - number eleven, welcome back to heaven', with 'God' being Fowler's nickname while he was previously at Liverpool. He opened his account for the second time against Fulham, the same team against which he had begun scoring 13 years earlier for Liverpool FC.

    Later, in what transpired to be his last appearance for the club, against Charlton Athletic on 13 May, Fowler was given the captain's armband one final time. He was substituted two minutes from the final whistle and given a standing ovation. The crowd still chanted his name as the match finished and applauded him for his years of service. He finished his second run as a Liverpool player with a UEFA Champions League runners-up medal, although he was not named in either the starting eleven or the seven substitutes. He became a free agent on 1 July having scored 183 goals in 369 appearances during his two spells at the club.

Peter Beardsley

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    In what proved to be a record 1.9 million transfer , Peter Beardsley was transferred from Newcastle to Kenny Dalglish’s  Liverpool .

    With John Aldridge already signed , Liverpool FC formed another feared partnership upfront pairing him up with Peter Beardsley.

    Although at the time Beardsley joined, Liverpool happened to rule the market as they also went on to the sign, the much reputed winger,  John Barnes from Watford .

     Beardsley's first goal for his new club came on 29 August 1987 in the 4–1 victory over Coventry City at Highfield Road, with Beardsley scoring in the 83rd minute. He helped Liverpool to a record-equaling 29 league matches undefeated, as Liverpool convincingly strolled to the League title with just two defeats to their name.

    Beardsley scored 15 league goals in his first season for Liverpool, level with John Barnes as the club's highest scorer behind John Aldridge.

    Beardsley went on scoring consistently and easily became one of the feared strikers in Europe.

    During Beardsley's Anfield career, he played in 175 matches and scored 59 goals, but it was his vision, guile, and all action style of play that endeared him to the Anfield faithful.

     

John Aldridge

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    John Alridge was much needed addition to the Liverpool squad as losing one of their all-time great strikers, Ian Rush, to the Italian side was a huge blow to the club.

    Liverpool were losing their chief and talismanic goal machine Ian Rush to Juventus at the end of the 1986/87 season and needed a proven and experienced replacement. Aldridge even bore a physical resemblance to Rush.

    He signed for Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool on 27 January 1987 for £750,000 and made it to the first team line up  with the club as a partner for Rush (filling a position previously occupied by player-manager Kenny Dalglish and fellow striker Paul Walsh) as Liverpool ended the year trophy-less, including a Wembley defeat to Arsenal in the League Cup final, for which Aldridge was ineligible.

    Aldridge made his debut for the Reds on 21 February 1987, when he came on as a 46th-minute substitute for Craig Johnston in the 2-2 league draw with Aston Villa at Villa Park. His first goal for his new club came a week later on 28 February; it came in the 60th minute and was the only goal of the game as Liverpool beat Southampton 1-0 in a league match at Anfield.

    After Rush left, Aldridge scored 26 goals in what turned out to be a magnificent season for Liverpool, including a strike in each of the first nine games.

    He linked up with new signings Peter Beardsley and John Barnes to form one of the most exciting attacking lines in the club's history, as Liverpool lost just twice in the League championship season and went unbeaten for the first 29 matches.

    During a memorable stay at Anfield , Aldridge played 104 times for his boyhood favourites scoring 63 goals—50 of them in the Football League .

John Toshak

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    In what proved to be another major coup for Liverpool FC, Bill Shankly managed to nab this giant striker from Cardiff for £110,000 in November 1970.

    Thus was formed the much renowned partnership of Keegan and Toshak. Both the players combined to form a telepathic relationship with one another and were extremely effective in breaking down the opposition defences with ridiculous ease. 

    Toshack’s superiority in the air, along with Keegan’s finishing ability, was a joy to watch and they were likened to the fictitious “Batman and Robin”. They were a delight for commentators, as their names rolled off the tongue easily. One famous piece of commentary by David Coleman went "Toshack, Keegan, one nil!"

    By the time Keegan left for German side Hamburg SV, he had scored exactly 100 goals with a large percentage of them being set up by Toshack.

     

    During his time with Liverpool, Toshack scored 96 goals. He was part of the team that won the Football League Championship in 1973, 1976, and 1977, the FA Cup in 1974, and the UEFA Cup in 1973 and 1976. He played for the Welsh national football team at schoolboy, under-23, and full international level, earning 40 caps and scoring 12 goals, including a hat trick against Scotland in the 1979 British Home Championship.

     

    In his own way though, John Toshak will always be remembered as one of the most talented strikers to ever play for Liverpool

Kevin Keegan

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    Kevin Keegan was arguably one the better signings made by the legendary Bill Shankly.

    After Shankly snapped Keegan up from Scunthorpe United’s first team where despite his age—he scored 18 goals in 124 games for the club. Shankly was ready to hand him a £35,000 transfer fee took him to Liverpool in 1971 at the age of 20 . Keegan made his Liverpool debut against Nottingham Forest at Anfield, and scored after 12 minutes.

    Although originally signed as a midfielder, his attacking prowess and finishing ability soon prompted manager Bill Shankly to employ Keegan upfront as a partner for John Toshack.

    In 1973, Keegan won his first domestic honours where playing alongside John Toshack, Keegan helped Liverpool win their first League championship in seven years as well as the UEFA Cup. Keegan scored twice in the first leg of the final as Liverpool overcame Borussia Mönchengladbach 3–2 on aggregate.

    In the final,of 1974 FA Cup, Keegan scored two as Liverpool beat Newcastle United 3–0. It was the first brace in an FA Cup final since Mike Trebilcock scored twice for Everton in 1966, thus earning rave reviews in the process.

    In 1977, Keegan helped Liverpool progress towards an unprecedented "treble" of League championship, FA Cup, and European Cup, though midway through the season he announced his intention to leave in the summer to play abroad.

    However, Keegan proved instrumental as Liverpool clinched the title and reached the finals of both Cup competitions.

    Keegan's last appearance in a Liverpool shirt on home soil, however, saw Liverpool lose the FA Cup final to bitter rivals Manchester United, ending the possibility of the "treble".

    The European Cup final in Rome against Borussia Mönchengladbach was four days later. Keegan did not score, but he did make a late run which led to a foul inside the penalty area by Berti Vogts. This led to a penalty, which was successfully converted by Phil Neal, sealing a 3–1 win.

    After 323 appearances and exactly 100 goals, Keegan left Liverpool as promised. He had been made offers from clubs across Europe and chose to join Hamburg SV in the West German Bundesliga for £500,000. Liverpool replaced him with Kenny Dalglish.

Ian St. John

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    When Bill Shankly joined Liverpool FC as a manager, the club was comfortably placed in the middle of second division tier of English football and thus to pull it out from the shackles had to be a primary aim for the ex-Huddersfield Town manager.

    Liverpool at that time were facing a lot of problems with a crumbling stadium and other poor infrastructure facilities. The squad was also not upto the mark.

    Shankly then went on to release 24 players from the squad in favor of better  players whom he thought could pull off the leap to first division football again.

    In what followed amongst other key signings was the extremely instrumental signing of Ian St. John from Motherwell in Scotland.

    Prior to his Anfield move, St. John scored one of the fastest hat-tricks on record when at Motherwell in two minutes and 30 seconds, against Hibernian in 1959.

    St. John or “the saint” and co. paid dividends as Liverpool romped to the Second Division title by a clear eight points over Leyton Orient, with St. John playing 40 times scoring 18 goals.

    They finished a respectable eighth in their first season back in the top flight, but surprised everyone by winning the League Championship the following season, overturning a 17 point deficit to win the title by four points over bitter rivals Manchester United and five over reigning champions Everton.

    St. John played a major role in the title success, appearing 40 times and scoring 19 goals.

     He went on to score many vital goals for Liverpool, which included the flying, whiplash header that he hammered past Leeds United's Gary Sprake to win the FA Cup in 1965 for the first time in the club's history.

    Another League championship followed in the 1965/66 as the Anfield club finished six points clear of Leeds. Ian chipped in with 10 goals from 41 outings. St. John and the rest of Liverpool tasted defeat, however, as they were beaten in their first ever European final.

     Borussia Dortmund beat them 2-1 at Hampden Park in the Cup Winners Cup

    Prior to his Anfield move, St. John scored one of the fastest hat-tricks on record when at Motherwell in two minutes and 30 seconds, against Hibernian in 1959.

     St. John or “the saint” and co. paid dividends as Liverpool romped to the Second Division title by a clear eight points over Leyton Orient, with St. John playing 40 times scoring 18 goals.

     They finished a respectable eighth in their first season back in the top flight, but surprised everyone by winning the League Championship the following season, overturning a 17 point deficit to win the title by four points over bitter rivals Manchester United and five over reigning champions Everton.

    St. John played a major role in the title success, appearing 40 times and scoring 19 goals.

    He went on to score many vital goals for Liverpool, which included the flying, whiplash header that he hammered past Leeds United's Gary Sprake to win the FA Cup in 1965 for the first time in the club's history.

    Another League championship followed in the 1965/66 as the Anfield club finished six points clear of Leeds. Ian chipped in with 10 goals from 41 outings. St. John and the rest of Liverpool tasted defeat, however, as they were beaten in their first ever European final.

    Borussia Dortmund beat them 2-1 at Hampden Park in the Cup Winners Cup

Kenny Dalgish

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    When it comes to summing up Liverpool’s achievements , one man who is sure to never miss the story is none other than Kenny “the King “ Dalglish.

    After the famous Toshak and Keegan pair up-front, Liverpool FC  needed somebody to shore up the striking responsibilities. In came Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish.

    Bob Paisley paid £440,000 to bring Dalglish to Liverpool in 1977, a British record at the time.

    Kenny Dalglish succeeded Keegan after having already scored 112 goals for Celtic in 204 appearances.

    Dalglish played in at a strange position called “deep-lying forward” and he made the position his own as his consistency in goal-scoring record continued at Liverpool and when he hung his boots in 1989, he had already scored 118 goals for the club from 355 appearances.

    His years at Liverpool marked one of the club's most successful periods: he won seven league titles, three European Cups, and five domestic cups. He also played for Scotland in the 1978 and 1982 World Cups.

    By the time his career had wound down in the late 1980s, Dalglish had set Scottish records for international appearances and goals and became one of the most successful strikers in Liverpool's history. Dalglish became player-manager of Liverpool in 1985 following the Heysel Stadium Disaster and brought the team and league an FA Cup double in his first year, beating Merseyside rivals Everton in the process.

    During his six-year tenure, Liverpool always finished either first or second in the league. He guided them to three league wins and two FA Cups from 1985–1991.

    In Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool FC not only profited in signing a classy and prolific goal scorer but also an extremely successful manager and embodiment of motivation which would inspire the club a lot in days to come.

Ian Rush, The Goal Scoring Machine

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    When it comes to naming the most successful striker for Liverpool, there can be just one name worthy of that respect, Ian Rush.

    Liverpool’s then manager Bob Paisley paid a record fee for a teenager of £300,000. It remains Chester's record sale almost 30 years on which just goes to show how highly the 18-year old was rated by Paisley. His Reds debut came on the 13 December that year in a First Division fixture at Portman Road against Ipswich Town.

    Ironically, he was standing in for his future strike-partner Kenny Dalglish (at the time, one of the most highly-rated strikers in the world) and wore his No. 7 shirt. Midfielder Jimmy Case scored Liverpool's only goal in a 1–1 draw.

    At this stage, Liverpool were defending the league title and the League Cup and also contending for the European Cup, while Ipswich were emerging as surprise title contenders.

    Rush was used sporadically during his first season at the club, as Liverpool had a policy of bringing in young talent and playing them in the reserves to learn "the Liverpool way".

    This learning period was hard and not at all "Rush-like", as the goals didn't flow, almost leading to the eager youngster leaving Anfield in the search of regular first-team football, but he decided to stay on and fight for a place after being motivated by Paisely.

    Rush's first goal for the club took time to arrive, but it eventually came on 30 September 1981 during a European Cup first round second leg tie at Anfield against Oulun Palloseura.

    He ended the season as the club's top scorer, netting 30 times in just 49 appearances in all competitions, a ratio of one goal every 1.6 games. 17 of these goals came in the League as he helped the Reds reclaim the League championship from holders Aston Villa.

    The title triumph was all the more impressive by the fact that Liverpool had entered 1982 in 10th place, with the likes of Manchester United and minnows Swansea City leading the pack then, before a turnaround in Liverpool's fortunes saw the league championship trophy return to Anfield after two years away. He also scored a goal to help Liverpool win the 1982 Football League Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur.

    He was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1983 after inspiring Liverpool to a second successive First Division/League Cup double, though once again success eluded them in the European Cup. He scored 24 League goals as the Reds finished 11 points clear of runners-up Watford and were virtually uncontested in the title chase in the later part of the season.

    On 6 November 1982, Rush scored four goals against Everton in a 5–0 victory, a post-war record for goals by a single player in a Merseyside derby.

    The League Cup (Liverpool's third successive triumph in this competition) was added through a 2–1 win over bitter rivals Manchester United after extra time at Wembley. He was voted PFA Player of the Year and BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year in 1984 as Liverpool retained both the League and the League Cup and won the European Cup to complete a unique treble that season.

    It was no surprise that Rush also added the Football Writers Footballer of the Year to the PFA award he had already claimed—the same feat that his strike partner Kenny Dalglish had achieved a year earlier.

    He scored 47 goals in 65 games (making him the highest goalscorer in all competitions for any professional club that season), a goal every 1.4 matches, as Liverpool finished three points clear of closest rivals Southampton in the League, beat derby rivals Everton 1–0 in the replayed final of the League Cup (after a 0–0 draw in the first ever all-Merseyside final), and won their fourth European Cup by defeating AS Roma 4–2 on penalties (Rush made it 3–2 before Bruce Grobbelaar's famous 'jelly legs' antics) following a 1–1 draw after extra time.

    In 1985, the Rush and Dalglish pair proved lethal, especially against Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup final as Liverpool went on to win 3–1 and completed the first (and so far only) League and FA Cup double in the club's history. Rush added the Man of the Match award to his winner's medal.

    In 1992, he picked up a third FA Cup winners' medal, scoring Liverpool's second goal, in the 67th minute, in the 2–0 win against Second Division Sunderland at Wembley.

    In March 1996, it was announced that Rush would be leaving Anfield on a free transfer when his contract expired on 1 June.

    Rush ended his Liverpool career in two spells with a brief one year uncomfortable stint at Juventus. Rush scored 139 goals for the Reds 224 appearances which lasted from 1980-87. His second spell for the club saw him appear 245 times for the club and score 90 goals therein.(1988-96). Thus his total tally remains an impressive 229 goals for the club in 469 appearances maintaining a record of scoring a goal in every two appearances for the club (approximately).

    Ian Rush is thus credited with the tag of being the highest goal scorer for the Reds to date.