Liverpool's Top 10 Goalkeepers of All Time

Peter Webster@@petercwebsterContributor IIIJanuary 24, 2012

Liverpool's Top 10 Goalkeepers of All Time

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    A safe pair of hands can make a big difference to a team's title chances, cup runs, league positioning and indeed whether the club decides to keep them or not.

    Just ask former Manchester United goalkeeper Massimo Taibi.

    Liverpool have had some excellent goalkeepers over the years and have let some excellent ones go who they just couldn't accommodate.

    Tottenham's Brad Friedel has become one of the Premier League's most consistent goalkeepers, but he couldn't get a look in when at Liverpool FC. Even Coventry legend Steve Ogrizovic couldn't earn a spot due to the fantastic ability of Ray Clemence.

    Here, we'll take a trip down memory lane and recognise 10 of the best goalkeepers that have ever pulled on a shirt for Liverpool FC.

    It's important to remember that these players are all noted for their performances for Liverpool, not the performances and/or trophies they may have won playing elsewhere in their careers.

    I hope you enjoy.

David James: No. 10

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    Former Liverpool and England goalkeeper David James holds the record for most Premier League clean sheets with 173.

    James' only trophy win with the Reds was a League Cup in 1995, and he became notorious for once blaming computer games for ruining his concentration in a number of games.

    James currently is in the twilight of his career at Bristol City and perhaps had the best years of his career after his Anfield days.

Matt McQueen: No. 9

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    Matt McQueen holds one of Liverpool's more obscure records of being the only player to win a Championship medal as both a goalkeeper and an outfield player.

    McQueen played between the sticks for the Redmen 41 times as well as playing virtually every outfield position possible.

    McQueen went on to be a Liverpool board member as well as a manager, and was inducted into the Liverpool Hall of Fame as a goalkeeper.

Sander Westerveld: No. 8

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    Sander Westerveld might not have been the safest pair of hands ever seen on Merseyside, but the Dutch shot stopper was the man who replaced David James and became the most expensive goalkeeper in British football history.

    Westerveld won the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup and European Super Cup in his second season with the club before being moved on following the signings of Jerzy Dudek and Chris Kirkland.

    Westerveld still plays today at Ajax Cape Town in South Africa.

Sam Hardy: No. 7

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    "Safe and Stead" Sam Hardy was signed in 1905 for £500 from Chesterfield.

    Hardy played 239 games for the club before being sold for £1,500 to Aston Villa in 1912.

    Hardy won a Championship League winners medal in his first year at the club and played 21 times for the England national team.

Jerzy Dudek: No. 6

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    Whilst Jerzy Dudek may not have stayed at the club for as long as some of the others named in this slideshow, he will forever be remembered for his saves in the 2005 European Cup Final in Istanbul.

    With the score tied at 3-3, Dudek made a wonderful double save from AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko and then went on to save two penalties in the resulting shootout that followed.

    Dudek had been attempting to emulate Bruce Grobbelaar's famous jelly leg routine, and Grobbelaar himself admits that Dudek did a much better job than he did.

    The video above shows the dramatic moments when Dudek saved the day.

Tommy Lawrence: No. 5

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    Tommy Lawrence was at Liverpool for five years before Bill Shankly gave him his first team debut, and Lawrence never looked back.

    Lawrence won two English League Championships and an FA Cup.

    He was eventually replaced by up-and-coming Ray Clemence, who had signed from Scunthorpe United, but not before appearing for the Anfield club on 390 occasions.

    Lawrence also managed three international caps for Scotland.

Elisha Scott: No. 4

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    Goalkeeper Elisha Scott still holds the record for the longest serving Liverpool player after a career which ran from 1919 to 1934 at the Merseyside club.

    Whilst carrying this record, you have to remember that Scott's career was put on hold for the best part of four years whilst the First World War took place.

    Not to take anything away from the player, though, who won two League Championships at the club.

    Scott eventually lost his place and opted to take a player/manager role at Belfast Celtic.

    Scott is an entry in the Liverpool Hall of Fame.

Bruce Grobbelaar: No. 3

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    Wobbly-legged Bruce Grobbelaar was a hero in the 1984 European Cup final against Roma at the Stadio Olympico.

    After the match had ended in a draw, penalties ensued, and Grobbelaar tried a circus act tactic of making his legs wobble in order to put off Roma player Francesco Graziani.

    The tactic worked, and Liverpool secured the European Cup for the fourth time.

    Grobbelaar's career will always be remembered as an outstanding shot stopper with a huge streak of erractic behavior thrown in the mix.

    See how the 1984 Final was played out in the video above.

Ray Clemence: No. 2

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    Ray Clemence has to be considered one of Liverpool's most successful goalkeepers of all-time, but he misses out on the No. 1 spot by a fraction.

    Clemence has a place in Liverpool's Hall of Fame and only missed six first games in his 11 years on Merseyside.

    Clemence made his debut on 25th September 1968 and made 665 appearances for the Reds, winning five First Division titles, three European Cups, two UEFA Cups, one League Cup, one FA Cup and one European Super Cup.

Pepe Reina: No. 1

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    Current goalkeeper Pepe Reina is arguably the best goalkeeper Liverpool FC have ever had.

    Considering Reina is Spain's second-choice goalkeeper, his talents are vastly underappreciated by his nation.

    Blessed with superb distribution skills, it's not uncommon to find Reina garnering an assist or two by the end of each season that passes.

    Reina is the fastest Liverpool goalkeeper to keep 100 clean sheets, which he managed in just 198 games, surpassing the likes of Bruce Grobbelaar and Ray Clemence in the process.

    Given that goalkeepers tend to get better into their 30's, Reina could have another 10 years or more between the sticks and has been touted as a potential future captain when Steven Gerrard hangs up his boots.

After Thoughts

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    I've seen some of these goalkeeper slideshows before, and there's clearly divided opinion on whether Clemence or Reina is the best.

    Clemence has the backing of a major trophy haul from his playing days, whereas Pepe Reina's trophy cabinet can still be improved upon.

    It's always difficult to compare goalkeepers, or any player for that matter, when they have played in different generations.

    The pass-back rule saw to it that goalkeepers are put under a lot more pressure nowadays, so their distribution has to be top notch.

    Reina has probably the best feet on a goalkeeper that has ever played the game, and as Kenny Dalglish said recently, there isn't a footballer who has ever lived that hasn't made a mistake or two.

    It's an opinion that will doubtless rage on for another 100 years no matter what trophies Liverpool win with Reina between the sticks.

    The one thing that matters is that Reina is class, and he plays for Liverpool.

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    Thanks for reading, and click here to read about the nine latest players linked with a move to Liverpool FC.