Liverpool FC: Power Ranking the 50 Greatest Liverpool Players of All Time

Jake WareCorrespondent IIIOctober 11, 2011

Liverpool FC: Power Ranking the 50 Greatest Liverpool Players of All Time

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    Liverpool Football Club is one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. The club has won 18 League Titles and five European Cups and remains one of the most successful in the history of the game.

    Several great players have come and gone through the hallowed gates of Anfield. They have all affected the history of the club in their own individual ways. Some were good. Some were great. Some were spectacular.

    These are the ones who will shine on through the times. Those are the ones who will always be remembered. This the list of the 50 greatest players ever to march on the Liverpool turf. 


50. Bruce Grobbelaar

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    1981-1994: Goalkeeper

    Either side of the 13 years he spent at Liverpool, he played with average lower division clubs, but those 13 years mark one of the greatest ever careers in a Liverpool shirt. In a career marred by false match fixing allegations, Grobbelaar won six First Division titles, three FA Cups and one European Cup as the Anfield goalkeeper during the club's golden years. 


49. Jackie Balmer

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    1935-1952: Striker

    Had it not been for the second World War, Jackie Balmer could be a lot higher up this list. The Liverpool-born striker was a hugely talented player who grew through the Everton youth ranks until 1935, when he joined Liverpool. He won the First Division with Liverpool in 1947, and with his 98 goals, he remains one of the most prolific strikers ever to don the Liverpool red.


48. Steve McManaman

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    1990-1999: Midfielder

    In his nine years at the club, McManaman quickly developed into an Anfield legend. Well known for his brilliant playmaking abilities, the Merseyside native amassed an impressive 112 assists in his Liverpool days to go along with 47 goals. McManaman also played an important role in mentoring current superstar Steven Gerrard in the attacking midfield position. 

47. Peter Beardsley

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    1987-1991: Striker

    Peter Beardsley spent only four seasons with the Reds, but in that time, he became one of the league's most effective scorers. The forward, who could also play in midfield, scored 46 in his Anfield career, playing alongside John Barnes. He won two First Division titles with Liverpool.


46. Dirk Kuyt

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    2006-Present: Striker

    The 31-year-old forward is entering his sixth season with the club, already having scored 49 league goals for the Reds. The Dutch international has established himself as one of the most hard working players in the Premier League and has become a key player at Anfield. He will likely stay as one for the next five years at least. 


45. Jerzy Dudek

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    2001-2007: Goalkeeper

    Arguably the best goalkeeper ever to play for Liverpool, Jerzy Dudek spent four seasons as the club's No. 1 goalkeeper. He is perhaps best known for his antics to distract the opposition's penalty shooters in Liverpool's world famous Champions League final win over AC Milan in 2005. His reign at Merseyside all but ended with the signing of Pepe Reina that summer. 


44. Bob Paisley

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    1939-1954: Defender

    If this list was called "The Greatest Contributions to Liverpool," then Bob Paisley would undoubtedly be top. The defender would go on to become Liverpool's greatest ever manager in a career of 50 years dedicated to the club. He led the team through their golden years of the late 70s and early 80s, overseeing six First Division titles and three European Cup wins. 

43. Elisha Scott

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    1912-1917 and 1919-1934: Goalkeeper

    Elisha Scott was an Irish goalkeeper who is one of the few players on this list born in the 1800s. He still holds the record as the longest serving Liverpool player in history. He spent two different spells with Liverpool before leaving the club at the tender age of 40. 


42. David Fairclough

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    1974-1983: Striker

    Fairclough is perhaps best known for coining the phrase "subersub." It was rare he started games for the Reds, but he was well known as an impact player coming off the bench. In his 153 games, he scored an impressive 55 goals at a pace of almost than one every three games. He was well loved among the Anfield faithful, with his fiery red hair and warm personality. 


41. Ray Clemence

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    1967-1981: Goalkeeper

    Ray Clemence is one of the most decorated goalkeepers in both Liverpool and England history. He brought Liverpool five First Division titles and three European Cups. He also made 61 appearances for the England first team and was awarded an MBE for his services to football.


40. Phil Neal

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    1974-1985: Defender

    Phil Neal spent 11 years as Liverpool's undisputed first choice right back. During his time at the club, he developed a well-known knack for scoring, with 41 goals in his 455 games. He was part of four European Cup winning teams and also won the First Division with Liverpool eight times. You would have a hard time finding an Anfielder with more trophies under his belt. He also spent time as the team's captain.


39. Jan Mølby

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    1984-1996: Midfielder

    Jan Mølby is undoubtedly one of the best central midfielders ever to play for the club. The Danish international broke through big time under player-manager Kenny Dalglish in 1986 and wouldn't give up his hold on the spot until a decade later. He scored 62 goals in total at Liverpool, of which 42 came from the penalty spot. 


38. Chris Lawler

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    1960-1975: Defender

    Chris Lawler was a Liverpool born-and-bred full-back who remains a legend among the Kopites. In his 15 seasons at Anfield, he established himself as one of the elite right-sided defenders in the world. He also became well known for scoring being in the right place at the right time to score goals, earning him the affectionate nickname "The Silent Knight."


37. Tommy Lawrence

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    1957-1971: Goalkeeper

    Born in Scotland, Tommy Lawrence broke through in the Liverpool first team in 1962 and became Bill Shankly's first choice goalkeeper for the next decade. Despite his 89 kg weight, he is best known for his athleticism in the box and his ability to stay healthy. He is a two-time English Champion.


36. Albert Stubbins

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    1946-1953: Striker

    Born in 1919, Albert Stubbins spent seven years with the Merseyside club. The Englishman established himself as one of the most prolific and quickest goalscorers in the club's history, with 75 league goals at almost a goal every two games. He appeared on the cover of Liverpool band The Beatles perhaps best know album "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."


35. Steve McMahon

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    1985-1991: Midfielder

    Steve McMahon spent six seasons as the Liverpool central midfielder, winning three First Divisions and four Charity Shields with the club. He scored 29 goals in his time at Anfield, becoming a force in both the Merseyside club and the England National Team's midfield. He left for Manchester City in 1991.


34. Steve Nicol

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    1981-1995: Defender

    Steve Nicol is one of the most valuable players ever to play for Liverpool. His versatility and adaptability made him a vital player during Liverpool's golden years. The Scottish defender is 17th on the Liverpool all-time appearances list, with 468 total games. He locked down the right back position for the Anfield club for over a decade. He is currently the manager of the MLS' New England Revolution.


33. Pepe Reina

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    2005-Present: Goalkeeper

    You wouldn't have a tough time arguing that Pepe Reina is the best goalkeeper ever to play for Liverpool. The 29-year-old Spaniard joined Liverpool from Villareal in 2005 and has since made 225 appearances, establishing himself as one of the Premier League's elite goalies. He is the vice-captain and remains one of the team's key players. He could be their goalkeeper for the next decade. They have no need to replace him anytime soon.


32. Gerry Byrne

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    1957-1969: Defender

    Having spent his whole career at Anfield, Gerry Byrne is a Red through-and-through. Born and bred in Liverpool, the left back joined the club as a 15-year-old school boy in 1953. He would go on to score almost 300 games for the club in a sparking career. He is perhaps best known for his lack of an offensive threat, having only scored two goals in his 12-year career with the club. 


31. Ronny Whelan

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    1979-1994: Midfielder

    Ronny Whelan was signed as a 17-year-old from his hometown club Home Farm in Dublin in 1979. The Irish midfielder became an integral part of the invincible Liverpool side of the 80s, scoring 46 total goals for them. He also made 53 appearances for the Irish National Team. 


30. Sammy Lee

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    1976-1986: Midfielder

    Another midfielder, Sammy Lee was born in Liverpool and rose through the junior ranks with the club. The diminutive was well-loved for his tireless work rate and sharp passing abilities. In 2008, he re-joined the club as the assistant manager to Rafa Benitez, but left in June 2011 by mutual consent. 


29. John Aldridge

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    1987-1989: Striker

    A somewhat controversial choice this high, as he made less than 100 appearances for the club, Aldridge deserves his place as one of the most prolific goal scorers ever to play for the club. In his 83 league matches, he tallied 50 goals on his way to a record-breaking stint with club. With a total of 330 football league goals, he sits at sixth on the all-time list of English League goalscorers. The majority of those goals were scored with fellow Merseyside club Tranmere Rovers


28. Dietmar Hamann

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    1999-2006: Midfielder

     For more than half a decade, "Didi" Hamann was the anchor of the Liverpool side. The big German defensive midfielder made almost 200 league appearances in the Anfield Red, scoring 12 goals. Known for his tireless work ethic, consistency and reliability, Hamann remains much loved among the Liverpool faithful. He has already stated that it is a dream of his to one day return to Anfield in a managerial role. 


27. Steve Heighway

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    1970-1981: Midfielder

    A powerful left midfielder, Irishman Steve Heighway is perhaps Liverpool's greatest ever winger. Having spent his entire European footballing career with the Merseyside club, Heighway quickly established himself in the hearts of his fans with his speed, power, and skill. He scored 50 goals in his 300-plus league games, becoming one of the club's all-time leading scorers from the wing. 

26. John Toshack

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    1970-1978: Striker

    A powerful striker, John Toshack was an integral part of the strong Liverpool side of the 1970s. In that time, he famously created a "Batman and Robin" partnership with fellow Kop legend Kevin Keegan. In his eight seasons at the club, the Welshman would score 96 league goals. He won three Division 1 titles. He now manages Macedonia.

25. John Arne Riise

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    2001-2008: Defender

    The Norwegian left-back known for his thunderous shot (which once broke Alan Smith's leg in two places) is one of the most loved Anfield players of all time. Signed from Monaco for £4 million in 2001, the Norwegian would go on to make more than 200 appearances for the Reds. He became well known for his ventures forward from defense, scoring 31 total goals, and established himself as one of the premier full backs the team has ever seen.


24. Ray Kennedy

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    1974-1982: Midfielder

    Signed from Arsenal for £180,000 in 1974, Ray Kennedy would soon see himself converted from a powerful centre forward to a creative attacking midfielder under Bob Paisley. There, he flourished. He would go on to score 51 goals in his time with Liverpool, garnering some memorable praise from footballing legend Jimmy Greaves, "The Player of the 70s."

    He was tragically forced into retirement at the young age of 32 due to early symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. 


23. Terry McDermott

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    1974-1982: Midfielder

    Terence McDermott was a skillful, goal-happy attacking midfielder who was often the driving force of the Liverpool side of the late 70s. He was well known for his prowess in front of goal, tallying up a total of 54 goals in his 232 League Appearances. You could, in many ways, compare him to current Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. 

22. Mark Lawrenson

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    1981-1988: Defender

    In light of his hugely successful career as a pundit, it is often easy to overlook Mark Lawrenson's status as an Anfield legend. For nearly a decade, Lawrenson patrolled the heart of the Reds' defense and made it arguably the best in the world during that time. He joined for a then club record fee of £900,000 and would go on to make 332 all-competition appearances for the Reds. He scored 18 goals. 

21. Jimmy Case

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    1973-1981: Midfielder

    A player well known for his outrageously powerful shot, Jimmy Case spent much of his time with Liverpool manning the right wing. Never much of a goal scorer, Case always took great pleasure in making those around him look better. He was undersized, but had no lack of heart, and he is still well regarded in the hearts and minds of the Kop. 

20. Phil Thompson

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    1971-1984 - Defender

    A Liverpool-born defender who grew up a Reds fan, Phil Thompson would be snapped up by his boyhood club as a 17-year-old in 1971. From there, he would go on to become one of the most defensively able players in club history, never scoring much but establishing a reputation as a proverbial brick wall in the Anfield defense. He would later return as an assistant manager and temporary caretaker manager with the club he loved. 


19. Michael Owen

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    1996-2004: Striker

     Michael Owen first broke through as a Liverpool player as a fresh faced 18-year-old in 1997, and would go on to score 118 league goals for them, establishing himself as one of the most prolific goalscorers in club history. The adored forward left the club for Real Madrid in 2004, but he never managed to perform as well as he did at the Merseyside club. He is now at bitter Reds rivals Manchester United


18. Alan Kennedy

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    1978-1985: Defender

    Alan Kennedy, a defensively stingy left-back, only played seven season with the Reds, but he certainly made the most of them. When he was brought it, it was to fill a role on the left side of defense. They needed someone up to the standard of the other defenders. Kennedy would go on to become arguably the greatest full-back in club history. He scored 15 league goals for the club. 


17. Ian Callaghan

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    1960-1978: Midfielder

    A versatile midfielder, Ian Callaghan was the final piece of any midfield puzzle at Anfield during the 60s and 70s. He was always a mainstay in the squad, establishing himself as a key player under Bill Shankly. He holds the record for most first-team appearances for Liverpool with 856 (69 goals) and as a member of the team, won five First Division titles and two European Cups. 

16. Sami Hyypia

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    1999-2009: Defender

    You won't find too many as well loved by the Kopites in his prime as Finnish centre back Sami Hyypia. Signed from Dutch club Willem II as a 25-year-old, Hyypia quickly endeared himself in the hearts of Reds fans with his always strong performances. The 6'4" defender left in 2009 as an Anfield legend. He won 10 trophies in 10 years on Merseyside. 


15. Robbie Fowler

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    1993-2001 and 2006-07: Striker 

    Robbie Fowler is another example of a player who was born in Liverpool and rose through the system of the club he grew up adoring. The striker scored 183 goals in total in his career on the Anfield turf, but never seemed to regain that form anywhere else. The only drawable conclusion is that he was a Liverpool player through and through. 


14. Ron Yeats

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    1961-1971: Defender

    A powerful centre back, Ron Yeats was the Liverpool captain for much of the 60s. Renowned for his strength on and off the ball, the Scot was on of the great all-time leaders at Anfield. He was never much of an attacking threat from the back, but he was the best defensive player in the world at his peak. His nickname among the Liverpool faithful was "Colossus."



13. Ian St John

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    1961-1971: Striker

    Another striker, St John spent a decade at Anfield. In 425 total appearances, he scored 118 goals for the club. He won two first division titles with the club and is a member of the Scottish Football Hall of Fame. He remains somewhat of a Liverpool faithful cult hero.


12. Roger Hunt

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    1958-1969: Striker

    Another attacking player, Roger Hunt would form one of the all-time greatest ever strike partnerships alongside Ian St John. With 286 goals in 492 all competition games for the Reds, he sits at second in the club's all-time goalscoring chart. He is one of the most prolific strikers to ever play at Anfield, coming in at an average rate of about 0.6 goals per game. 


11. Emlyn Hughes

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    1967-1979: Defender

    The late great Emlyn Hughes is without a doubt one of the greatest defenders ever to don the Liverpool Red. The Cumbria-born centre back was the captain of the great 70s side, and in his time, would also captain the English National Team. He made a total of 665 appearances in all competitions for the club, tallying a total of 49 goals from defense. Together with Phil Thompson, he made the Liverpool defense corps the best in the world. 


10. Ian Rush

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    1980-1987 and 1988-1986: Striker

    The only player to score more goals than Roger Hunt in a Liverpool shirt, Ian Rush made his name as an Anfield legend in two significant spells with the club. His first was the best, when he managed 139 goals in 224 league appearances. As mentioned, his 346 goals in 660 Liverpool matches is remains unchallenged in club folklore. 


9. Jamie Carragher

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    1996-Present: Defender

    Born and bred in the Merseyside area, Jamie Carragher was an Everton fan long before he joined Liverpool. Since making his Reds debut at the tender age of 18, the player affectionately nicknamed "Carra" has gone on to make 676 (and counting) first team appearances at the heart of the Anfield defense. Never a flashy player, Carragher made his name by being in the right place at the right time and for his intelligence on and off the ball.

8. Billy Liddell

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    1938-1961: Striker

    A versatile player, Billy Liddell played all over the midfield and up front during his time at Anfield. The Scottish international spent his whole career with the club, making over 500 appearances. Billy Shankly, one of the all-time Liverpool greats, described him as "some player...He had everything." That should say enough.


7. Alan Hansen

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    1977-1991: Defender

    Much like Mark Lawrenson, people seem to have forgotten just how great Alan Hansen was in light his pundit career. The Scottish defender was quite possibly the most intelligent player ever to play for the Reds. In an Anfield career spanning almost 15 years, he won eight league championships and three European Cups. He became well known for the fact that he almost never scored (eight goals in 434 league appearances). 


6. Graeme Souness

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    1977-1984: Midfielder

    Graeme Souness didn't spent too long a time at Anfield, but he will be well remembered for his almost magnetic prowess in winning trophies. Though he played only 358 matches for the club over seven seasons, he won five League Championships, three European Cups and four League Cups. He would later return to manage the club, but failed to win anything major. 

5. Tommy Smith

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    1962-1978: Defender

    Tommy Smith is best remembered for being one of the hardest footballers ever to wear the Liverpool red. A player born into the Liverpool family, Smith joined the club as a 15-year-old and soon thereafter established himself as a regular in the heart of the club's defense. He would captain the club for five years, leading them to two First Division titles. You would have a hard time finding a player more loved by the Anfield faithful than Tommy Smith.


4. Kevin Keegan

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    1971-1977: Striker

    A versatile attacking player, Kevin Keegan made his name at Anfield for his joy in making those around him better and for his obvious sheer love for the game. Liverpool fans loved him back. He ran with restless energy, and always gave his all. It was impossible not to love him. He controversially left in 1977 after scoring exactly 100 goals in front of the Kop who adored him so much. 


3. Steven Gerrard

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    1998-Present: Midfielder

    You would have a hard, if not impossible, time finding someone who lives and breathes Liverpool more than Steven Gerrard. The England midfielder, who has spent his whole career with the Reds, has become famous for his tireless work-rate and ability to contribute from midfield. Gerrard is knocking on the doorstep of 600 first team appearances and is just entering the twilight of his career. We all dream of him one day winning a Premier League title. Nobody deserves it more. 


2. John Barnes

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    1987-1997: Winger

    The long term England international is probably the most exciting player ever to play for Liverpool. Fans from the 90s will fondly remember the left winger bombing down the flank, mesmerizing defenders and teammates alike. Born in Jamaica, Barnes would spent a hugely successful decade with Liverpool, appearing for them 407 times and scoring 108 times. He remains the most skillful player ever to grace the Anfield turf. 


1. Kenny Dalglish

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    1977-1990: Striker

    Kenny Dalglish was such a unique player. Never much of a goalscorer, the Scottish striker took just as much joy in making those around him look better as putting himself in the glory. Signed in 1977 to replace Kevin Keegan, Dalglish would go on to 501 appearances for the Reds, scoring a grand total of 169 games. The Dalglish legacy continues on as Anfield, with the legend now leading the club into their new age. Greener pastures are ahead. 

    Kenny Dalglish is in a class of his own. He remains one of the greatest players ever to play the game, and without a doubt the best player to ever play for Liverpool Football Club.

    Follow Jake Ware on Twitter at @JacobWare95

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