Liverpool have had a lot of quality players playing for the club during the Premier League era. We haven’t been as successful as we should have – our pedigree demands so much more. So I thought; ‘what if I could choose anyone Liverpool player, past or present as long as they’ve graced the Premier League to form a fantasy team.’
What formation? Who would make the subs bench? Looking at stats, re-watching old clips, who would make the grade? Would the ‘best 11’ be the right blend to make a serious title challenge?
So here is my Liverpool Premier League XI
GK – Pepe Reina.
Rafa Benítez hailed him as “the best goalkeeper in Spain.” He’s an athletic shot stopper who quickly established himself as Liverpool’s no.1 goalkeeper.
To say he was a success is an understatement. Whilst strikers get all the headlines, Goalkeepers are often the forgotten men.
He made such an impact that in his 1st 3 seasons he won the Premier League’s Golden Glove, for keeping the most clean sheets. In the 2009-10 season he tied with Petr Čech for the Golden Glove award. Truly amazing.
His 1st Liverpool record was for the fewest goals conceded by a goalkeeper in his first 50 games, conceding just 29.
The previous record was set by Ray Clemence in 1970–71, when he conceded 32 goals.
LB – John Arne Riise.
He played 348 times for the club, and scored an amazing 31 goals – from left-back!! He loved to attack and enjoyed taking on players. He had strength and pace in abundance.
He was known for his thunderous left foot, gaining a reputation for scoring some truly spectacular goals over the years. In his 7 years at the club Riise won over the Kop with his sensational goals.
So committed and a complete professional. He was a modern fullback – someone who loved to attack getting forward as much as he could.
CB – Jamie Carragher
Carragher was one of the finest centre-backs in Liverpool history. Playing a massive 737 times for the club.
There have been classier defenders over the years, but there haven’t been many who had the consistency and hunger of Carragher. Being described as a fierce competitor, who was physical and smart enough to marshall the backline as a leader.
He broke into the first team in the 1997–98 season, essentially being used as a utility player.
Either centre-back, full-back and defensive midfielder. During the 1998–99 season, and was named as the club’s Player of the Year after a superb season as right-back. The following season he switched to left-back.
CB- Danny Agger
In January 2006 Liverpool completed the signing of Denmark international defender Daniel Agger, signing from Brondby for £5.8m. His close control and composure on the ball was amazing.
He was strong in the air and had extremely quick feet. He was a ‘footballer’ and would be seen taking the ball out of defence building up the play from back. He had such affection for the club – and affection that was reciprocated by the adoring fans. This was evident when he got the famous YNWA tattoo on his knuckles.
He quickly became one of the most popular players during his spell on Merseyside. Sadly his career was blighted by numerous injuries.
His first full season at Anfield, in 2006/07, was the only time he made more than 40 appearances in a single season.
RB – Markus Babbel
Markus Babbel was an integral member of Liverpool’s side and his characteristic raiding runs down the right side led to a number of goals, including one in the UEFA Cup final itself. His Liverpool career was forced to a sudden halt when he contracted Guillain–Barré syndrome and was unable to play for a year.
Babbel’s play was characterised by solid defending and surging forays down the right flank.
His most famous goals were probably against Everton at Goodison in April 2001 and the opening goal in the UEFA Cup final of the same year in Dortmund against Alaves. Liverpool went on to lift the trophy in a thrilling match.
CDM – Xabi Alonso
He was signed from Real Sociedad by Rafa Benitez in the summer of 2004. Despite leaving for Real Madrid in 2009 he still is one of the most popular Liverpool players in the Premier League era.
Alonso oozed class and was at the heart of our midfield for years. I honestly think he’s appreciated more now than when he played for us.
He has an outrageous passing ability, an underrated defensive game and the potential to score some sublime goals.
Alonso arrived at Liverpool, marking the beginning of a new era at Anfield under Rafael Benítez. A successful new era!
CMD – Javier Mascherano
Famous for his reading of the game, timing of tackles and all-round influence. He is versatile and tactically intelligent footballer, great at organising his team, good leader and high passing accuracy.
He helped make Liverpool become one of the best and most feared teams in Europe in the late 2000s. His never say die attitude and hard-tackling style of play made him quickly become a crowd favourite at Anfield.
MD – Steven Gerrard
There have been so many great Liverpool players in the past. If everyone were to write a list Steven Gerrard would be in the top 2.
The other player 9 times out of 10 it would be Kenny Dalglish.
At his peak he was the most influential player in the world. He had a knack to come up with vital goals so often you genuinely forget many of them.
Gerrard spent 17 seasons at Anfield, making his Liverpool debut in 1998 and was a 1st team regular in less than 2 years.
Within 3 years of establishing himself in the 1st team he succeeded Sami Hyypiä as team captain .
Known affectionately as ‘Captain Marvel’ he carried so many different Reds sides down the years.
LWD – Luis Suarez.
Some say Suárez is the most talented player in Liverpool’s history.
He’s controversial player – always walking close to the line. In all honestly crossing it a few times too!!’El Pistolero’ had wonderful vision, quick feet, terrific finishing and underrated physical strength at his disposal. Scoring 82 goals in 133 games.
In July 2014, he moved from Liverpool to Barcelona for a fee of £64.98 million (€82.3 million), making him one of the most expensive players in football history.
Suárez signed for Liverpool in Jan 2011, signing a five-and-a-half-year deal with Liverpool. He only made the bench for his debut, however when he did come on he managed to score!! In front of the Kop – hero straight away.
FWD- Robbie Fowler
He is a legend with a sweet left foot and one of the most natural goalscorers to grace English Football. Also the 6th highest scorer in Premier League history – 128 in the league for Liverpool. At just 18 yrs old it didn’t take long for him to get in his stride.
Against Fulham in the League Cup he scored in the 1st leg. 2 weeks later at Anfield in the 2nd Leg Liverpool won 5-0 – Fowler got all 5. He had arrived – the Kop taking to him instantly.
RWF – Steve McManaman
Attacking midfielder who was a player blessed with pace, skill and the ability to be unpredictable. At the height of his career McManaman was ranked as one of the finest midfielders in England and had developed a strong reputation in Europe.
He was known to embarrass defences with his mazy runs, which too often lack the finishing touch they deserve. McManaman was also said to have been one of only a handful of so-called ‘talismanic’ players – believed to have the charisma to lift supporters from their seats each time they got the ball.
He was described as being ‘virtually unstoppable’ at times. He’s received a glowing tribute from Sir Stanley Matthews; “He reminds me of me when I was playing … I wish there are more dribblers like him.”
Sami Hyypiä, Didi Hamann, Fernando Torres, Michael Owen