3 Apr 2009

Dream Team: Liverpool FC's greatest ever XI

It's an extremely difficult task trying to pick Liverpool's greatest ever XI, especially given the sheer volume of fantastic players in the club's glorious history. In my personal greatest XI, skill and leadership ability are the defining characteristics, and I believe that the side I've chosen would pulverise any team in world football - past or present.

This is my LFC dream team.

Manager - Bill Shankly
Assistant Manager - Bob Paisley
Captain - Graeme Souness
Vice Captain - Kenny Dalglish

Formation: 4-1-3-1-1

------------------------ Bruce Grobbelaar

Steve Nicol --- Sami Hyypia --- Alan Hansen --- Alan Kennedy

---------------------- Graeme Souness (c)

Billy Liddell -------- Peter Beardsley ---------- John Barnes

------------------- Kenny Dalglish

--------------------------- Ian Rush


Ray Clemence
Kevin Keegan
Sami Hyypia
Robbie Fowler
Terry McDermott
Emlyn Hughes
Steve McManaman
Steven Gerrard
John Aldridge
Steve McMahon

My preferred formations would be 4-1-3-1-1 or 4-3-3, and the players I have chosen could play either of those formation with ease.

Just imagine the skill, technique and creativity of Barnes, Beardsley, Dalglish and Liddell in the same team - it would be an absolute joy to watch!

The sheer creative genius on display would lay waste to the most stubborn of defences, and if there's one thing you can guarantee about this team, it's goals; and lots of them.

From defence right through to attack, this team is bursting with goalscorers. Steve Nicol and Alan Kennedy got their fair share of goals from defence, and with Barnes, Liddell, Dalglish and Beardsley feeding Rush and scoring themselves, the goalscoring possibilities are endless.

At the heart of the defence, Alan Hansen is obviously an automatic inclusion, but I agonized over who should partner him: Mark Lawrenson or Sami Hyypia.

In terms of partnerships, Lawrenson would be the obvious choice, but I just could not leave a player like Sami out of the team. He has been an outstanding player for Liverpool and embodies everything that is great about the cub

At the heart of this team is Graeme Souness, Liverpool's greatest ever midfielder and Captain. Souness is a proper midfield leader: tough, creative, intelligent, fearsome, vocal and a superb, respected leader.

Some people may argue that in midfield, this team would be defensively lacking, but I would disagree. Souness is good enough to own the defensive side of midfield himself, and the defensive capabilities of the attacking players in the team should not be underestimated.

Liverpool teams of the past never needed two central midfielders babysitting the creative players; The idea of having two holding midfielders is a purely modern phenomenon, which is indicative of the regrettable move towards a more cautious, negative style of football. As the saying goes though - defend as a team and attack as a team.

My belief is that you should always play to attack, so creating a team that will scare the opposition with its creative genius is the priority. Worrying about how to stop the other team scoring is negative and counter productive. Let the *opposition* worry about *you*, and I submit that this side would scare the living daylights out of *any* team.

This team would attack from the start, utilising its creative genius in the pursuit of one goal: setting out to win every game by scoring as many goals as possible.

And if things were not going to plan, or more defensive solidity was required, then one of the attacking players could be replaced by Steve McMahon or Emlyn Hughes.

First and foremost though, this team is set up to play football the Liverpool way: pass and move, keep the ball, keep it simple. Positive, proactive and fearing no one.

Finally, the most important quality of this team is strength of character and leadership ability. There are leaders all over the field in this squad: Hansen, Hughes, Rush, Souness, Dalglish, Barnes, Liddell and Hyypia all captained Liverpool at some point. In terms of personal integrity and professionalism, this squad of players puts modern Liverpool footballers to shame.


  1. no gerrard? surely at least on the bench

    keegan is stiff to miss out on the XI

  2. Jaimie's team would certainly be formidable opponents. However, I wouldn't pick Liddell as I never saw him myself, and would only be ready to vouch for players I saw with my own eyes. Yes, Keegan did a bunk to Hamburg after winning the European Cup which still rankles with some supporters. Personally, I'd put Gerrard in for Liddell. Some of Jaimie's criticisms are valid, but I believe what Jaimie calls Gerrard's "tactical indiscipline" is a product of his free role in the team. I get the impression that Rafa doesn't love Gerrard as a person--but he clearly appreciates his contribution as a player. The assist to Kuyt in the Arsenal game was masterful and I think this is the way Gerrard prefers to set an example for the team--with his football. Carragher is the shouter who will get on everybody's case.

  3. John - I see your point about Liddell. I have only seen video footage of him play, but I have read pretty much everything that's ever been published about him, plus player accounts, and based on what I know of him, I feel he warrants a place in the team. Plus, like me, he's a Scot, so I just had to get another one in there ;-)

    Liddell was a specialist winger and could operate with equal effect on the right or the left. There's no way I would put Gerrard in his place, especially since he is not a specialist winger.

    I feel you have to have aces in their places, and that means specialists in every position. The players I've chosed are specialists in their positions. Gerrard is not a specialist in any position, though some will of course argue that he's a specialist in central midfield.

    My response to that is, if it's true, how he never plays there for England or Liverpool? If he really is a world class, specialist central mid, surely he would play there?

    I'd be interested to see your best ever XI ;-) If you want to write an article on it, please do!

  4. I would be quite happy to go with your xi Jaimie--with that one change already mentioned. Possibly, Torres will force his way in their soon.

  5. Interesting, Personally id make a few changes to the team and they would be:

    First XI
    Fernando Torres - Ian Rush
    Chris Lawler - Steve Nicol
    Steve McMahon - Peter Beardsley
    Steven Gerrard - Andy Liddel

    Ray Clemence
    Jamie Carragher
    Sami Hyypia
    Emlyn Hughes
    Peter Beardsley
    Ian Rush
    Robbie Fowler

    The main reason for those changes are simply that I prefer 2 solid central midfielders in the centre that means Beardos ejection.

    Steven Gerrard, even though hes not an orthodox winger is highly effective there and is a proven match winner.

    I believe Fernando Torres is the most gifted player weve had since Kenny Dalglish too and a legend in the making, also I think the two of them together with thier intelligence, skill and movement would be the scariest partnership ever!

    I'm a huge fan of Chris Lawler too, one of the most underrated players ever to pull on a reds shirt (i may be biased cos i know him, and a gem of a person he is too)

    Keegan wouldnt make my squad simply because of his goalscoring record, which over his time at liverpool, was mediocre. Similar to Mark Hughes for United, didnt score many goals, but scored good and important ones.

    I'd have carragher in any great liverpool squad, simply because he apitomises everything i look for in a player; Courage, Determination, loyalty and a Scouse Accent!

    In a nutshell, I think the team you selected has bags of attacking talent in it, but I think they would be weak physically, and not great at defending the 3-0 lead they would have after 20 mins :)

    Some good choices tho!

  6. OMFG cant believe i did that! Billy Liddell not andy liddell ffs! even tho he is his grandson :) and maybe id swap Roger Hunt for Fowler! just maybe :)

  7. Nice choices 2ruered. I'm also a big fan of Steve McMahon, and I would love to have him in the first XI, but there's just no room!

    I take your point about my team possibly having a defensive weakness. It's possible, but I just think that with such attacking flair on display, it's less of a problem, and when the team is winning, one of the attacking players could come off and be replaced by Emlyn Hghes or McMahon, who are both great defensively but also provide something in attack too.

    I have to disagree with you re Torres - no way is he more gifted than John Barnes or Peter Beardsley. And in terms of natural goalscoring ability, I would argue that mid 90s Robbie Fowler is ahead of Torres. I could never drop Ian Rush from the team - he will always be my first choice Striker.

    I do admit though that a Torres/Dalglish partnership does seem like a match made in heaven.

    I can understand why you would choose Gerrard for his match-winning effectiveness, but I don't see how playing a non-specialist right winger as a right winger is good for the team. I'd rather have someone who's a specialist and actually likes playing in the position.

    Nice to see you have Sami Hyppia in your squad! My current favourite player, and I hope he stays for another year.

  8. I understand what youre saying about Torres/Fowler/Rush, im a fan of pacey strikers tho and its something that Torres has in abundance, as opposed to Fowler and Rush, whos quickness was in thier heads. As regards to his talent, ill have to disagree on the barnes/beardsley/torres thing, i really do believe, with the right partner in attack, he could become our greatest ever player.

    With regards to gerrard, i personally think at this moment in time, he is the best "all round" player on the planet. Jack of all trades sounds a bit disrespectful, but i know what your trying to say. With him im your team, you have a player who is capable of playing anywhere on the pitch, and i personally always like to have at least one player with those characteristics, its a tactical luxury:) (sounds strange that, gerrard and tactical, in the same sentence) United have both rooney and ronaldo who are capable of playing in 3 or 4 different roles. Thats the only downfall of having specialists in each position, if you need to alter formation quickly, you are resricted with what roles your players are capable of playing.

    But each to thier own :)

  9. Jaimie, thanks for your reply and I do see your points even if I don't agree.

    The age point I take on board in Souness's case. He was in his 30s when he left so noone could really begrudge him the chance to move on and face a new challenge. In Rush and Keegan's case this does not work out so well as they were both only about 25/26 when they left. A similar age to Gerrard was.

    So for them I would argue that it as a lot to do with circumstance. Keegan left when we were European Champions, League Champions and the best team around. And though I believe the fans weren't too happy at the time fate dealt him a helping hand by the fact that the man who replaced him became possibly our greatest ever player!

    With Rush it was a similar story in some ways in that we had a great team and were successful at the time. The fact that we were banned from Europe I think made fans more understanding of the fact that players would want to move abroad, as there really was something that we could not offer which they could get only by leaving.

    Gerrard, however, was in a more difficult position. We weren't a great team and we weren't doing well in the league. However it was felt that him leaving would prevent us improving our situation, which as captain and lifelong fan was seen as a betrayal by some.
    Its very easy to leave a club that wins everything and is packed with great players. Its more difficult to leave a club that is relatively successful but doesn't have a lot of great players apart from you!

    As for the destination, this is down to timing only. Rush and Keegan would have no reason to leave for another English team. We were the best and they had won everything here anyway.

    Your opinions on Gerrard the player - as I said before, fair enough. I am not going to criticise your team as this is your opinion



  10. Hi Jaimie,
    Nice xi, wouldn't it be great to see a team like that now, with players who could actually pass the ball for more than twenty seconds!
    I have to say I agree with you about Gerrard. He's a fine player but we still have to wonder what his position is. Certainly he's not a central midfielder (won't or can't do the work) and he's definitely not good enough to displace Kenny as a link player. It amazes me how so many fans can have such short memories, how the likes of Gerrard (and Carraigher for that matter) can be so highly rated on all these internet poles, greatest players of all time lists etc. Yes, they are good players, but come on!
    Also, as far as Torres taking Rush's place, I'll hold judgement until he's actually proved himself. There have been plenty of flash-in-the-pan players who have turned in one good season over the years. I really hope he's in for the long haul. So far, he looks a great prospect, but Rushie was a phenomenon (and I seem to recall that he had more than pace for most defenders ...).
    A couple of names I'd throw into the hat for consideration would be Phil Neal and Jan Molby. Just not sure who I'd leave out.

  11. Ray Clemence

    Steve Nicol
    Tommy Smith
    Alan Hansen
    Alan Kennedy

    Billy Liddel
    Steven Gerrard
    Emlyn Hughes
    John Barnes

    Kenndey Daglish
    Ian Rush

    Jamie Carragher
    Roger Hunt
    Bruce Grobalaar
    Robbie Fowler
    Steve Higheway
    Ian Callaghan

    Stevie G is in there beacuse he was the first player of my generation to lead Captain Liverpool to two Champions League finals and winning one. Carragher would be in the starting eleven but with that back four it is impossible. Give Torres a few years and maybe just maybe he will take Rush's place.

  12. what a load of c*ck. No gerrard - dont waste my time

  13. Why shuld Gerrard be in the greatest ever XI?

    Is he a better link man than Peter Beardsley? NO

    Is he a better left winger/attacker than John Barnes? NO

    Is he a better 2nd Striker than Kenny Dalglish? NO

    Is he a better holding Midfielder/Captain than Graeme Souness? NO

    Is he a better winger than Billy Liddell? NO

    It's not about being *cliche alert* the most complete player, or overwhelming the team, it's about being a specialist in your position, and the players I've chosed are absolute specialists in their given positions.

  14. hey...no Michael Owen?

  15. Some shocking comments on here.

    I would go.


    Rob Jones Hansen Carra Nicol


    Gerrard Barnes


    Rush Torres

  16. clemence
    lawrenson Hansen Neil
    Hughes (c)
    Souness Gerrard
    Dalglish Thoshack
    Torres Keegan

  17. Jamie, hate to be a complete pedant but you have Hyypia in both the starting XI and on the bench. Think your team selection is decent but I'd make a couple of changes.

    Gerrard has to be in the team for me. I think he will eventually be thought of as our best ever player. He stayed when we weren't great and has improved every season. He's played almost every position on the pitch for us and been excellent. But most importantly, he has been our best player over the last 7 years and this has continued even as the team has gained more world class players.

    Carra would be in for Hyypia too as I feel that a scouse spine is of vital importance, and when you need that extra mile Jamie would run it even if he had broken legs!

  18. Clemence- neal- a.kennedy-hansen-lawrensen-souness-whelen-case-barnes-dalglish-rush- subs. Scott-yeats-carra-nicol-lawler-molby-callaghan-liddlel-lee-hunt-fowler manager paisley i think this side would give any team a game past or pressant its full of steal guts and goals plus pure genius in sir bob

  19. GK - Bruce Grobbelaar

    Defence - Emlyn Hughes, Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson and Neil Ruddock.

    Midfield - Graeme Souness, John Barnes, Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso.

    Strikers - Robbie Fowler and Ian Rush

    Subs - Kevin Keegan, Jamie Carragher, Kenny Dalglish and Steve Mcmanaman.

  20. bugger-off jamie.what you guys dont understand is that gerrard could and would have been a specialist but sacrificed himself for the club and was used as a utility man playing in at least 4 diff. positions in the last 5 years.if he would be playing in the hole behind the striker as he is playing now he would have become the most prolific midfield-goalscorer of all time.so dont say that all you needis specialists in certain positions.what you truly need is players who can contribute more to the team and i cant think of anyone wh has given more to this football club than gerrard.
    i know what point you are trying to make and i know that your team is certainly one of the best but do not give lame arguments as towhy gerrard is not there.just say you in your mind couldnt fit him.
    and the answer to all those questions you asked about gerrard are A VERY BIG YES.

  21. The reason Gerrard doesn't play central mid for England is because we have 4 central mids - Lampard, Barry, Carrick, Hargreaves. IMO, not only is Gerrard better than all four, but he can also play other positions, hence he's played outside of that. If Lampard, Carrick, or Hargreaves had the versatility and strength-at-any-position that Gerrard does, they would have been played somewhere else, but they don't, so they're not. There's a reason why teams like Man U and Chelsea tried so hard to sign Gerrard. There's a reason why he was voted no.2 player Who Shook the Kop. There's a reason why Zidane and Kaka reckon he's the best player in the world right now.

  22. thats right bikram.non doubt gerrard should be in the starting 11.this blog itself uses the cliche of 'rejecting media biase and blind faith' and does nothing but fall flat on its face.pessimistic and over-critical(a good critique does not find faults for the sake of it)opinions about our players.having a critique's attitude is a diff. thing but faking it is what this blog does.the fans who blindly support us are far better-atleast they don't spread such stupid ideas.i bet this jamie bloke cant contribute to our club in any way and still goes on and on(....and on)about the managers,the players and the fans.he has even gone to the extent of saying that other lfc blogs and sites are all about slanging matches.i don think anything better comes off this blog.i'm not saying this in anger but it breaks my heart to see this nonsense put up on the internet about my team-our team.

  23. Yikalo Yohannes7:48 pm, June 14, 2009

    u listed sami hypia as a starter and on the bench and robbie folwer is the best striker to ever play at liverpool

  24. i am too young to have seen most of the players mentioned but have seen a lot of them in highlights. i have to agree with your exclusion of gerrard as i feel he offers a lot going forward but does not fit into a more orthodox line up. i also like hypia, a great servant but i do feel carragher might offer more despite hypia's dominance in the air. but i do love the inclusions of barnes, rush and dalglish as they are three legends in the history of liverpool fc. the only thing i might do is go a 4-4-2 formation and have a second quality centre midfielder in the team

  25. Anon - Thanks for your comments. I take your point about Carragher but I just can't leave Sami out of the team as he's such a legend :-) Also, I've never seen anyone in a Liverpool shirt as imperious as him in the air, including Alan Hansen.

  26. Where is torres

  27. Everyone has the right to pick the team they believe to be right. I'd go for Clemence in goal, Nicol, Hansen, Hyypia & Hughes in defence, Gerrard, Dalglish, Souness & Barnes in the middle & Rush & Fowler up front. It's not easy picking just 11. I was stuck for a long time as don't think Lawrenson should be left out. It was a tough & long decision choosing the players I did. In defence Hyypia & Nicol were always going to be in the team & so it was deciding which other 2. Alan Hansen was as sylish as they come & there just shouldn't be an all time LFC team without Hughes.

  28. Steven Gerrard is the best player ever in Liverpool. :-D

  29. ............................clemnce...............................





  30. ^^^^ or keegan insted of liddell/hunt in the wing forward position

  31. steven gerrard legend but not better than graeme sounes

  32. Mine would be

    Gk Clemence

    Rb Neal
    Cb Hansen
    Cb Carragher
    Lb Kennedy

    Rm Liddell
    Cm Souness
    Cm Gerrard
    Lm Barnes

    Ss Dalglish
    Cf Rush

    I've gone with Clemence over Brucie for his consistancy and over Reina for what he has won although either one of those 2 would be outstanding choices.
    Neal, Hansen,Carragher,Kennedy is for me the right mix of consistancy, reading of the game, guts and stability with the added bonus of the full backs could chip in with goals too.
    Liddell, Souness, Gerrard, Barnes for me is the complete midfield as they absolutely everything a midfield needs and they have it abundance. I mean you've got Liddell's goals, pace and power. Souness's passing range and defensive capabilities. Gerrard's dynanism and ability to win a game out of nothing. Barnes' trickery and crossing ability.
    Dalglish & Rush. I don't even have to explain, just simply the greatest strike partnership in not only liverpools history but arguably British football

  33. jimmy case i think should get a shout