19 Oct 2009

BEST EVER TEAMS - No 3: The Dream Team - Liverpool's Greatest Ever XI

Picking Liverpool's greatest ever XI is a nigh-on impossible task, 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
Robbie Fowler
Emlyn Hughes
Steve McManaman
Fernando Torres
Steven Gerrard
John Aldridge
Steve McMahon
Mark Lawrenson

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.

one of the most important qualities 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.

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.


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