Back in 1892, Liverpool F.C. was founded and eventually became one of the top clubs in all of Europe. Liverpool has had sustained success throughout its history, winning a long list of honors, including a record amount of League Cups and FA Community Shiels. Naturally, you can’t do that without having some great players along the way.
Which of the hundreds of men who have suited up for Liverpool are the best of the best, though? Here are our selections for the top five Liverpool players of all time. Before we start the list, some of the players who just missed the cut include Luis Suarez, Mohamed Salah, Kevin Keegan, Roger Hunt, Ian Callaghan, and Jamie Carragher.
Virgil van Dijk
Dutchman Virgil van Dijk had plenty of experience as a professional footballer before heading to Liverpool. In the early 2010s, he was part of the Groningen youth and senior programs, making more than 60 appearances. In 2013, van Dijk joined Celtic then Southampton, and eventually joined Liverpool in 2018. Throughout the entire time, van Dijk has represented the Dutch national team.
Van Dijk helped Liverpool rack up club trophies left and right as soon as he arrived, including titles in the Premier League, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League. He has been part of the Premier League Team of the Year on several occasions and has a long list of other individual honors that include the Alan Hardaker Trophy.
There are two clubs that can really lay claim to Jamaican star John Barnes, especially as he made more than 230 appearances with Watford during the 1980s. However, Barnes played more matches with Liverpool than any other club. Barnes joined Liverpool in 1987, spending a decade on the squad before wrapping up his career with Newcastle United and Charlton Athletic in the late 1990s.
While he might not be one of the highest scorers due to his position and longevity compared to some of the other players on the list, Barnes was still able to score 84 goals in league play. Barnes helped propel Liverpool to the First Division title twice in three years while also winning the FA Cup twice.
Scotsman Kenny Dalglish is in the same boat as John Barnes as he spent an extended period of time with two different clubs. Dalglish cracked the professional ranks with Celtic in the late 1960s and stuck around for eight years with more than 200 appearances. After scoring 111 goals with the club, Dalglish joined Liverpool in 1977 for the final 13 years of his career while also finishing his playing career with managerial duties, too.
Dalglish ranks number eight in club history for scoring, putting in 172 goals during his 515 matches. Liverpool won the First Division title a half-dozen times thanks to Dalglish, as well as the 1986 FA Cup. Dalglish was a runner-up for the Ballon d’Or while with Liverpool and was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Ian Rush had not one, but two, long stints with Liverpool throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Rush began his professional career with a brief run at Chester City, then joined Liverpool at the start of the 1980s. He remained with the club for six years, then went to Juventus for two full years, but came back for 42 appearances on loan. In 1988, Rush rejoined Liverpool where he’d spend another eight years of full-time action.
Nobody has scored more goals wearing a Liverpool kit than Ian Rush, who netted 346 during his 660 matches. That’s more than 60 ahead of Roger Hunt (second place) and over 100 more than Gordon Hodgson. Rush was part of five First Division and FA Cup-winning squads while winning the 1984 European Golden Boot.
The top player on the list is surprisingly the only one that’s also from England. Steven Gerrard hails from Whiston, and Liverpool ended up being all that he knew as a player in Europe. Gerrard joined the youth program in 1989, and nearly a decade later he made his professional debut. Gerrard spent 17 years with Liverpool, making over 500 appearances before wrapping up his playing days in the United States in 2016.
Gerrard had 710 appearances in total when you account for play outside of league matches, which is the third-most in club history. He netted 186 goals during that time, which is also in the top five of league history. Gerrard helped Liverpool win the UEFA Champions League in 2005, as well as a pair of FA Cups and was recognized as one of the EPL’s best players almost every year of his career.