My Red Heaven #5

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Bruce Grobbelaar
The guy kept goal for us for over 10 years. That is some feat in a team as good as we were then. And I would say he single handly won us the European Cup in 1984 with those wobbly legs of his (ok maybe a bit tongue in cheek, but it’ll never be forgotten!). People may not like him because of the match fixing scandal towards the end of his career, but a small blemish on an otherwise outstanding 11 years or so shouldn’t detract from how good he was as a goalkeeper. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s I always wanted to be a ‘keeper, played for my school team – and I looked up to Brucie in them days as my hero.

‘Crazy Horse’ Emlyn Hughes
Like many of the choices I’m going to make, I only know of Emlyn’s time at the club through history books, videos and DVD’s. What I do remember is Crazy Horse on A Question Of Sport, but anyway! The man is an absolute legend, endless skill, enthusiasm, able to play at full back, centre back and centre midfield and he was one of our greatest Captains, and of course the first to lift the European Cup. The fact he lifted it twice tells you something about the man and the team of the time!

‘The Anfield Iron’ Tommy Smith
Like Hughes, I only know about Tommy’s game from books and videos but what a defender! The man never shirked from a tackle, and watching some of the old footage it seemed like opposing forwards were actually scared to try and take him on! He was another tremendous talent signed young by Shankly and another one to make over 600 appearances for the club. A feat you don’t see to often in the modern game. And on his 600th Liverpool appearance he headed the second goal against Borussia Moenchengladbach in Rome to inspire a 3-1 victory of the club’s first European Cup triumph.

Alan Hansen
Like Grobbelaar, Hansen was another player from my youth, my school days, and another player I admired a great deal. The way Hansen could marshall his defence and his game just oozed elegance. His control and vision was as effective in creating Liverpool attacks as in stopping the opposition’s and he was rated by many to be the most skilful centre half in the history of British football.

Alan Kennedy
Apart from being a brilliant left back, with power, pace and a brilliant left foot (Roberto Carlos learnt everything he knows from Kennedy!) the man scored the winning goals in two European Cup Finals – the only goal against Real Madrid in ’81, and the winning spot kick in ’84. What more is there to be said?!

Ian Callaghan
Liverpool’s marathon man. He was there when Shankly took the reins as manager and he was still playing when Shankly stepped down as manager 15 years later. That is commitment to your club. 856 appearances with only one booking is a great record and one I don’t think will ever be beaten.

Graeme Souness
Forget about Sounesses days as our Manager, think of him as a player. The tough tacking central midfielder. In six successful seasons as a Liverpool player Graeme Souness was at the heart of Liverpool’s triumphs. Memorably described as “a bear of a player with the delicacy of a violinist” he was a high-octane blend of amazing strength and bewitching subtlety.

One of Bob Paisley’s majestic trio of Scottish captures, with Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen, he came from Middlesbrough in ’78. Five months later he supplied the pass at Wembley for his room-mate Dalglish to score the goal that beat Bruges to retain the European Cup. In general during his Anfield career the Scotland captain responded brilliantly to Paisley’s demand to curb his explosive temperament and he became a midfielder of immense stature. One of the best midfielders the club has ever had.

Jan Molby
One of the best midfielders of a generation – not surprising when he was a contemporary in the celebrated Ajax youth academy, with Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Jesper Olsen. He also came under the influence of Dutch master Johann Cruyff!

His passing, whether short or long was just sublime, combined subtlety and power, and he could put a ball on to a pin head from 60 yards. He may have been slightly ( ) overweight towards the end of his playing career, but in the earlier days he was just one of the most amazing midfield players you’ll ever see.

John Barnes
Barnesy came in in ’87 as part of King Kenny’s revolution, and boy did he liven things up a bit. I remember that first season cos we equalled the then record of 29 games unbeaten from the start of the season (it was my first year at secondary school and I got a few points over my new mates!). And a winger getting 15 goals in only 38 games? Thats how good he was!

Ian Rush
Rushie was an amazing striker, and broke almost every scoring record going as far as I can remember – the only exception being the League (he was 16 goals short of Roger Hunt’s club record 245). I was sad the day he left for Juventus and delirious the day he came home!

Ian St John
Another player whose exploits I only know of through the history books and videos. A Brilliant header of the ball, a Liverpool folk hero, and the man who scored the goal that won the club our first FA Cup. Enough said!

Subs:- Tommy Lawrence; Chris Lawler; Jimmy Case; Kevin Keegan; Gary MacAllister

Manager:- Bill Shankly
Assistants:- Bob Paisley/Kenny Dalglish

Simon Pearce

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