Former Red Avi Cohen dies, aged 54

Liverpool Football Club is today mourning the loss of former defender Avi Cohen, who was declared brain dead on Tuesday in Israel due to head injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident last week. He was 54.

Cohen signed for Liverpool in 1979, becoming the first Israeli in the top flight of English football. He played 24 times for the Reds, scoring once, and helping Liverpool to the league title in the 1979/80 season.

Cohen’s son, Tamir, currently plays for Bolton Wanderers and their striker Johan Elmander paid tribute to Avi after his goal against West Brom on Boxing Day. Bolton boss Owen Coyle said “Avi is in our thoughts and prayers. The players wanted to show Tamir that they were thinking of him.”

Tamir told Reuters news agency this afternoon “To our great sadness, a health ministry committee was in the hospital today and confirmed that our father is indeed brain dead. Which is to say, he has died.”

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish paid tribute to Cohen this afternoon. He said, “Avi was a lovely man who will be remembered fondly by everyone at Liverpool who knew him.

“He quickly integrated himself into the football club when he joined us and spent a lot of time learning English which really made him popular. He was well liked by all the lads and although he didn’t spend a long time at the club, he certainly left his mark and no one will forget how he helped us win the league against Aston Villa. My thoughts and those of everyone connected to the club are with Avi’s family.”

Read Keith Perkins’ article on Cohen in the Forgotten Heroes series from 2007, here.

Our condolences go out to his family.

Avi Cohen – November 14, 1956 – December 28, 2010.

Rest In Peace, Avi. You’ll Never Walk Alone.