Rush, Barnes, Souness, Hansen, tragedy & cup finals – Liverpool FC in the 1980s

As we continue our look back over the most iconic photos of Liverpool Football Club’s history, we cover tragedy and triumph in the 1980s.


With the 1970s ushering in the Bob Paisley era and the Reds enjoying continued success, the 1980s began in much the same vein, winning a third European Cup in 1981.

Liverpool's winning goalscorer Alan Kennedy celebrates with the European Cup

It took a solitary, late goal from Alan Kennedy (above) to seal a 1-0 win over Real Madrid in Paris, with the left-back taking up a key role for Liverpool throughout the decade.

(L-R) Liverpool's Jimmy Case and Phil Neal, who scored the final goal, kiss the European Cup

On the other side of the defence was Phil Neal: the most decorated player in the history of Liverpool Football Club, with an incredible 22 major honours.

Scotland and Liverpool's Graeme Souness.

Signed in 1978, Graeme Souness became the bedrock of Liverpool’s success in the early 1980s, taking on the role of captain in 1981, before leaving for Sampdoria three years later.

Liverpool captain Alan Hansen accepts the applause of the crowd and his teammates as he walks out to lift the League Championship trophy (Picture by: Peter Robinson / EMPICS Sport)

And at the back, Alan Hansen cemented himself in the pantheon of the Reds’ greatest ever centre-backs, and a key proponent of the Liverpool way.

Liverpool's Ian Rush celebrates after putting his team in front against Everton (Picture by: Peter Robinson / EMPICS Sport)

Signed at the beginning of the decade, Ian Rush quickly endeared himself to the Liverpool faithful, scoring four goals in a 5–0 victory over Everton in 1982.

(L-R) The Liverpool coaching team of Chris Lawler, Roy Evans, manager Joe Fagan and Ronnie Moran celebrate with the European Cup

After 44 years with the club, Paisley stepped down from his role as manager at the end of the 1982/83 campaign, to be replaced by another member of the Bootroom, Joe Fagan.

(Picture by: Peter Robinson / EMPICS Sport)

It wasn’t long before Fagan had continued the tradition on Merseyside, steering Liverpool to victory over AC Milan in the European Cup final, securing a priceless treble in his first season.

Liverpool's Kenny Dalglish celebrates after scoring the winning goal, which wrapped up the League Championship for his team

This was followed, in 1986, by another double, this time with player-manager Kenny Dalglish at the helm, with the legendary No. 7 bringing home Liverpool’s 16th league title with the winning goal against Chelsea on the final day of the season.

Kenny Dalglish, Jan Molby and Ronnie Whelan congratulate Ian Rush (second l) on one of his two goals vs. Everton in FA Cup Final 1986 (Picture by Peter Robinson EMPICS Sport)

Rush was the Reds’ leading scorer that season, with 31 goals in all competitions, and the Welshman is still holds the all-time club record with 346 strikes in 660 games over two spells.

John Barnes, Peter Beardsley, Liverpool, 1988 (Picture by Ross Kinnaird EMPICS Sport)

Dalglish oversaw the shifting into a new era at Anfield, and key to this was the signing of John Barnes in 1987, with the winger joining fellow new arrivals Peter Beardsley, John Aldridge and Ray Houghton, and later the returning Rush, to form a sensational forward line.

The 1980s were clouded by two separate footballing tragedies, however, with Liverpool banned from European competition for six years following the deaths of 39 people in the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985.

April 17, 1989, floral tributes are placed by soccer fans at the 'Kop' end of Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, on April 17, 1989, after the Hillsborough April 15 tragedy when fans surged forward during the Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium killing 96 people. (Picture by: Peter Kemp / AP/Press Association Images)

And four years later on that fateful day in April 1989, 96 innocent lives were list in a horrific chain of events at Hillsborough Stadium – a tragedy that eventually saw Dalglish relinquish his position as Liverpool manager, having attended dozens of funerals, including four in one day.

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