Liverpool British XI vs. Liverpool Foreign XI: Who comes out on top?

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It’s the World Cup, the transfer rumours have gone quiet, so how about a themed XI of the best British and foreign players to play for Liverpool.

We may be in the middle of the World Cup, but that doesn’t stop us talking about our beloved Reds.

With eight current Reds representing their respective countries in Russia, we’ve been thinking about who would make it into an all-time best XI in both categories.

Here’s what we think.

 

British XI

Goalkeeper: Ray Clemence

Liverpool goalkeeper Ray Clemence celebrates the equalizing goal

Unquestionably the greatest goalkeeper in Liverpool’s history, it will take something special for an individual to usurp Ray Clemence any time soon.

Five league titles and three European Cups isn’t too shabby, over a stunning 13-year Anfield career.

Right-Back: Phil Neal

Phil Neal, Liverpool - Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport

Has there ever been a more consistent player to represent the Reds?

Phil Neal was almost a freak of nature during the 1970s and 1980s, and astonishingly, playing 417 consecutive matches from 1976 to 1983.

The definition of solid, and also an expert penalty taker.

Centre-Back: Jamie Carragher

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SATURDAY FEBRUARY 12th 2005: Liverpool's Jamie Carragher lines-up before the Premiership match against Birmingham City at St. Andrews (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Tommy Smith and Ron Yeats deserve honourable mentions, but Jamie Carragher gets the nod at centre-back.

A player who fans could relate to on the pitch, “Carra” put his body on the line, especially during the incredible Champions League triumph in 2005, and was a magnificent out-and-out defender.

Centre-Back: Alan Hansen

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)

The most elegant defender Liverpool have ever had, Alan Hansen is a true great who won 16 major honours during his time on Merseyside.

Left-Back: Steve Nicol

An unsung hero who could play in multiple positions, Steve Nicol thrived most at right-back, but can easily slot in on the opposite flank.

Strong, powerful, technical and good in front of goal for a defender – he scored 46 goals in 468 games – the Scot was a manager’s dream and a crowd favourite.

Right Wing: Billy Liddell

Billy Liddell, Liverpool (PA Images)

Football before the 1960s was so, so different to the game we watch today, and many would simply look out place physically and technically.

Billy Liddell was a departure from the norm, however, and is rightly seen as one of Liverpool’s top five players of all time. In his 534 appearances for the Reds, he found the 228 times.

Record appearance-maker Ian Callaghan misses out.

Centre Midfield: Graeme Souness

Scotland and Liverpool's Graeme Souness.

A colossus of a footballer who was not only terrifying but also genuinely world-class, Graeme Souness was almost as influential as any player in British football in the 70s and 80s.

There was nothing he couldn’t do, from tenacious tackling to defence-splitting passes, and he skippered Liverpool in the 1984 European Cup final victory over Roma.

Ignore his disastrous reign as manager and remember him for the special player he was.

Centre Midfield: Steven Gerrard

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 3, 2013: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the second goal against Manchester City during the Premiership match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The best player Liverpool have ever had? If he’s not, Steven Gerrard is definitely in the top-two.

England have not produced many better footballers in history, and when he was at his peak, the former captain was arguably as good as anyone on the planet.

Istanbul, Cardiff, long-range screamers, raking passes, lung-busting runs and captain’s performances – imagine him in Jurgen Klopp‘s team.

Left Wing: John Barnes

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

For a generation of Liverpool supporters growing up in the late 80s, John Barnes was their undisputed idol.

A ridiculously gifted footballer who was unplayable on his day, he would be worth somewhere over £100 million in the modern game. Probably third behind Kenny Dalglish and Gerrard in the all-time list.

Striker: Kenny Dalglish

Alan Hansen, Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness celebrate with the cup, 1978 (Picture by Peter Robinson EMPICS Sport)

Speaking of Dalglish!

To many, he is Liverpool’s best ever player, and the genius he produced during 13 years at Anfield makes it an understandable opinion to have.

His vision was second to none, but he was also a born winner.

Striker: Ian Rush

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

Ian Rush is the Reds’ record goalscorer, and it is hard to see his tally of 346 goals ever being beaten.

Rush himself would admit that more talented players have graced the Anfield turf, but when it came to finishing and a big-game mentality, there was nobody better.

Roger Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Kevin Keegan all miss out, which goes to show how good Dalglish and Rush were.

 

Foreign XI

Goalkeeper: Bruce Grobbelaar

Liverpool's Bruce Grobbelaar and Michael Robinson celebrate with the European Cup, 1984. (Picture by Peter Robinson EMPICS Sport)

Eccentric and error-prone? Yes. Brilliant? Absolutely.

Bruce Grobbelaar’s colourful character often works against him, and it should never be forgotten that he was a world-class goalkeeper who won six league titles, three FA Cups, three League Cups and a European Cup.

Right-Back: Steve Finnan

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 16, 2008: Liverpool's Steve Finnan during the FA Cup 5th Round match against Barnsley at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There was absolutely nothing flash or special about Steve Finnan, a little like Nathaniel Clyne, but he was a great servant between 2003 and 2008.

He almost never performed below a six out of 10, and a lot of the time it was sevens or eights.

Centre-Back: Mark Lawrenson

Mark Lawrenson, Liverpool

The perfect centre-back partner for Hansen, Mark Lawrenson was an unbelievable defender who possessed blistering pace and a perfect reading of the game.

Since becoming “Lawro”, he has become something of a laughing stock, but he was phenomenal at his best.

Centre-Back: Sami Hyypia

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - TUESDAY APRIL 5th 2005: Liverpool's Sami Hyypia celebrates scoring the opening goal against Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final 1st Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

What a player Sami Hyypia was.

He arrived as a complete unknown from Willem II in 1999, but a decade later he had become one of the Premier League‘s greatest ever centre-backs, captained Liverpool, won the Champions League and a cup treble.

As an added bonus, he was a lovely man.

Left-Back: John Arne Riise

Barcelona, Spain - Wednesday, February 21, 2007: Liverpool's John Arne Riise celebrates winning the first goal against FC Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League First Knockout Round 1st Leg match at the Nou Camp. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

John Arne Riise may not have been perfect, but he was a great servant to the Reds, and came up with some memorable individual moments from left-back. Goals against Man United and Barcelona stand out the most.

Fabio Aurelio is the hipster’s choice, and although the Brazilian was a more polished player than Riise, he didn’t do nearly as much in a Liverpool shirt.

Right Wing: Dirk Kuyt

Liverpool’s ultimate big-game player, Dirk Kuyt went from a slight flop of a striker to one of the most effective right-wingers in the business.

When he was bad, he was terrible, but his finishing, work-rate, team ethic and sheer will to win see him included. The Reds’ rivals must have found him a real pest, which is the ultimate compliment.

Centre Midfield: Jan Molby

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 21, 2013: Former Liverpool player Jan Molby working for the media during the Premiership match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jan Molby may have carried a bit of timber, but his ability on the ball made even Alonso look inferior.

A huge influence during a wonderful spell in the 80s, the big Dane dictated matches with ease, and scored 61 times for Liverpool.

Centre Midfield: Xabi Alonso

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th, 2005: Liverpool's Xabi Alonso celebrates winning European Cup after beating AC Milan on penalties during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

One of the best midfielders of his generation, Xabi Alonso’s playmaking ability was a joy to watch during five years at Liverpool.

He won the Champions League in his first season and was such an influence with his passing ability, composure and underrated steel.

Left Wing: Philippe Coutinho

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 14, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Steve Heighway could easily have made the cut, but Philippe Coutinho gets the nod in controversial circumstances!

The Brazilian was a Red for nearly half a decade and was so often been the talisman when the team have most needed him, scoring endless magnificent strikes.

Striker: Luis Suarez

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 26, 2013: Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring the second goal against West Bromwich Albion during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s a bold call, but Luis Suarez is the most talented individual who has ever donned the Reds jersey.

The magic that ‘El Pistolero’ produced in 2013/14, in particular, was beyond belief, and he scored 81 goals in 142 appearances in total.

There have been few better strikers in the last 20 years.

Striker: Fernando Torres

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 14, 2009: We've won it five times... Liverpool's Fernando Torres reminds fans of his club's European pedigree as he celebrates scoring the equalising goal against Manchester United during the Premiership match at Old Trafford. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fernando Torres’ arrival in the summer of 2007 was one of the biggest statements Liverpool have made in their history, and he didn’t disappoint.

The Spaniard was the best striker in the world in the late 2000s, ripping some of the best defenders in the business apart, and scoring goals by the bucketload.

He may have soured things a little when he joined Chelsea in 2011, but not including Torres would be a sin.

 

Ultimate XI

So, with both teams chosen, who gets the nod in an Ultimate Liverpool XI? It’s fair to say it is a British-dominated lineup.

Clemence has to be in ahead of Grobbelaar because of his sheer consistency, and exactly the same applies to Neal, who was on another level to Finnan.

Hansen and Lawrenson were a dream pairing together, and they pip Carragher and Hyypia, despite them forging their own rock-solid partnership earlier this century.

Nicol is an obvious choice ahead of Riise – Alan Kennedy also deserves a mention – and on the right side of midfield, Liddell comfortably beats Kuyt.

Gerrard and Souness are Liverpool’s two greatest central midfielders ever, so their inclusion is a given, and it is also impossible to leave out Barnes.

In attack, it just has to be Dalglish and Rush, who did it over a longer period of time than Suarez and Torres, both of whom didn’t last four years at Anfield.

So there you have it, just one foreign player makes it into Liverpool’s best XI in history – do you agree?

Let us know your British, Foreign and Ultimate Liverpool XIs in the comments section.

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