The unique distinction Ronny Rosenthal holds in Liverpool history

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Ronny Rosenthal only made 97 appearances during his four-year spell at Liverpool, but the Israeli holds a unique distinction at the club that will never be replicated.

Rosenthal initially joined the Reds on loan in the closing stages of the 1989/90 campaign, with Kenny Dalglish boosting his options in a short-term deal with Standard Liege.

In eight games that season, he scored seven goals, including a perfect hat-trick on his first start for the club in a 4-0 thrashing of Charlton.

Those goals, helping Liverpool to the First Division title, convinced Dalglish to sanction a permanent transfer, but despite his dream start to life on Merseyside it never transformed into a regular starting role.

Of his 97 outings for the Reds, 56 of those came as a substitute, and 20 of his 41 starts came in his last full season at Anfield in 1992/93.

The Premier League era had begun, and with neither Dean Saunders or Paul Stewart impressing, Rosenthal’s game time increased.

He had scored six goals in 18 games by the end of November, but would only score once more between then and the season’s conclusion—though it was a particularly noteworthy one.

Graeme Souness, Liverpool manager, 1991 (Picture by Ross Kinnaird EMPICS Sport)

It was the Merseyside derby at Anfield, on March 20, 1993, with both sides moored in the bottom half of the table as Graeme Souness’ disappointing spell in charge was drawing to a close.

The Taylor report of 1990 had ruled against standing terraces in England, which ensured 1993/94 was the final season of the Spion Kop.

Long having been Liverpool’s 12th man, the pulsing sight of the standing Kop was a force for the Reds, but in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster it was deemed not fit for purpose and Anfield was to be converted into an all-seater stadium.

The last stand of the Spion Kop came two months later, but Rosenthal left his mark on this iconic stand with a decisive derby moment.

Anfield bore witness to a tense encounter that provided much in the way of entertainment but nothing in the way of goals, with the scores at 0-0 when Souness opted to bring off makeshift striker Steve McManaman in the 76th minute.

On came Rosenthal, joining Ian Rush up front in a side that also included Ronnie Whelan, Steve Nicol, Jan Molby and captain John Barnes.

McManaman had contrived to waste one of the biggest chances of the game on the hour mark, with the opening created by a mistake from Peter Beardsley, and Rosenthal was tasked with making an impact in his stead.

This proved the case as the clock turned into injury time, with Barnes finding Rush outside the area, and a clever pass from the striker then allowed Rosenthal to fire past Neville Southall and win the game.

Rosenthal shared a joke with Rush in celebration, with what proved to be his last goal for the club securing a small piece of history.

The Israeli was the last substitute to score in front of the standing Kop, and to do so with the winner against Everton will have meant much more; it was his only goal in the Merseyside derby.

It may not be his defining moment—and, for some, that remains a glaring miss in the 4-2 loss at Aston Villa in 1992—but it is one Rosenthal can look back on with pride.

Nowadays, after a career that later took in spells with Tottenham and Watford, Rosenthal works as a football consultant, and claims to have recommended the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Vincent Kompany to clubs before they broke through.

He looks back on his time with Liverpool fondly, and rightly so, with his goals providing big moments for the club—some at a time when there was little else to celebrate.

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