The 21 Liverpool FC managers in history

Since the club’s formation in 1892, Liverpool FC have had 21 managers, 20 full-time, occupy the hot seat and lead the team to an incredible 50 major honours.

This football club is steeped in history, from its inception to present day, and the responsibility of the team has been passed from one manager to the next.

Each has experienced different hardships and success stories, silverware has been lifted and legacies created.

Here, we look at those who have held the position of manager of Liverpool Football Club.


William Edward Barclay

William Edward Barclay, 1892

From: 1892-95 | Games: 91 | Win %: 57.14

Although Barclay held the title of club secretary, that role was effectively being the team manager, but, at that time, the starting lineup was selected by the board.

The first man to manage Liverpool FC.

Honours: 1 Lancashire League, 1 Second Division title


John McKenna

John McKenna, Liverpool Vice-Chairman (EMPICS/EMPICS Sport)

From: 1895-96 | Games: 36 | Win %: 69.44

McKenna was the most prominent board member and had long been pulling the strings as he worked alongside Barclay, with the secretary title more akin to the role of a manager.

He then had two spells as club chairman before becoming director, he left the club in 1921, ending his near 30-year association with Liverpool.

Honours: 1 Second Division title


Tom Watson

Tom Watson, Liverpool manager, 1905 (EMPICS/EMPICS Sport)

From: 1896-1915 | Games: 742 | Win %: 44.34

The club’s longest-serving manager, who led Liverpool for a total of 19 years, was brought to the club from Sunderland by McKenna, regarded as one of his wisest moves.

He went on to win two Football League championships. As the First World War broke out, Watson was starting his 19th season in charge, but it was to be his last as he died in 1915, aged 56.

Honours: 2 First Division titles and 1 Second Division title


David Ashworth

David Ashworth, Liverpool manager 1919-1923 (Credit: The Bromilow family)

From: 1919-23 | Games: 139 | Win %: 50.36

A manager who started as a referee, Ashworth joined in 1919 and was quick to win the league with his new side in 1921/22.

Back-to-back titles were then within reach, but by the time the title was secured Ashworth had swapped leaders Liverpool for second-last Oldham, to be closer to his family.

Honours: 1 First Division title


Matt McQueen

From: 1923-28 | Games: 229 | Win %: 40.61

After Ashworth’s sudden departure, McQueen, who was a club director at the time, was turned to as a temporary solution, but he would remain in the hot seat for five years.

McQueen had previously played for the club and featured in the Reds’ first-ever Football League match and is credited for one of Liverpool’s most significant signings in Gordon Hodgson, who still sits third in the all-time goalscorers list.

Honours: 1 First Division title


George Patterson

Liverpool team group: (back row, l-r) Gordon Hodgson, Tom Morrison, Willie Steel, Elisha Scott, Arthur Riley, Archie McPherson, Dave Wright, Gordon Gunson (front row, l-r) Manager George Patterson, Harold Barton, James Jackson, Tom Bradshaw, Jimmy McDougal, Ted Crawford, trainer C Wilson

From: 1928-36 | Games: 384 | Win %: 37.5

With 20 years at Anfield under his belt, Patterson was an obvious choice to take over from McQueen after he retired to become secretary-manager for the second time.

Patterson took the job temporarily after the death of Watson and during the First World War before then returning to the post in 1928.


George Kay

From: 1936-51 | Games: 354 | Win %: 39.55

Kay had only been at Anfield a couple of years before World War Two broke out, leading to the league being on hiatus and regional competitions taking their place, but that did not stop Kay.

A well-respected figure, Kay actually selected Bill Shankly to play for Liverpool for one match during the war and in 1947, won the league, Liverpool’s fifth.

Honours: 1 First Division title


Don Welsh

From: 1951-56 | Games: 232 | Win %: 34.91

Welsh inherited a side not fit to fight for silverware and managed under a board of directors that did not appear overly ambitious and by 1954, Liverpool were relegated to the Second Division.

Change was needed at the end of the 1955/56 season and so Welsh left Liverpool as the first manager to be sacked.


Phil Taylor

From: 1956-59 | Games: 150 | Win %: 50.67

The only Liverpool boss to never manage the club in the top flight, Taylor was another that had been associated with the club for two decades before being turned to.

Taylor would later admit that “the strain of trying to win promotion has proved too much” and despite his best efforts, the task of seeing Liverpool return to the top was placed in some legendary hands.


Bill Shankly

Liverpool manager Bill Shankly receives the Bells Whisky Trophy for Manager of the Year during a presentation ceremony at Anfield before his side's league division one match against Chelsea. 8th September 1973. (PA / Alamy Media)

From: 1959-74 | Games: 783 | Win %: 51.98

A man who revolutionised Liverpool on the pitch and off it, he was one with the fans and knew how to make the people happy.

A revered figure, Boot Room leader and a catalyst for the lineage of legendary managers that would follow in his footsteps.

Honours: 3 First Division titles, 3 Charity Shields, 2 FA Cups, 1 Second Division title and 1 UEFA Cup


Bob Paisley

Bob Paisley at Anfield after taking over as Liverpool manager following the resignation of Bill Shankly. 26th July 1974. (PA / Alamy)

From: 1974-83 | Games: 535 | Win %: 57.57

With 20 honours during his nine-year tenure, Paisley remains the most successful person to manage Liverpool.

He was a reluctant successor to Shankly but the humble genius went on to lift silverware in eight of his nine seasons in charge and became the first man to manage three European-Cup winning sides.

Once his time at the helm came to an end, Paisley had served the club for a total of 44 years.

Honours: 6 First Division titles, 6 Charity Shields, 3 League Cups, 3 European Cups, 1 UEFA Super Cup and 1 UEFA Cup


Joe Fagan

JOE FAGAN, LIVERPOOL manager, 1984 (Bildbyran/Press Association Images)

From: 1983-85 | Games: 131 | Win %: 54.2

Another inspiring boot room figure, Fagan was also a reluctant successor but his transition into the top job was seamless, ending his debut season with a historic treble.

Smokin’ Joe would oversee one more season before handing over the reins after a total of 27 years in the dugout.

Honours: 1 First Division title, 1 European Cup and 1 League Cup


Kenny Dalglish

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 9, 2011: Liverpool's manager Kenny Dalglish MBE before the FA Cup 3rd Round match against Manchester United at Old Trafford. (Photo by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

From: 1985-91, 2011-12 | Games: 381 | Win %: 58.53

The only manager to take the role on two different occasions, he first managed the Reds from 1985 to 1991 before returning for a short spell from 2011 to 2012.

King Kenny brought entertainment and a team carved in his image to the pitch, adding to the legacy that he carved out during his incredible playing career.

Honours: 3 First Division titles, 4 Charity Shields, 2 FA Cups and 1 League Cup


Ronnie Moran (caretaker)

VLADIKAVKAZ, RUSSIA - Monday, September 11, 1995: Liverpool's coach Ronnie Moran training at the Republican Spartak Stadium ahead of the UEFA Cup 1st Round 1st Leg match against FC Alania Spartak Vladikavkaz. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

From: 1991 | Games: 10 | Win %: 40

Another original boot room boy would, briefly, sit in the hot seat on two occasions, first when Dalglish sensationally stood down in 1991 and then again when Graeme Souness underwent heart surgery in 1992.

Having been with Liverpool since 1949, Moran found himself at the top of the ladder, albeit temporarily, but he will forever be remembered as one of the club’s greatest ever servants.


Graeme Souness

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

From: 1991-94 | Games: 157 | Win %: 42.04

One of the club’s greatest-ever players and captain, Souness returned to take the manager’s role, but it did not prove as successful as his playing days.

A heavy-handed approach to the ageing squad dilemma, among other issues, created unrest, but his desire to blood youth was to be admired.

Honours: 1 FA Cup


Roy Evans

Roy Evans (Malcolm Croft/PA)

From: 1994-98 | Games: 226 | Win %: 51.77

Evans joined the club as a schoolboy, was moulded under the legendary boot room boys and become the 14th full-time manager for the club, 28 years after he first joined.

There were plenty of what-ifs for Evans’ time in charge but he did add a League Cup to the trophy cabinet in 1995 and severed with pride.

Honours: 1 League Cup


Roy Evans / Gerard Houllier

Gerard Houllier (right), who has joined Liverpool Manager Roy Evans, to form a managerial partnership at Anfield, today (Thursday). See PA Story SOCCER Liverpool. PA Photos

From: 1998 | Games: 18 | Win %: 38.89

For the first time, two managers were to lead the team but it was far from a success story and ended after just 18 games, with Evans taking his leave and leaving Houllier in sole charge.


Gerard Houllier

Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier proudly holds the UEFA Cup (PA Images)

From: 1998-2004 | Games: 307 | Win %: 52.12

After taking hold of the mantle himself, Houllier etched his name into the history books after guiding Liverpool to an unprecedented cup treble in 2000/01.

He modernised the club and gave supporters moments that will last a lifetime.

Honours: 2 League Cups, 1 UEFA Cup and 1 FA Cup


Rafa Benitez

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and manager Rafael Benitez celebrate with the trophy, Istanbul, 25.05.2005 ( Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport)

From: 2004-2010 | Games: 350 | Win %: 56.29

The Spaniard took the club to the precipice of league glory and secured the first European Cup since 1984, against all odds.

A proud manager who was not given all the tools he deserved, he remains strongly tied to the club, despite spells with Chelsea and Everton.

Honours: 1 Champions League, 1 Super Cup and 1 FA Cup


Roy Hodgson

NAPELS, ITALY - Thursday, October 21, 2010: Liverpool's manager Roy Hodgson before the UEFA Europa League Group K match against SSC Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo. (Pic by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

From: 2010-2011 | Games: 31 | Win %: 41.94

Under significant pressure from the off, Hodgson could not find his feet at Anfield and it’s a period of time many will have wished to erase from the memory.

The breaking point came quickly and he all but secured his fate when he said Liverpool was not too big for the relegation battle.


Brendan Rodgers

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 22, 2015: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the Premier League match against m' at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

From: 2012-2015 | Games: 166 | Win %: 51.2

Arrived at Anfield with plenty to prove and took the Reds to the precipice of glory in the Premier League, providing plenty of joyous moments in the process.

In the end, Rodgers could not find the recipe to success and the club needed to move on.


Jurgen Klopp

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 22, 2020: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and Adam Lallana (R) lift the Premier League trophy during the presentation as the Reds are crowned Champions after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Also; Neco Williams, Mohamed Salah. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

From: 2015-present | Games: 383* | Win %: 62.66

‘From doubters to believers’

Klopp has transformed Liverpool and placed the club back on its perch, right where it belongs. A charismatic leader, the German has set new benchmarks and is taking us on one wild ride.

Honours: 1 European Cup, 1 Premier League, 1 FA Cup, 1 League Cup, 1 Super Cup, 1 Club World Cup and 1 Community Shield