Liverpool FC top 10 goalkeepers – From Clemence to Alisson

Alisson is Liverpool’s standout goalkeeper of the modern era, but is he the best ever in his position for the Reds?

While attacking players can often receive the most plaudits for their match-winning antics, ‘keepers can be equally priceless.

Fortunately, Liverpool have had some legendary figures between the sticks throughout their history, some of whom have become true Anfield legends.

Here’s how we rank the Reds’ 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time.


10. David James

London, England - Monday, December 2, 1996: Liverpool's goalkeeper David James in action during the 2-0 Premier League victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Starts: 276 | Clean sheets: 102

Granted, David James had errors in him and his best years were spent elsewhere, but he was still a perfectly good ‘keeper for Liverpool.

The former England No. 1 was a mainstay of Graeme Souness and Roy Evans’ teams in the 1990s, often making eye-catching saves at key times, and he tasted League Cup success in 1995.

James’ aforementioned mistakes ultimately defined his Liverpool career, but he was actually a lot better than many gave him credit.

You don’t make 277 appearances for the Reds if you’re not at least half-decent – and 212 of those were in succession!


9. Arthur Riley

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

Starts: 338 | Clean sheets: 69

Nearly 100 years ago, back in 1925, Arthur Riley made his Liverpool debut, kickstarting a strong Reds career.

The South African was initially second choice to Elisha Scott for a long period, but eventually, he took the No. 1 jersey and remained at Anfield until 1939.

Riley was hailed for having “reach, anticipation and a safe pair of hands,” and only the exceptional Scott robbed him of being far higher up Liverpool’s list of all-time appearance-makers.

Sadly, no silverware ever came his way, but his place among Liverpool’s greatest ‘keepers is undeniable having helped staved off relegation more times than he’d have liked.


8. Jerzy Dudek

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th, 2005: Liverpool's Jerzy Dudek celebrates saving the last penalty to win the European Cup against AC Milan during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Starts: 184 | Clean sheets: 74

Jerzy Dudek may not have been perfect, but he will always have Istanbul.

The Pole’s antics in the 2005 Champions League final will never be forgotten, from the unfathomable save to deny Andriy Shevchenko to his trophy-clinching stops in the penalty shootout.

Away from that legendary night, Dudek was largely reliable, even though high-profile mistakes against Man United still hurt to this day.

He shone under both Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez and will be welcomed along to legend matches for decades to come.


7. Sam Hardy

Starts: 240 | Clean sheets: 63

Like Riley, Sam Hardy isn’t necessarily a world-renowned Liverpool goalkeeper, but he was a star in his own right during the early part of the 20th century.

The Englishman spent seven years on Merseyside, winning the First Division title in 1905/06, only making fewer than 30 appearances in a season once in his seven-year Liverpool career.

Hardy was described as “the finest goalkeeper I played against” by Charlie Buchan, co-founder of the Football Writers’ Association, and is a true pre-war Liverpool hero.


6. Pepe Reina

Liverpool's David Ngog (centre) celebrates scoring his sides second goal of the game with goalkeeper Jose Reina (right) (PA Image)

Starts: 394 | Clean sheets: 177

Before Alisson came along, Pepe Reina was Liverpool’s undisputed best ‘keeper of the Premier League era.

The Spaniard arrived as an upgrade on Dudek in 2005 and was an immediate favourite, winning the Golden Glove award in 2005/06, 2006/07 and 2007/08.

An eccentric character with a great team ethic, Reina improved those around him and deserved far more than a solitary League Cup medal to his name.

A World Cup and two European Championships with Spain weren’t a bad consolation, mind!

Reina’s form dropped off later on, but for those first three or four years, few in Europe were better with their feet and in their decision-making.


5. Elisha Scott

(Please credit within piece: The Wadsworth family) Elisha Scott in action for Liverpool

Starts: 468 | Clean sheets: 137

When you think of legendary past goalkeepers, Scott’s name jumps out, following a glittering Anfield career.

As mentioned, he kept the impressive Riley out of the team in the 1920s, starring in back-to-back Division Two triumphs in 1921/22 and 1922/23.

By the time Scott departed in 1934, he had 468 appearances in total and had Everton legend Dixie Dean, calling him the “greatest I’ve ever seen.”

Only Ray Clemence and Bruce Grobbelaar started more matches for Liverpool between the sticks, which speaks volumes.


4. Bruce Grobbelaar

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

Starts: 628 | Clean sheets: 267

Forget about all the eccentricities for a moment – more importantly, Grobbelaar was a world-class goalkeeper.

He was an unknown when he joined Liverpool in 1981, but by the time he left 13 years later, his trophy cabinet was jam-packed and he was a huge character in the game.

Grobbelaar’s antics during the 1984 European Cup final will always be legendary, with his spaghetti legs bamboozling Roma’s players in the shootout – he was hugely consistent under Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish.

There was also the small matter of six league titles and three FA Cups and League Cups apiece, in what was a career most ‘keepers only dream of.


3. Tommy Lawrence

Tommy Lawrence, Liverpool goalkeeper (Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport)

Starts: 390 | Clean sheets: 133

Tommy Lawrence was once interviewed by the BBC to talk about a clash with Everton decades earlier in 1967, with the reporter completely unaware that he played in the actual game.

It was an incident that sums up how easily past legends can be forgotten about, when in fact, he is one of the Reds’ greatest ‘keepers.

Lawrence was an indispensible figure for Bill Shankly‘s Reds throughout almost the entirety of the 1960s, winning the first FA Cup in the club’s history and also getting his hands on two First Division titles.

Dubbed ‘The Flying Pig’ by Liverpool supporters, he was fearless and had a stronghold on the No. 1 shirt that forced the legendary Ray Clemence to bide his time.


2. Alisson

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker celebrates by biting his winners' medal after the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Starts: 192 | Clean sheets: 86

Much like Alan Hansen and Virgil van Dijk, only longevity prevents Alisson from taking top spot.

The 29-year-old has been an incredible signing since signing four years ago, standing out as the world’s best goalkeeper for much of that time.

Good on the ball, exceptional positionally, a strong organiser and a great shot-stopper, Alisson is the prototype of the perfect modern ‘keeper.

His greatest strength is making everything look so easy, and without him, it is hard to imagine Liverpool winning the Champions League and Premier League under Jurgen Klopp.

At 29, there could be another decade of him to come!


1. Ray Clemence

Liverpool's Ray Clemence celebrates with the European Cup, 1977 (Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport)

Starts: 665 | Clean sheets: 323

It just can’t not be Ray Clemence, can it?

One of the most influential players in Liverpool’s history, the former No. 1 won five league titles and three European Cups during a 13-year stint at Anfield, among numerous other trophies.

He was acrobatic, producing enough memorable saves to make a DVD out of, but was also a calming presence who only conceded 16 league goals in 42 games in 1978/79.

Had it not been for Peter Shilton – an equally superb ‘keeper – Clemence would have won over 100 caps for England without breaking a sweat.

Alisson still has plenty to achieve to take Clemence’s place!