Liverpool FC top 10 playmakers – From Alonso to Dalglish

Throughout their long and illustrious history, Liverpool have been blessed with some truly magnificent playmakers, but who makes our top 10?

Every good team has a playmaker.

The cog that is integral to the way the side gels together. The one who makes things happen.

Right now, in this Liverpool team, that player is Thiago. When the Spaniard isn’t available, Jurgen Klopp‘s side simply aren’t the same without his dynamism in midfield.

Anfield has been lucky enough to house some of the most gifted playmakers the game has seen, but who are the best 10 to have appeared for the Reds over the years?

Of course, much of this may depend on your definition of a ‘playmaker’ and your personal interpretation of the role. We’ve gone for players who contributed to opening up opposing defences, providing the killer pass, as opposed to more of a player who controlled the tempo of the game.

There’s some notable exceptions that could cause a debate (Peter Beardsley being one), but we doubt you’ll disagree with the No.1!


10. Steve McManaman

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

Macca is one of the trickiest players to play for the Reds. He simply had to be on this list.

A flying winger who had everything you’d want in an attacking player, there is an argument to say McManaman is one of the most underrated talents Liverpool have been blessed with in the Premier League era.

“Only Barnes, Gerrard and Dalglish have more assists for LFC than McManaman, wow!”

Jack Lusby, This is Anfield


9. Trent Alexander-Arnold

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 30, 2022: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold scores the first goal during the FA Community Shield friendly match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Several years ago, it would have been unimaginable to include a player who is technically a “defender” on this list, but such is the unique role he plays in Klopp’s team, there’s no way we could leave Alexander-Arnold out.

One of the most technically gifted players in the club’s recent history, Trent has been nothing short of a revelation since making his way through the academy and establishing himself in the first team.

He registered 19 assists in all competitions in 2021/22, his best figure yet, and continues to redefine the modern-day role of a right-back.


8. Philippe Coutinho

BRIGHTON AND HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 2, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“The little magician,” as he became known, left supporters with a sour taste in their mouths when he made a big-money move to Barcelona in January 2018, but that should take nothing away from his excellent performances during his time with the Reds.

Having joined for a mere £8.5 million in 2013, the Brazilian was a true joy to watch in his prime years with the club, and you have to wonder what could have been if he’d spent more years working under Klopp.

“I love Thiago, but Phil Coutinho knew where the poles were!”

Allan Ramsammy on Facebook


7. Ian Callaghan

Ian Callaghan, Liverpool (PA Images)

With 837 appearances to his name, Callaghan has played more matches for Liverpool than anyone else in their history.

Having played more centrally as a wing-half in his schoolboy days, at Anfield, Callaghan was asked to play wide on the right, where he was able to use his power and pace to beat defenders and get to the byline and whip in crosses.

Cally was a driving force in the Reds’ success in the 60s and 70s.


6. Graeme Souness

Graeme Souness, Liverpool, away kit, 1982 (Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport)

The complete midfielder.

Souness’ range of passing was outstanding, his shifting feet and dribbling ability allowed him to navigate challenges and his technique in cutting across the ball to fire home helped him to 55 goals from midfield.

In total, he won 14 medals with the Reds. Five league titles, four European Cups, three League Cups and three Charity Shields.


5. John Barnes


Barnes was a majestic player, an utterly unstoppable forward in his prime, with outstanding vision and a scarily good left foot.

He won two league titles with the Reds, as well as two FA Cups and one League Cup.

“He used to rip every team defence to shreds whenever he wanted – absolute class.”

Nick Mason on Facebook


4. Xabi Alonso

Liverpool, England - Saturday, September 1, 2007: Liverpool's Xabi Alonso celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Derby County during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

An absolute joy to watch. Alonso was a deep-lying playmaker who, in his prime, had a passing range superior to any other player in Europe.

He was a relative unknown when Rafa Benitez picked him up in 2004, but would go on to become one of football’s great modern-day midfielder, moving onto Real Madrid and Bayern Munich after his time at Liverpool.

Not to forget his role in the 2005 Champions League final triumph, either.

“The team fell apart when he left!”

Dominic Hill on Facebook

“Pass master!”

Shane Masterson on Facebook


3. Jan Molby

Jan Molby, Liverpool away kit 1985 (S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

Molby’s lack of mobility was questioned when he first arrived at Liverpool, but his skill, passing range and shooting ability certainly made up for it.

“The Great Dane” is without doubt one of the best midfielders to have played for the club, having initially arrived as a trialist from Ajax in 1984.

“He didn’t need to run, he could run the game from the centre circle and pass a ball through a drinking straw. The most underrated player of his era!”

Simon Spiers on Facebook


2. Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Carling Cup Semi-Final first leg match between Manchester City and Liverpool at Etihad Stadium on January 11, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Widely regarded as the best midfielder in Liverpool history, Gerrard had the lot. He was able to operate in a number of midfield roles, but his best years arguably came when he was utilised in an advanced midfield role.

He formed a telepathic partnership with prolific striker Fernando Torres, thriving in the No. 10 role and specialising in set pieces.

“Gerrard playing in the No.10 role behind Torres, he was unplayable in those years.”

@kirkbypr on Twitter


1. Kenny Dalglish

Kenny Dalglish celebrates with the European Cup. 1978, Club Brugge, Wembley. (Image: Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport)

King Kenny is widely regarded as the best player to ever pull on the red shirt, and with good reason.

His vision, his touch and his quick thinking on the pitch made him truly unique.

Dalglish’s awareness to drop off and collect the ball in midfield made him as much a threat as a playmaker as he was a finisher. Simply the best.

“Best playmaker? The reason I started supporting this great club, the one and only Kenny Dalglish.”

@garethreynold12 on Twitter