The Premier League is set to announce the first set of inductees into the inaugural Hall of Fame – What Liverpool players, past and present, should receive the “highest individual honour awarded to players by the League.”
Although the Reds have never won a league title since the Premier League’s inception, they have without doubt been a home to some of the best players to grace English football in the last 30 years.
With the first batch of inductees rumoured to (rightly) include the likes of Ryan Giggs, Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer ect. – All PL greats that have won the trophy – it would be safe to assume that considering the criteria, many Liverpool players may see their places cemented further down the line.
With that said, here is a list of past and present Liverpool players that I believe are most deserving of being inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame somewhere down the line.
I will be judging the players based on how skilled and talented players were, as well as their impact on the Premier League (e.g. accomplishments, legacy ect.).
Since 1992, many fine players have called Anfield their home. Therefore, there were a number of candidates unfortunate to miss out on the top 10.
Looking at players from 90s, John Barnes enjoyed his best years in the previous decade, whilst Steve Mcmanaman arguably never received the recognition his talent deserved until he left for Madrid.
The talented midfield duo of Xabi Alonso and Didi Hamman were brilliant players for Liverpool in the mid-2000s, but were unfortunate to play in a side that performed below par in the league. The same can be said of Fernando Torres.
In terms of the more recent crop of players, Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino all can feel unlucky to miss out. However, playing in easily the best Liverpool side in Premier League history, they have time on their side to further their arguments.
Now onto the list…
10. Trent Alexander-Arnold
There is no better place to kick off this list than with the present.
The rise of Trent Alexander-Arnold over the past 3 years has been nothing short of meteoric. The West Derby born defender has an impressive resume: Champions League winner (2x finalist); UEFA Super Cup; Club World Cup; Premier League runner up (and soon to be winner providing the season is not voided) amongst a plethora of personal accolades. That is a CV a retired pro would be proud to own. The right back is only 21!
Since being drafted into Jurgen Klopp’s side as a 19 year old, the academy graduate has never looked back. From cementing his place in the first team to redefining the role of a modern day fullback, Alexander-Arnold is a generational talent that looks like he is only somehow going to get better.
It is credit to his incredible talent as a playmaker and creator that, considering his age, he has been included on this list. It would be a safe bet to assume that by the end of this career, the Scouser appears much higher on this list.
9. James Milner
To call James Milner the modern day professional would be slightly disrespectful, as it would negate his undeniable talent as a footballer.
Enjoying a career of 18 years and counting, all of which have been spent in the top flight, Milner has made over 540 appearances in the Premier League, spending time at the likes of Leeds, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Man City before signing for Liverpool in 2015.
Equally adept at playing in the centre of midfield as well as in wide areas, the current Liverpool vice captain’s tactical excellence and flexibility has seen him being employed in a variety of positions, and he has always excelled.
Whilst maybe now not a first team regular for Klopp’s side now, his experience and leadership is vital for this current crop of Liverpool players.
A two time league winner with Manchester City and a stalwart of the Premier League for the past 15 years, he would be a no brainer for eventual recognition by the Hall of Fame.
8. Sami Hyypia
Signed from Willem II as a relatively unknown quantity back in May 1999, the ‘Big Fin’ would go onto smash the expectations of all around the club.
Looking at Sami Hyypia’s size and stature, you would expect a centre half of great power and little finesse. Whilst the former was true, the Finnish centre-half possessed brilliant composure and a great reading of the game that saw him very rarely rely on his physical prowess.
A great leader on and off the pitch, Hyypia captained the Reds once he established himself as Liverpool’s first choice centre half. Whilst he would later lose that to Steven Gerrard, the defenders importance to the team did not lessen.
Often overlooked when put alongside his longtime partner in crime, Jamie Carragher, the 6ft 4 defender was equally vital to Liverpool’s success during the 2000s. He would add the Champions League and FA Cup to his treble of trophies that he won in 2001, cementing his £2.6 million transfer as an absolute bargain along the way.
7. Michael Owen
For many of a younger generation, it may be hard to picture Michael Owen as anything but a pundit whose ramblings are often the subject of mass ridicule on social media. There was a time however where he was arguably the best striker on the planet and had the world at his feet.
Bursting onto the scene as a teenager in the mid-1990s, the pacey forward replaced the prodigal son, Robbie Fowler, as Liverpool’s first choice striker and went on to finish as back to back top goalscorer in his first two seasons in the first team.
The England star was virtually unplayable at his best.
Lightning fast and deadly in front of goal, Owen was the star of Gerard Houlier’s treble winning side in 2001 – A season in which he became the first player to win the Ballon D’or whilst playing in the Premier League.
In some respects, Owen’s story is one of what could have been. Injuries curtailed the poacher’s career and he arguably never reached the lofty heights that were expected of him.
6. Luis Suarez
Simply put, Luis Suarez is the most talented footballer to play for Liverpool in the Premier League era.
Whilst the controversial striker’s time in England was brief, his star burned intensely, no more so than in the 2013/14 season where he came agonisingly close to leading the Reds to the title.
Very rarely does a singular player strike so much fear into opposition defenders. For that 8 month stretch, the Uruguayan tortured every single backline across the country almost singlehandedly.
A worthy winner of the PFA Player of the Year award for that season, Suarez produced countless jaw dropping moments during his time in red.
No game shows the forward’s class than his four goal haul against Norwich City. Each finish showed a different side to his game. From a looping 45-yard volley that sailed over the head of John Ruddy to a brilliant Matt Le Tissier-esque solo goal, ‘El Pistolero’ could do it all.
For all his good, the now Barcelona man was polarising to say the least. More often than not the pantomime villain, Suarez was just as memorable for his brilliance as well as his moments of lunacy.
The former Red only features so low on this list due to his short time at the club as well as the lack of silverware Liverpool won during his time at the club.
5. Robbie Fowler
To be named ‘God’ by your own fans is a level of appreciation rarely achieved by players after a whole career. Attaining this in his teenage years, Robbie Fowler was truly something special.
Never the most athletic, Fowler was technically gifted and born to score goals. Possibly the most natural finisher to have graced the Premier League; the striker possessed a wand of a left foot and a keen eye for goal.
Whilst he was more than just a goal scorer – being equally able to link up with his teammates and create chances – the Liverpool legend’s record speaks for itself. 162 PL goals makes him the seventh highest goal scorer in the league’s history, and with 128 of those strikes coming for the Reds, he is Liverpool’s all-time top scorer in the Premier League era.
An icon of the Premier League, Fowler would have been higher had he of lifted the Premier League trophy. If injuries had not of impacted him so severely, could he have led Liverpool to a league title?
4. Mohammed Salah
Liverpool fans right now are enjoying watching the best side they have seen don the red shirt since the great teams of the 70s and 80s. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Red’s current ‘Egyptian King’ of the Kop features so highly on this list.
Salah was bought from Roma for £39 million in the summer of 2017. That price looks like an absolute bargain for a player that has led Klopp’s team to a slew of success, breaking individual records galore along the way.
The winger was crowned PFA Player of the Year in his first season in the league after scoring 32 goals, a record-breaking haul. Salah backed this up by retaining his top goalscorer crown the following season as Liverpool finished as Champions League winners and PL runners up.
Unbelievably quick and capable of twisting a defender inside out, Liverpool’s no. 11 is one of the finest wingers to have played in the Premier League.
With the Anfield outfit looking set to lift the Premier League (dependent on the season being voided) this season, Salah looks set to only add to his Hall of Fame credentials over the next few years.
3. Virgil Van Dijk
If you were attempting to pinpoint the moment that changed Liverpool from a ‘nearly team’ into a team worthy of the title of ‘Champions of the World’, you could do little better than look to Virgil Van Dijk’s move to Merseyside in January 2018.
A commanding leader at the back, Van Dijk is equally adept at cutting out a dangerous opposition attack with a well-timed interception as was at providing a killer pass to set up an attack.
The calmness of the Dutch giant has rubbed off on his teammates, transforming a defence once renowned for it’s tendency to leak goals, to one of the best in Europe.
The defender has already has an extremely impressive resume. In the 2019 alone, he lifted the Champions League, the World Club Cup and the Super Cup as well as receiving a slew of personal awards.
Van Dijk picked up the PFA Player of the Year, UEFA Men’s Player of the Year and a close fought second place in the Ballon D’or after producing the best individual season seen by any defender in the Premier League in 2018/19.
Already being compared with the greats of English football – Terry, Ferdinand ect. – there is no doubt in my mind that by the time he hangs up his boots, the Dutch star will go down as one of the best defenders in Premier League history.
2. Jamie Carragher
Whilst never at the top of the class in his position, Jamie Carragher is more than deserving of a place in the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Being a literal ever present in Liverpool’s team throughout the 2000s, ‘Mr Liverpool’ recorded 508 PL appearances during his playing career that saw him lift two FA Cups, two League Cups, a UEFA Cup and of course the Reds historic fifth European Cup in Istanbul.
Sometimes pigeonholed as a reactionary defender that who excelled in last-ditch ‘hero moments’, this would be a disservice to an utterly brilliant player.
Now, as a leading pundit for Sky Sports, it is clear to see the former LFC vice-captain’s tactical knowledge and understanding of the game.
He may not have been the most athletic or the most technically gifted, but his footballing brain helped him to stay at the top of the game for the duration of his career, something that can’t be said for many of his contemporaries.
You don’t become the second highest appearance maker ever for a club like Liverpool by just being hard-working or having the right accent. Carragher’s eventual inclusion in the Hall of Fame will be entirely on merit.
1. Steven Gerrard
What is there left to write that hasn’t already been said about Steven Gerrard? To put it bluntly, the former captain is the greatest player in Liverpool’s entire history.
A tenacious box-to-box midfielder that led by example, Gerrard had that most unique of abilities: the inherent magic to win football matches almost single handedly; something he showcased time and time again.
Coming through the ranks at the Red’s, Gerrard possessed brilliant technical ability, a tireless work-rate and an incredible elite all-roundedness to his game. Equally excellent at lashing a volley into the top corner or raking a pass 60 yards to the feet of his teammates as he was at making a last ditch tackle, he truly was a living embodiment of the ‘Roy of the Rovers’.
Although his crowning achievements came in other competitions (think Isantbul 2005; Cardiff 2006 et al), ‘captain fantastic’ became a symbol of the club in the modern day. You could not talk about Liverpool without instantly mentioning their talismanic maestro.
The one black mark against his name would be the lack of a premier league trophy, but there was no doubt about his ability in comparison to his contemporaries.
He may have enjoyed more success had he have moved elsewhere, but the way in which he carried Liverpool, to punch well above their weight, is testament to his greatness.
Perhaps if he had won at least one, we would possibly be seeing him announced as one of the first inductees into the Hall of Fame.
Do you think we have missed anyone? Let us know your top 10 in the comments below or on our social media outlets.
Picture by Ben Sutherland – licensed under Creative Commons