Liverpool is considered the second capital of Ireland because of the huge number of Irish immigrants in the city.

Merseyside has also seen some excellent footballers of Irish heritage representing Liverpool and Everton.

Merseysportlive looked at the top five players to represent Liverpool.

5) Ray Houghton

Born in Scotland, told he wasn’t good enough, he chose to play for Ireland through his father’s Donegal roots.

Houghton made a name for himself winning numerous titles in the late 1980s, playing 202 games and scoring 38 goals.

Houghton netted two of Ireland’s most famous goals; against Italy at the 1994 World Cup and in the famous win over England at Euro 88.

4) Steve Heighway

Heighway, regarded as one of the greatest-ever Liverpool players, netted over 70 goals for the Reds during his career.

He won four League titles, two European Cups, two UEFA Cups and several League and FA Cups.

Heighway became head of the academy and helped the likes of Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen break through.

3) John Aldridge

Aldridge – born in Garston – is known as one of Liverpool’s most prolific goal scorers, netting 63 times in 104 games.

Aldridge turned out for Ireland due to his Irish grandparents.

‘Aldo’ also played with Tranmere and became manager after retiring as a player.

He had a famous encounter with a fourth official at the 1994 world cup after he was not allowed to go on as a sub.

2) Mark Lawrenson

A quick, powerful centre back at the heart of the Reds’ defence during their most successful era.

‘Lawro’ won it all with Liverpool including five league titles and European Cups before injury forced him into retirement.

Unfortunately for Lawrenson, injury prevented him from making the Irish Euro 1988 squad.

1) Ronnie Whelan

Ronnie Whelan
Ronnie Whelan in 2013 (pic by Stew Jones)

Quite simply the greatest ever Irish player to play in Liverpool.

The Dubliner won everything with Liverpool and was part of Ireland’s Euro and World Cup squads.

Whelan played 493 games for Liverpool, scoring 73 goals.

He spent much of the 1988–89 season as captain due to Alan Hansen’s injury.

When the Hillsborough disaster happened, Whelan played a key role leading the team on and off the pitch in a difficult time.

(Featured image courtesy of CGP Grey from Creative Commons)