Tuesday 23 July 2019

John Aldridge: 'A dream team to savour that put Liverpool on the map'

Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk raises the European Champion Clubs' Cup as he celebrates with teammates winning the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk raises the European Champion Clubs' Cup as he celebrates with teammates winning the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
Ian Callaghan. Photo: Getty

John Aldridge

Liverpool has a new team of Champions League heroes to join the list of all-time greats who have won the trophy for the club. Rarely a day has gone past when I have not had a photo taken with a Liverpool fan and held up five fingers to note the number of times the club have been crowned as European champions, but now we have No 6 to celebrate.

I was in Madrid last night to witness Liverpool's latest Champions League win and we can now add a couple of new names to the ultimate team of European champions to wear the famous red shirt.

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Steven Gerrard. Photo: Getty
Steven Gerrard. Photo: Getty

Here is my dream team made up of players who put Liverpool FC on the map.

RAY CLEMENCE (1977, 1978, 1981)

Clem was a fantastic keeper. No-nonsense, got the job done and rarely let Liverpool down as they put the first three European Cups in the cabinet. Bruce Grobbelaar, Jerzy Dudek and Alisson Becker have joined the list of winning Liverpool 'keepers, but I have to go with Ray as my first pick.

PHIL NEAL (1977, 1978, 1981, 1984)

The only Liverpool player to win the competition on four occasions, Neal was a magnificent right-back who scored in the 1977 and 1984 final wins. He is the club's most decorated player of all-time and should be in any Reds dream team.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK (2019)

It takes a lot for one of the modern Liverpool side to get into the line-up of the greatest of Liverpool's European champions, but Van Dijk deserves to be included. He has transformed Jurgen Klopp's defence since he arrived at the club and is now the best defender in world football. I had to drop Jamie Carragher out of this line up to get big Virgil in so sorry Carra!

ALAN HANSEN (1977, 1978, 1981)

What a defender this guy was. Unflappable, a wonderful reader of the game and player who rarely had a bad day at the office. Hansen was a class act and his three European Cup winner's medals are a testament to his importance in the great Liverpool sides that won the competition for the first time.

EMLYN HUGHES (1977, 1978)

I have to find a space in the team for this wonderful servant to the club and he could do a fine job at left-back. A wonderful leader who was superb in the dressing room and on the pitch, Hughes was a key figure in those first two European Cup wins.

IAN CALLAGHAN (1977, 1978)

What a player this guy was. I used to love watching Callaghan from the terraces at Anfield and it was great to see him getting European Cup medals in those first two finals, even though he was only on the bench for the 1978 final.

STEVEN GERRARD (2005)

His performance in the final against AC Milan in Istanbul 14 years ago became legendary from the moment the final whistle sounded and Stevie walks into any great Liverpool line-up. We don't see too many players like him in the modern game playing for their hometown club and loving every second of it.

GRAEME SOUNESS (1978, 1981, 1984)

A leader of men and a force of nature who the opposition were fearful of. Graeme would have struggled to play the way he did in the modern game, but he would have been good enough to adapt as he was a world-class performer.

KEVIN KEEGAN (1977)

Keegan was a crucial player at the start of the success Liverpool enjoyed under Bill Shankly and then Bob Paisley in the 1970s. He only won one European Cup at the club, but deserves his place in this team.

MOHAMED SALAH (2019)

I had to find a place for Salah after all he has achieved at Liverpool in the last couple of years. No-one deserved the medal more than him last night and I apologise to my pal Ian Rush for edging him out of the team to get Mo in.

KENNY DALGLISH (1978, 1981, 1984)

My old Liverpool manager scored the winning goal in the 1978 final and added more European Cup glory to his record as he became one of the club's all-time greats - a great player in any era of the game.

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