Monday 21 May 2018

Ranking the top 20 players to ever play for Manchester United and Liverpool

David Lyons

Manchester United and Liverpool go head-to-head in what will be one of the most intense clashes between the clubs in many years tomorrow.

We have compiled a list of the Top 20 players to have played for either club. We broke it down by offering marks out of 20 for individual ability, and then marks out of 10 for each of the following traits; club service, trophy cabinet and legendary status within that club. It will give each player a total score out of 50....allowing us to find out who the greatest ever player to have played for either Manchester United or Liverpool is. Will you agree with our No.1?

20 Luis Suarez

Individual ability: 19/20

Club service: 3/10

Trophy cabinet: 1/10

Legendary status: 8/10

Total: 31

There's no doubting Suarez's ability, which has probably gone up a notch since leaving Liverpool but his short stay at the Merseyside club leaves him at the bottom of this Top 20. However, on his day, he's one of the greatest strikers of his generation.

 

19 Denis Law

Individual ability: 17/20

Club service: 8/10

Trophy cabinet: 2/10

Legendary status: 8/10

Total: 35

Law's abilities can't be called into doubt but the reason he doesn't hit the heights in this list is due to his lack of medals. But what a talent!

 

18 Robbie Fowler

Individual ability: 18/20

Club service: 6/10

Trophy cabinet: 2/10

Legendary status: 9/10

Total: 35

Quite possibly one of the greatest natural finishers the game has seen. It's a shame his talent didn't bring in the medals it deserved as he was part of some barren Liverpool years for trophies.

 

17 Kevin Keegan

Individual ability: 18/20

Club service: 6/10

Trophy cabinet: 5/10

Legendary status: 7/10

Total: 36

Keegan won the Ballon d'Or in consecutive years in the late-70s. He seemed to glide with the ball at his feet and was a joy to watch. He only completed six seasons at the Anfield club, however.

 

16 Graeme Souness

Individual ability: 15/20

Club service: 6/10

Trophy cabinet: 7/10

Legendary status: 8/10

Total: 36

Souness' importance to the Liverpool cause between the late 70s and early 80s can't be questioned. It was the club's most prestigious period in their 140-year history, with Souness manning the midfield for a massive five title wins.

 

15 Eric Cantona

Individual ability: 17/20

Club service: 4/10

Trophy cabinet: 6/10

Legendary status: 10/10

Total: 37

He was only at Old Trafford for five years, but managed to lead the side to four league titles. In fact, the only title they didn't win when the Frenchman was there was during the season he was banned for eight months. His legendary status can not be questioned with the Red Devils' fans still chanting his name on a weekly basis.

 

14 Ian Rush

Individual ability: 15/20

Club service: 9/10

Trophy cabinet: 7/10

Legendary status: 7/10

Total: 38

Rush had two spells at Anfield and amassed 199 goals in just over 400 games which was a sensational return in the 80s. If you were banging in a goal every second game, you were one of the world's best strikers then. Rush had a natural instinct for he net that can probably only be matched by Robbie Fowler on this list.

 

13 John Barnes

Individual ability: 17/20

Club service: 9/10

Trophy cabinet: 5/10

Legendary status: 7/10

Total: 38

One of the best wide players the English game has ever witnessed. It could be argued that Barnes is the most underrated player on this list. He spent a full decade with the Reds, but unfortunately for him, he joined at the tail end of their dominance, though he still did manage to be a part of two title-winning sides.

 

12 Cristiano Ronaldo

Individual ability: 20/20

Club service: 4/10

Trophy cabinet: 6/10

Legendary status: 8/10

Total: 38

Undoubtedly the greatest individual player on this list by quite some distance. Ronaldo arrived at Old Trafford a scrawny teenager and left a muscular man - and the best player in the world (he won the Ballon d'Or before departing for Real Madrid in 2009).

 

11 Peter Schmeichel

Individual ability: 18/20

Club service: 7/10

Trophy cabinet: 7/10

Legendary status: 6/10

Total: 38

Arguably the greatest goalkeeper of all time, Schmeichel played for United between 1991 and 1999 - leaving in a dream-like manner by lifting the Champions League trophy to claim a treble for the Red Devils. He may have tainted his legendary status somewhat by ending up at Manchester City, but his brilliance for United won't have been forgotten. At times he seemed unbeatable.

 

10 Roy Keane

Individual ability: 15/20

Club service: 9/10

Trophy cabinet: 8/10

Legendary status: 7/10

Total: 39

The Corkman won seven league titles in his 12 years at Manchester United and there was never any doubt about his loyalties...until he left the club. He tainted his legendary status by having pops at Alex Ferguson following his exit and that has taken a few points off his total here. He was one hell of a dominant force in the middle of the park - nobody can deny that.

 

9 Steven Gerrard

Individual ability: 17/20

Club service: 10/10

Trophy cabinet: 2/10

Legendary status: 10/10

Total: 39

Gerrard amassed the same amount of points as Roy Keane but edges ahead of him due to individual ability. While Gerrard could dominate games like Keane, the Scouser has an edge on the Rebel due to his ability to win games with unbelievable strikes. He really stood up in key moments and Liverpool may well have had a trophy-less past decade or two if it wasn't for their homegrown hero.

 

8 Bryan Robson

Individual ability: 17/20

Club service: 9/10

Trophy cabinet: 5/10

Legendary status: 9/10

Total: 40

What a player. We've mentioned two dominant midfielders in the past two spots, but neither of them were as influential on a game as Robbo. Unfortunately for 'Captain Marvel' his career ended just as United were becoming the dominant force in English football, but he did just squeeze in a title medal before departing. He remains a cult hero in and around Old Trafford.

 

7 Rio Ferdinand

Individual ability: 16/20

Club service: 9/10

Trophy cabinet: 9/10

Legendary status: 7/10

Total: 41

Ferdinand was so underrated that he almost became overrated. It wasn't until the tail end of his career that fans and pundits finally gave him the plaudits he deserved. Booked only a handful of times through his illustrious 12-year carer at United, the club won six titles with him at the back, despite going through numerous keepers. He was a classy centre-half, but it went unnoticed for years that he was an immense defender.

 

6 George Best

Individual ability: 19/20

Club service: 9/10

Trophy cabinet: 3/10

Legendary status: 10/10

Total: 40

Second on our list for individual ability, just behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Best was an incredible winger. Unfortunately he didn't win the amount of titles his talent should have led him to. That said, two league titles and a European cup isn't a bad return but his cult status leads us all to think he won a lot more. His highlight reel hasn't aged. He was ahead of his time as a player.

 

5 Alan Hansen

Individual ability: 16/20

Club service: 9/10

Trophy cabinet: 9/10

Legendary status: 8/10

Total: 42

Hansen was simply one of the main reasons Liverpool were so dominant in the 80s. He lead by example and oozed an amazing calm throughout the brilliant Liverpool sides through that decade. In 14 years at the club, he led them to 18 major titles. Oh how Liverpool wish they had an Alan Hansen right now.

 

4 Kenny Dalglish

Individual ability: 18/20

Club service: 6/10

Trophy cabinet: 8/10

Legendary status: 10/10

Total: 42

Fourth on our list when it comes to individual brilliance behind Ronaldo, Best and Suarez, Dalglish is rightly lauded as Liverpool’s greatest ever player. The Scot was unplayable at times and brought Pool fans more joy than any other star in their entire history. He also had two spells as manager of the club, ensuring his already-established iconic status was never to be erased. Not only a great player, a great man too.

 

3 Bobby Charlton

Individual ability: 18/20

Club service: 10/10

Trophy cabinet: 7/10

Legendary status: 10/10

Total: 45

Talking of great men. Nobody can deny Bobby Charlton iconic status. He has given over 55-years of his life to Manchester United. He also helped save some players’ lives during the Munich Air disaster. Still a director at the club and still the (joint) top scorer. Perhaps Wayne Rooney (absent from this list) could overtake him against Liverpool on Sunday. It won’t matter. Charlton is forever etched in United folklore. Watch some of his highlights on YouTube to understand how good a player he was.

 

2 Paul Scholes

Individual ability: 17/20

Club service: 10/10

Trophy cabinet: 10/10

Legendary status: 9/10

Total: 45

In terms of passing ability, Scholes was one of the best players from any club in England’s history, never mind just United and Liverpool. How laughable is it that he wasn’t used right for the national team? England have never produced a player like this. There’s no doubting Scholes had his faults but these didn’t stop him from being the mainstay of United teams who went on to win a total of 11 league titles, only topped individually by…

 

1 Ryan Giggs

Individual ability: 17/20

Club service: 10/10

Trophy cabinet: 10/10

Legendary status: 10/10

Total: 47

Read this right: Ryan Giggs won 26 major trophies as a player. 26! (13 League titles). The United legend began life at Old Trafford as a flying winger and completed it as a calming influence through the middle of the park. In both roles he excelled. He certainly has the longest highlight reel. Only one man could top this poll.

 

On ability alone: 1 Cristiano Ronaldo, 2 George Best, 3 Luis Suarez, 4 Kenny Dalglish, 5 Bobby Charlton, 6 Robbie Fowler, 7 Peter Schmeichel, 8 Kevin Keegan, 9 Ryan Giggs, 10 Denis Law, 11 Paul Scholes, 12 Steven Gerrard, 13 Eric Cantona, 14 John Barnes, 15 Bryan Robson, 16 Rio Ferdinand, 17 Alan Hansen, 18 Roy Keane, 19 Graeme Souness, 20 Ian Rush

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