We are finally moving on to the last part of the list, and we are here to talk about forwards and their goals.
Since the Premier League was formed in 1992, we have been really fortunate to have seen some really great Liverpool players strut their stuff at Anfield. Yes, the golden era might have been in the 80s, but we sure did have some truly magnificent players that graced the Premier League who captured the hearts and minds of the famous Kop.
“Whichever team scores more goals usually wins.” - Michael Owen
It was definitely Michael Owen who taught us that goals win you games, and we are blessed to have some truly remarkable forwards to bang in the goals for us, including the one time Ballon d'Or winner.
We've selected a 4-3-3 formation for this Premier League All Time Greatest Liverpool XI, and here's our front three.
Before that, here's another brilliant quote by football's own Confucius, just to help drive home the point on the importance of strikers -
“When they don’t score they hardly ever win.” - Owen
LW: Luis Suarez
The Uraguayan serial winner
Taking up the first spot in our attack is none other than the Uruguayan Luis Suarez. Yes, we know he is not primarily a left winger but just put that a side for a second...
Also forget about all the controversy for a minute, as well as his antics when he played against Liverpool in the Champions League for Barcelona.
On his day, Suarez is simply unplayable - the best striker we have had in the Premier League era. Ask Norwich City, whom he probably scored about 349 goals against them during his three and a half seasons at Anfield.
Suarez have already established himself as one of the Europe's deadliest finishers during his time at Ajax, scoring 111 goals in 158 apperances - and putting him in the same elite group as Johann Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Dennis Bergkamp who scored more than 100 for the Dutch team. He signed for Liverpool in the winter of 2011 with high expectations, and went on to push every single boundary at Anfield.
After seeing the likes of David N’Gog and Milan Jovanovic arrive at Merseyside from “smaller” leagues and not quite hitting the highs, Liverpool fans had reasons to be skeptical. Even with his almost unbelievable stats at Dutch Eredivisie, Suarez still arrived at England with much to prove, despite a burgeoning reputation.
There was also a certain Fernando Torres who left on January transfer deadline day just before his arrival, which also means the Uruguayan had some huge boots to fill. Andy Carroll was signed that window too, and it’s fair to say the pair went on to have quite the opposite careers.
Suarez displayed his incredible ability since day one, and it was not long before he became the key man in a really average Liverpool team. Steven Gerrard was no longer at the peak of his powers, and the likes of Charlie Adam, Jay Spearing and Stewart Downing in the starting line-up exposed the lack of quality in the squad.
But there was a feisty Uruguayan that carried Liverpool throughout, as if a man on a mission, constantly pushing the boundaries with his sometimes absurd goals and tenacity, and allowing the team to really overachieve. The Reds finished 6th and 8th in his first two seasons, but in reality in could have been much lower if not for his individual brilliance.
Brendan Rodgers arrived in the 2012/2013 season, and started to implement his tactics and exert his influence on the Liverpool team. Suarez reacted well to the new, free flowing attacking system, becoming only the third player to score more than 20 Premier League goals, joining Torres and Robbie Fowler. He had a prolific season that year, finishing with 30 goals in all competitions, placed runner-up in PFA Player of the year and named in the PFA Team of the Year.
After reversing his decision to leave the club, 2013/2014 proved to be the most memorable season for Suarez. That season saw Liverpool at its free flowing best, playing champagne football and scoring goals for fun. 101 league goals, to be exact. Suarez finished as the league’s top scorer with 31 goals, and included some crackers. The “SAS” partnership was formed too, as he and Daniel Sturridge combined expertly to put teams to the sword.
Despite all the goals, the season saw Liverpool narrowly missed out on the title, and the sight of Suarez sobbing with his shirt in his face at Selhurst Park after the 3-3 draw all but resigned Liverpool fans to his inevitable departure.
He left having created some fond memories that will forever remain here – 30 yard free-kicks, bullet headers from the edge of the box that Andriy Veronin might struggle to score with his feet, tearing Manchester United to shreds and putting Norwich to the sword again and again.
Suarez might have left Liverpool with all but a Carling Cup to show for, but with him pushing boundaries time and time again on and off the pitch, he proved to Liverpool and the rest of the world that he was very much a winner.
RW: Mohamed Salah
The Egyptian King
Say whatever you want – Mo Salah might be a really frustrating player to watch at times, but make no mistake, he has caused oppositions' defences way more frustration than we can hope for. Two record-breaking seasons in his return back to the Premier League is enough to warrant him a spot in this list.
Salah banged in 44 and 27 goals in his first two seasons respectively, and is certainly a player that is more than just the sum of its parts. A jack of all trades might be how to describe him, he is not a player blessed with the best attributes - but instead relies on him being above average at practically everything else.
Other than his remarkable athleticism, he is not blessed with the same flair or first touch as Lionel Messi, or the technique or clinical finishing of Cristiano Ronaldo. Don’t get us wrong, Salah has really good footballing attributes but there are definitely moments when you question some of the technical aspects of the Egyptian’s game. Besides, not many mere mortals can match Messi or Ronaldo, and the fact that Salah is mentioned in the same bracket as them speaks volume of his overall ability.
It is really his entire attributes combined that makes Salah such a lethal weapon in Liverpool’s system. Raw pace, agility, an almost doggedness attitude like Suarez, good dribbling, sharp movement – all these with a sense of selfishness and unpredictability.
He isn’t blessed with world class ball control or footballing brain, but perhaps that’s what creates the unpredictability that defenders struggle to deal with - especially when he is in full flight running down the wing. He has the physical attributes to make up for an average touch, or the pace to accelerate past defenders almost effortlessly and the attitude to keep trying when his finishing lets him down.
Take the first goal he scored against Watford – it was a brilliant, brilliant goal on his weaker foot, but it just has that slight sense that the Eypgtian King was never in full control, especially after his 2nd touch where it seemed like he took it a few inches too far, only for his raw pace to make up for it.
His finish on his right foot too, probably left Ben Foster scratching his head. It was as unpredictable as it was superb, with the goal perfectly summing up Mo Salah – so unpredictable, yet so often brilliant.
The numbers speak for themselves, especially so when you consider he is primarily a winger. Mo Salah has definitely shot his way into this list with his hard work and goals, establishing himself as a true Kop hero. Life is unpredictable and so he is, and if he is good enough for you, he’s surely more than good enough for me.
CF: Fernando Torres
The lad from sunny Spain; Liverpool's number nine
Another handsome Spanish on this list (what is it, we bet you it is the siesta), Fernando Torres still splits opinion among fans on if he is a Liverpool legend till today. Regardless, the Anfield faithful undoubtedly saw the best of El Nino, and that was right there among the best the Premier League has ever seen.
Torres was already one to watch from a young age. At a tender age of 15, he quickly progressed through the ranks in Atletico Madrid, winning the Nike Cup and being voted as the best player in Europe for his age group.
He signed his first professional contract and despite a slow start to his career, he went on to establish himself as one of Spain’s very best, scoring 91 goals in 244 appearances for Atletico Madrid. He then turned down repeated offers from Chelsea and eventually joined Rafa Benitez at Liverpool, leaving Spain as a cult hero – and it was from here on he brought his game to a whole new level.
The lad from sunny Spain, as he is known by the fans, came and took the Premier League by storm. Who can forget his first Anfield goal, where he introduced himself to the league and warned them what’s to come? Combining pace, power and technique to perfection, he put Tal Ben Haim to bed and slotted past a Petr Cech at the peak of his powers.
El Nino introduced himself as a “modern number 9”, blending all the big and small striker attributes all into one unplayable Spanish lad – pace, strength, finishing, link-up play and excellent movement.
“Fernando Torres, Liverpool’s Number 9!” was a song that became an anthem at Anfield week after week, as he banged in goals for fun. In his first season, the Spaniard netted 24 league goals and ensured Liverpool would go on to finish 4th and qualify for the Champions League.
He struck up a fantastic partnership with captain Steven Gerrard, making him an even more popular figure – boys started to replicate his goals at the park, uncles at local coffeeshops had discussions about him and even girls were mesmerized by his boyish good looks.
El Nino was everything good about Liverpool.
And rightly so. Who can forget those moments – his wonder strike against Blackburn, his performance during the 4-0 victory against the mighty Real Madrid and his iconic duels with Nemanja Vidic in the grey, chequered Carlsberg away kit? Those are just a small part of his highlight reels, and the fact is the Spaniard had brought so much fond memories to the Anfield faithful.
His finest years in his career were no doubt here at Liverpool. We would be lying if we say we didn’t take some joy in his unfortunate decline and fall from grace since leaving Anfield, but after all these years, the bitter animosity has to be surely drowned out by the fond memories we enjoyed created by one of the most talented footballer we had.
Inspired by the iconic Japanese football anime Captain Tsubasa when he was a child, it was fitting to see him end his illustrious career with J League club Sagan Tosu, in the land of the rising sun. But it was also a career that is filled with perhaps one too many "what could have been” - such was his remarkable talent.
“Fernando Torres, Liverpool’s number 9” rang out in the 2015 charity game, and perhaps that was the moment we should all forget about his career after Liverpool, and truly be appreciative of one of the finest strikers the Premier League has ever witnessed.
LW: Luis Suarez
RW: Mohamed Salah
CF: Fernando Torres
Honorable mentions: Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Michael Owen
And here we have it, the Greatest Premier League XI Liverpool has seen. You are welcome.