By David Walker
Since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, hundreds of footballers have pulled on the famous red jersey and taken to the field for Liverpool.
Many have played just a handful of games and were quickly forgotton – remember the likes of Bernard Diomede, Sebastien Leto or Philipp Degen? Thought not!
But, others have played hundreds of matches for the Reds and can be considered as Anfield legends in their own right. Here are seven such players, all of whom have made well over 200 appearances in the Premier League.
7. John Arne Riise
Years Active: 2001 – 2008
Premier League Appearances: 230 Goals: 21
Riise joined Liverpool in a £4.6 million transfer from AS Monaco in the summer of 2001 and spent seven years at Anfield.
He scored a debut goal against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup and seven in his first Premier League season, including on in a 3-1 victory against Manchester United and the equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Arsenal.
Riise helped Liverpool win the FA Cup in 2006, scoring in the semi-final against Chelsea and netting his penalty in the shoot-out against West Ham United in the final.
In 2008, he made it into the list of the top 50 all-time appearance-makers when he played in a 5-0 victory against Luton Town but after being overtaken in the pecking order by Fabio Aurelio, Riise joined Roma that summer.
6. Steve McManaman
Years Active: 1990 – 1999
Premier League Appearances: 240 Goals: 41
Midfielder McManaman was on the books at Liverpool before the Premier League was formed and made over 360 appearances in all competitions for the Reds, but 240 of those came in the league from 1992 onwards.
McManaman was a success during the Roy Evans era, where he had a free role. The 1995 League Cup was nicknamed “The McManaman Final” after scoring twice in a 2-1 victory against Bolton Wanderers. Wing wizard Stanley Matthews was quoted as saying of the player “he reminds me of me when I was playing”.
McManaman topped the Premier League goal assists charts at the end of the 1995-96 season with 25 and Kevin Keegan said: “there are few finer sights in world football than the sight of Steve McManaman running down the length of the pitch”.
Linked with a £12.5 million move to Barcelona in 1997, McManaman split fan opinion of him when he opted to allow his contract to run down and join Real Madrid on a lucrative Bosman-style transfer in the summer of 1999.
5. Jose Reina
Years Active: 2005 to Present
Premier League Appearances: 244
After racking up over 100 appearances in La Liga for Villarreal, manager Rafael Benitez lured the goalkeeper to Anfield in a £6 million transfer where he’s been a mainstay in the side ever since.
Reina celebrated his fiftieth appearance for Liverpool in April 2006 by keeping a clean sheet against Blackburn Rovers. As a result, he holds a Liverpool record for the fewest goals conceded by a goalkeeper in their first 50 games – he conceded 29 – beating the previous record set by Ray Clemence during the 1970-71 campaign when he let in 32.
In four seasons between 2007-08 and 2010-11, Reina played in all 38 Premier League games
In May 2006, Reina was awarded the Premier League’s Golden Glove award for keeping 20 clean sheets in the 2005–06 season. He went on to win the award in a further two consecutive seasons.
He won Player of the Season for the 2009/10 season and said at the beginning of this season he wants to remain at the club for another five or six years. An Anfield legend in the making.
4. Robbie Fowler
Years Active: 1993 – 2001, 2006 – 2007
Premier League Appearances: 266 Goals: 128
Fowler announced himself during the 1993/94 season with 12 goals in his first 13 games for the club but it was the following season where he became a real force in the Premier League. He played in all 42 league matches, scoring 25 goals, including the fastest ever Premier League hat-trick when he netted three times against Arsenal in four minutes and 33 seconds – a record that still stands.
As well as winning the League Cup in 1995, he was also named PFA Young Player of the Year and was again the following year. He scored more than 30 goals for three consecutive seasons, up to 1997. Nobody else has achieved 30 or more goals per season in their first three full seasons in England.
The 2000-01 season saw Fowler score 17 goals in all competitions, helping Liverpool to a unique “Cup treble” comprising the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup. The following season he found first-team opportunities limited and joined Leeds United for £12 million in November 2001.
After more than four years away from Anfield, Fowler returned to the club in January 2006 on a free transfer from Manchester City. He scored four goals in five matches toward the end of the 2005-06 season but was used more sparingly the following campaign. He left the club for a second time in July 2007 having scored 183 goals in 369 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool.
3. Sami Hyypia
Years Active: 1999 – 2009
Premier League Appearances: 318 Goals: 22
Hyypia arrived at Anfield a relative unknown but after a decade at the club, departed a hero. Following a £2.6 million move from Willem II, he formed an immediate successful partnership in the heart of Liverpool’s defence with fellow new arrival Stephane Henchoz.
In 2001 he won five trophies with the club – the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the Community Shield. Hyypia became first choice captain in 2002, received the only red card of his career in 2003 – against Manchester United and in 2004, he found himself a new central defensive partner in Jamie Carragher, whom new manager Rafael Benitez switched from full back.
This paid dividends with Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 followed by the UEFA Super Cup in the same year and then the FA Cup and Community Shield in 2006. In March 2008, Hyypia entered the top 20 all-time appearances table and he rejected a £2.5 million move to Stoke City ahead of the 2008/09 campaign – his tenth at Liverpool.
That proved to be his last season at Anfield and he made 464 appearances in all competitions, scoring 35 goals and winning 10 trophies before joining Bayer Leverkusen on a free transfer.
2. Steven Gerrard
Years Active: 1998 to Present
Premier League Appearances: 397 Goals: 86
Midfielder Gerrard has spent his entire career at Liverpool since making his debut in 1998 and succeeded Sami Hyypia as captain in 2003. He has won 10 trophies during his time at Anfield, including the FA Cup twice (2001 and 2006), League Cup twice (2001 and 2003), Community Shield twice (2001 and 2006), UEFA Cup (2001), Champions League (2005) and UEFA Super Cup twice (2001 and 2005).
He struggled on the right wing during his debut season but switched to a more recognised role in central midfield. During the 2000-01 campaign he made 50 starts in all competitions as Liverpool completed their unique cup treble.
After a disappointing 2003-04 campaign, Gerrard was linked with a £20 million move to Chelsea but remained at Anfield with new manager Rafael Benitez. Gerrard scored one of the goals against AC Milan in their successful Champions League campaign in 2005 and was awarded UEFA Club Footballer of the Year. Gerrard has won numerous individual accolades and has been named in the PFA Team of the Year seven times and the UEFA Team of the Year three times.
Having scored consistently a goal every four-and-a-half matches throughout his Premier League career, Gerrard is a favourite with free bets enthusiasts in the first goalscorer market – especially as he is a dead-ball specialist. He may have seen his past two seasons hampered by injury but Gerrard will go down in history as one of the all-time Liverpool greats.
1. Jamie Carragher
Years Active: 1996 to Present
Premier League Appearances: 475 Goals: 3
Since making his debut in 1996, Carragher is now second to Ian Callaghan in the all-time most appearances list, positioning him above the likes of Ian Rush, Emlyn Hughes and Ray Clemence.
Like Gerrard, he has spent his entire career at Liverpool and has won the same 10 trophies during his time at Anfield. However, unlike Gerrard, Carragher found it difficult to nail down his best position. During his early years was used as a full back on either side, centre half and even a defensive midfielder before making a permanent switch to the heart of the Liverpool defence in the 2004-05 season.
Despite scoring just three goals during his Anfield career, Carragher will be remembered for his two own goals against Manchester United during the 1999-00 season and in May 2006, he scored an own-goal in the FA Cup Final but Liverpool went on to win the match on penalties.
One year later, Carragher set the record for the most European appearances, making his ninetieth in the Champions League Semi Final, Second Leg against Chelsea and breaking Callaghan’s record of 89. He broke the 600 all-time appearances barrier in December 2009.
Now 34-years-old, Carragher has found first-team opportunities limited at Liverpool this season but nobody can argue he has been anything but a modern great and record breaker for the club and an inspiration and role model for aspiring football players.