Liverpool are on their way to win the Premier League for the first time in around three decades. The Reds are performing fantastically this season as they look determined to win the Premier League for the first time since its inception in the current format.
The Merseyside outfit have had to endure a lot of difficult years. Indeed, once the most successful club in England, they had to witness eternal rivals Manchester United ascend to the throne in the last three decades while they could do nothing about it.
Last season, 2018-19, the Reds managed to win the Champions League with some incredible performances. The league, however, was lost by just a single loss – literally – as the Reds fell short by a point to Manchester City, the only team to defeat Liverpool in a league match that season.
But all of that is about the present or the recent past of the Reds. It is the history of the Merseyside club that we are interested in this list.
This millennium hasn’t been kind to the Anfield outfit at all. At the time of writing, Liverpool have only won two major trophies in almost 20 years and both of them are the Champions League.
It is not as though they didn’t have great players in their team. In fact, it is quite the opposite. For the majority of the last two decades, the Reds have been the home to some of the finest players in the world.
And here, we take a look at the 10 best players that have donned the Liverpool shirt in this millennium.
Note: The basis of selection is how successful they were/are at the club combined with their individual skill and influence on the team and.
#10. Michael Owen
Michael Owen might have been one of football’s greatest ‘what-ifs’ but his career at Liverpool was nothing short of brilliant. Indeed, he actually won the Ballon d’Or for his brilliant season at Liverpool in 2001 and established himself as one of the best strikers in the world at the time.
He played four seasons for the Reds in this millennium and displayed his quality in each of them. Owen was technically brilliant but his best attribute was his ability to be at the right place in the right time.
He was quick, agile and also linked up well with his teammates. In the end, he scored 99 goals for the Reds from 181 games in this millennium, making him one of the most prolific players for the Merseyside in the modern era.
#9. Mohamed Salah
Even though Mohamed Salah has only been at the club for a little over two seasons, his influence has been so significant that it is difficult to leave him out from here.
He may have played only 123 games for the Reds till date but he has scored 80 goals in them. In his first season at the Merseyside, he scored 44 goals in all competitions from 52 games and only Lionel Messi had scored more among players in the top 5 leagues that season in 2017-18.
His goal-scoring consistency helped Liverpool land the Champions League last season and also put them close to winning the league title. He still has a long time to go at Anfield and should he continue the way he has started, he will definitely end up higher on this list.
#8. Pepe Reina
Pepe Reina came to Liverpool in 2005 with great expectations on his shoulders. After all, he was replacing the Reds’ Champions League hero Jerzy Dudek in goal and that came at some price.
In the end, not only did he fulfill their hopes but far exceeded them. The Spaniard went on to become one of the greatest shotstoppers to have ever played at the Merseyside and it would take current goalkeeper Alisson some doing to reach the status of the former Barcelona academy graduate.
He played from 2005 to 2013 at the Anfield and made 396 appearances for the Reds. There were times when he was the single biggest factor for the team not losing and the fact that it took the Reds five years to find an adequate successor to the Spaniard is a testament to how influential he was for the team.
#7. Sami Hyypia
Sami Hyypia is a Liverpool icon fondly remembered by the fans as one-half of an unbreakable centre-back pairing with Jamie Carragher. The former Finland international was a mainstay at the club for nearly the entirety of the first decade of the millennium.
With him guarding the backline, Liverpool had an assuring presence in front of the goal. He made a total of 422 appearance with the Anfield outfit and was instrumental in their Champions League success in 2005.
He left the club in 2009 but by then, he was already an icon.
#6. Fernando Torres
El Nino was one of the most revered players at Anfield during his stay there. However, things became sour between him and the fans when he forced a move to Chelsea in the winter window of 2011.
Prior to that, however, Torres was the best striker in the world for most of the Reds fans and it was quite hard to make a contrary argument with the way he performed for them in his peak years.
The Spaniard formed a special playing bond with Steven Gerrard on the pitch as the pair often worked together to create beautiful goals. The former Atletico Madrid forward may not have won any major trophies with the Anfield outfit but his individual skill and talent made him one of the best players of this millennium for the Reds.
He finished with 81 goals from just 142 appearances during him at Anfield.
#5. Jamie Carragher
Jamie Carragher is a Liverpool legend through and through. The Englishman played his entire life at Liverpool – from the youth team until his retirement, which spanned from 1988 to 2013.
He might not have been the most naturally gifted player at the club but he was among the most hardworking, which is why he was a mainstay at the heart of the defence.
He made 737 appearances for the club and won almost every possible trophy with the Reds – expect for the much-coveted Premier League. Nevertheless, his place the Anfield immortals had been established a long time ago.
#4. Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane’s genius is quite underrated. Indeed, there might be people who would think that he is placed too high on this list but a look at his numbers and his achievement for the Reds would give one an idea as to how important a player he has been for them.
The Senegalese was signed from Southampton in the summer of 2016 and he has been wowing the Anfield ever since. In fact, he has continued to improve and develop under the tutelage of Jurgen Klopp and is now among the best players in the league.
In the Premier League season of 2018-19, he ended up as the joint-top-scorer of the Premier League along with Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – which works as a testament to how far he has come as a player.
He was instrumental in Liverpool’s Champions League glory in 2018-19 and was actually the one who earned the penalty for the Reds in the final against Tottenham.
So far, he has 72 goals to his name from just 144 games – and those numbers will only increase as time passes.
#3. Luis Suarez
For many, the Uruguayan is perhaps the most talented player to have worn the Red shirt of Liverpool in the modern era. Indeed, it speaks volumes when a Liverpool player, who turned into an icon during his three-and-a-half-year stay at the club, joins Barcelona and becomes a legend at the Camp Nou.
Such was the class of Luis Suarez at the peak of his power. He was easily the best forward in the world during is best years and while controversy may have surrounded him wherever he went, his talent was always undeniable.
He might not have won a single major trophy during his time at the Merseyside but it has to be noted that he managed to score 82 goals in 133 matches at a time when the Reds didn’t have the best of teams.
Indeed, he was surrounded by the likes of Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing and was often the single source of goals for his team. There were matches where he was the only one trying to inflict any sort of damage to the opposition and often turned out to be the match-winner for them.
#2. Xabi Alonso
Xabi Alonso may not have been at Liverpool for as long as he and the fans would have liked, but there is no doubt about the influence he had during his time at the Merseyside.
The former Real Sociedad and Real Madrid footballer was an icon at the Anfield. The Basque sat in the base of the midfield and controlled the tempo of the game for his side with his slick passing and clever defending.
What stood out about Alonso, however, was his unparalleled understanding of the game. His tactical nous and extraordinary intelligence made him a fan-favourite at Anfield, who were devastated when Rafa Benitez let him join Real Madrid in 2009.
However, it wasn’t before he had played 236 times for them and had also won the Champions League at Istanbul in 2005 – putting his name among the legends of Liverpool.
#1. Steven Gerrard
While the rest of the list is perhaps debatable, Steven Gerrard being the best player of Liverpool in its modern history simply has no room for an argument. Indeed, the former England star was the heart and soul of the Anfield during his playing career there and is still fondly remembered by the fans as one of the greatest ever.
It is a shame that it was his slip against Chelsea that went on to cost the Premier League title for Liverpool in 2014. It also somewhat tarnished his legacy as people remember him more for this than his brilliance at the Merseyside.
The former captain was arguably the most complete midfielder in the Premier League in his era. On his day, he could make an inch-perfect tackle, dribble past his opponents and then make a defence-piercing pass to create a chance for his team.
His time at Liverpool inspired a lot of midfielders in the current crop of the game. Gerrard finished with 710 matches for the Merseyside outfit and scored 186 times for them in the process of becoming a legend at the club.