I was never one for writing up match reports, dissecting in words what the modern fan can quite clearly judge and see for himself, and how they can now be written from the comfort of one’s own living room. The truth is that many newspaper journalists don’t actually need to attend sporting events to have opinion, match reports only having a relevance for the very few that perhaps do not possess a television.
Along with this “After the horse has bolted” type of reporting comes the relentless inventory of My Greatest Team, with arguments abound regarding personal opinion that itself suddenly becomes peddled as fact. This is somewhat of an impossible task. I have debated over countless years with many lost souls, those with greater judgement than myself, those with a lesser pool of players through an infantile experience of our club, its history and its players.
So as the beating sun shone through a March sky which would actually only encourage to relax and slacken, with sugared up coffee in a hand and laptop fired up, I would set out on my very own Liverpool Football Club magical mystery tour, interviewing players past and present in a pursuit to recruit, not the greatest side of all time, but a team and a squad capable of wrestling the Premier League from Manchester, a side for a season.
Be advised I would use no scientific data, no OPTA stats, and of course no actual interview – if you really need to add to its flavour of invention, just assume you read it in The Daily Star.
The only criteria would be that I must have seen the players in the flesh, no YouTube, or PowerPoint presentations here. So from 1974 onwards.
Goalkeeper: Bruce Grobbelaar
Yes he who is probably seen as somewhat of a clown, but in a modern game where a keeper unafraid to come and collect that thing called a football is as rare as rocking horse poo, Bruce would most certainly help take the pressure off our defence. Add to that his quick and accurate distribution and we have our keeper.
Left Back: Alan Kennedy
Made from granite, a hard man to pass, he would become a legend but that alone would not be enough to secure a place in my side. More his ability to defend, there would be no dereliction of defensive duties where Alan Kennedy was concerned, reliability would be the key for this season.
Right Back: Steve Nicol
Nicol would be one of Liverpool’s most versatile players over the years, an ability to play anywhere across the defence or midfield. He would also chip in with 46 goals during his career at Liverpool.
Left Centre-Half: Alan Hansen (Captain)
A more cultured defender you will never see, so laid back on a football field that any moment soon he may well fall over. Hansen would be excellent on the floor with sound feet, add to that; unflappable in the air. My team also now has its captain.
Right Centre-Half: Sami Hyypia
One of our greatest servants, once again reliability is the key word here; I wanted a defence that needed little work. Sami would comfortably slot into his position with Hansen, he would also add a goal scoring threat from set pieces.
Liverpool having had many gifted footballers down the years, but Barnes would certainly be in the higher echelons of that particular list. The fact he can play anywhere along the line, or alternatively behind the strike force. A winger with added dimensions to his game.
Left Midfield: Jimmy Case
Maybe a surprise choice, but this team cannot rely on flair alone, it would need an enforcer and protector so the flair players would step forward in the knowledge that defensive quality would not be exposed to the counter attack. Jimmy Case would not be lacking in ability a match for any dead ball specialist.
Centre Midfield: Steven Gerrard
Gerrard’s ability is no secret, but my side would be using his defensive skills in this particular set-up. Steven Gerrard’s versatility sometimes goes un-noticed outside of Anfield, this would be used to its full potential – a multi-tasker.
Centre Midfield: Jan Molby
Jan Molby is perhaps the most gifted footballer ever to grace a football field in not only this country but the world. Jan would be my first name on any team sheet, an engine room master craftsman with an unmatched footballing brain. However we would be keeping him away from Greggs and other cake shops.
Striker: Kenny Dalglish
Dalglish would be playing just off the main striker, with his ability to pick pocket defenders and midfielders alike, with an eye for a pass to create chances out of nothing. The set pieces in this side would be particularly interesting with so many specialists in this area.
Centre Forward: Ian Rush
Ian Rush would have no problem fitting into the modern game, a poacher with an unerring ability to find the goal. The work rate of Rush would match that of Messrs’ Case and Gerrard, we would have our complete centre-forward aided and abetted by Dalglish.
The following would be squad players who no doubt would enable a choice of varied tactics over the season. Unfortunately for him Graeme Souness would play no part in this side having been sacked and exiled the day he sold his story to The Scum newspaper, our side would have no time for individuals.
Goalkeeper: Ray Clemence
Midfield: Xabi Alonso Ronnie Whelan Ray Kennedy Terry McDermott
Forwards: Peter Beardsley Robbie Fowler Fernando Torres John Aldridge
I think it goes without saying that the Premiership Title would be coming home with this team and squad.
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