Liverpool’s Rich Goalkeeping Tradition

25 Jul

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Liverpool’s Rich Goalkeeping Tradition


Liverpool have been blessed with great goalkeepers throughout their long and successful history, and their goalkeepers have been vital in helping the club to the success that they have achieved over the years.


Liverpool added a new name to their list of goalkeepers with the signing of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland. The 24 year old Belgian international comes to Anfield with a glowing reputation and it will be interesting to see how he will adapt to the pressures of a club like Liverpool. Pepe Reina has been a great goalkeeper for Liverpool but with his recent departure to Napoli the stage is set for Mignolet to continue a rich tradition of great goalkeepers.


The goalkeeper position is such an important position to any team and good goalkeepers are difficult to find, especially in this modern era when goalkeepers have to be as good with their feet as they are with their hands. A good goalkeeper can save a team so many points during a season and over the years Liverpool have understood the importance of this by having a history of top class keepers.


Ned Doig is a name from Liverpool’s early years as he became Liverpool’s oldest debutant at the age of 37 and 307 days on the 1st September 1904. Doig played his last match for Liverpool at the age of 41. Doig played a staggering 1,055 games in his illustrious career that included 14 years with the successful Sunderland side of the 1890’s.


Sam Hardy played 240 games for Liverpool and made his debut way back in 1905 and was a tremendous keeper for Liverpool and was appreciated by receiving a benefit match in 1911 which 20,000 supporters paid their respects. Hardy was a regular keeper for England for 14 years and was regarded as a better keeper than Ray Clemence by 76 year old supporter Bob Evans in 1983.


Elisha Scott was possibly the greatest keeper in the history of Liverpool Football Club, the great man played between the years of 1913 and 1934 and made 468 appearances for the Anfield side. Scott received rave reviews on his debut performance away to Newcastle in a goalless draw, but the outbreak of the First World War deprived him of 4 years football. Scott won back to back league titles in the early twenties and had a great rivalry with the great Everton striker Dixie Dean, who rated him as the best keeper of them all. A survey was conducted among Liverpool supporters in 1939 to name Liverpool’s greatest ever player and Elisha Scott was named number one.




Arthur Riley played in goal for 14 years during 1925 and 1939 for Liverpool and played 338 games for the Reds. Riley was from South Africa and played during a tough time for Liverpool as their highest league position during his time was 5th but his performances were outstanding during this difficult period.


Cyril Sydlow played 165 times for Liverpool and was heralded by the great Bob Paisley who played alongside him. Paisley recollected that Cyril lived in Wolverhampton and trained during the week with Wolves and played with Liverpool on the Saturday, and as fate would have it during his spell with Liverpool the league title went down to the last game of the season with Man Utd, Stoke, Wolves and Liverpool all with a chance of winning the league and Liverpool beat Wolves at Molineaux 2-1 to win the league with Sydlow making some great saves to win the title for Liverpool. Sydlow kept goal for most of the next 3 years and helped Liverpool to the FA Cup final in 1950 but it ended in disappointment with a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal.


Tommy Younger played for Liverpool in the late 1950’s and was a Scottish international having come to Liverpool from the successful Hibernian side that won the Scottish League two years running in 1951 and 1952. Younger played a total of 127 games for Liverpool.


Tommy Lawrence was an important part of Shankly’s resurgent team of the 60’s. The “flying pig” played 11 years for Liverpool and was a key part in Liverpool’s return to the top of English football. Lawrence played 390 games in his spell with the Reds. Lawrence was the first keeper to be used as a sweeper as Shankly deplyed Lawrence in this unique role which he excelled at and enjoyed flattening onrushing strikers as they looked to penetrate Liverpool’s defence.


Ray Clemence played a huge part in Liverpool’s success of the 70’s after being signed by Shankly to replace Tommy Lawrence. Clemence is regarded as one of the best English goalkeepers ever and represented his country 61 times. No Liverpool goalkeeper has played more games for the club with his 665 appearances in 13 years. Clemence helped Liverpool to 3 European Cup wins in his time amongst many other honours and his last game for the club was the 1981 European Cup Final win over Real Madrid.


Bruce Grobbelaar had the difficult task of replacing the great Ray Clemence but he did so in his own style, which was rather more eccentric than Clemence. Grobbelaar was a terrific goalkeeper in his own right with great agility and capable of pulling off acrobatic saves, he regularly came for cross balls to aid his defence and his distribution at throwing created many attacks for his team. Grobbelaar did make a few mistakes especially in his early days as he frequented from his penalty area from time to time, but these mistakes became less with experience and kept goal for Liverpool for 13 years and played a staggering 628 games, with only Clemence playing more times in goal for Liverpool.


Pepe Reina is the latest in a long list of great goalkeepers to serve Liverpool. Reina arrived from Spain in 2005 months after Liverpool had won their 5th European Cup and he helped Liverpool win the FA Cup in his first season as he became the hero in the penalty shoot-out win over West Ham in Cardiff. The following year Reina played a big part in helping Liverpool return to the Champions League Final only to lose 2-1 to AC Milan in Athens. Reina has been a terrific servant to Liverpool and his agility and consistency has seen him rated as possibly the best keeper in Liverpool’s history. Reina has made 394 appearances for Liverpool and he will be sadly missed by all connected to Liverpool after leaving this summer.


Simon Mignolet is only 24 years old and with the signing of a long term contract it will be interesting to see if we will be adding Liverpool’s new signing to the club’s list of great goalkeepers in the years to come.







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One Response to “Liverpool’s Rich Goalkeeping Tradition”

  1. wanjere July 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Good read and blog.

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