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Liverpool's greatest XI of all time using different nationalities

Sports Mole selects Liverpool's greatest-ever XI with a difference - only one player is allowed from each country.

Liverpool's ascent back to the top of English football has been a long time coming for the fans, many of whom have not seen the Reds crowned champions in their lifetime.

The 18-time kings of England were the dominant force throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but their most recent league title came in 1990, since when Manchester United have knocked them off their perch when it comes to domestic honours.

Liverpool still boast six European Cups though - twice as many as any other English club - while in international competitions they are the most successful British team.

Naturally, such success has brought with it a host of legendary players, and Jurgen Klopp's class of 2019-20 look well on course to join many of the luminaries that have preceded them.

As is the nature of being an English club, the majority of their players have been from Britain, but how would their greatest-ever XI look using only one player from each country?

Here, Sports Mole has a crack at producing Liverpool's all-time best team with a difference.



Goalkeeper: Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwe)

Bruce Grobbelaar pictured playing for Liverpool© Reuters

Having a legendary player from an unusual footballing country like Zimbabwe is a godsend for this XI. Ray Clemence is Liverpool's greatest-ever keeper, but the English quota is best used elsewhere and so Bruce Grobbelaar gets the gloves.

As brilliant as he was eccentric, Grobbelaar made 628 appearances for Liverpool in total, helping the club to six top-flight titles, three FA Cups, three League Cups and the 1984 European Cup. His antics in the final of the penalty shootout of the latter went down in history, and those 'spaghetti legs' were emulated 21 years later by Jerzy Dudek in Poland.

Incumbent keeper Alisson Becker deserves a mention, particularly with no Brazilians in the XI, but he still has some way to go to match Grobbelaar's legacy.



Right-back: Steve Finnan (Ireland)

Steve Finnan pictured for Liverpool in 2006© Reuters

The vast majority of Liverpool's greatest-ever right-backs suffer from being the same nationality as even better players elsewhere in this team - Phil Neal being the most obvious example as the best to have ever played in this position for the club.

In the end this came down to a choice between two players - Steve Finnan and Markus Babbel. There is little doubt that Babbel was the better player overall, but Finnan made 217 Liverpool appearances compared to only 73 for Babbel, while the Irishman was also part of that unforgettable night in Istanbul.

Babbel played his part in helping Liverpool to five trophies in 2001 and certainly ran him close, but Finnan also added the FA Cup to his trophy collection in 2006.



Centre-backs: Sami Hyypia (Finland), Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands)

Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring for Liverpool on November 30, 2019© Reuters

The English contingent of Emlyn Hughes, Tommy Smith, Jamie Carragher and Phil Thompson all miss out here, as does arguably Liverpool's greatest-ever centre-back Alan Hansen by virtue of having an even more talented Scot further up the pitch.

Nonetheless, this XI can still lay claim to a fearsome centre-back pairing of Sami Hyypia and Virgil van Dijk, the latter of whom is the first of the current crop to make the cut.

Hyypia made 464 appearances for the Reds in total, winning 10 trophies including the 2005 Champions League. Indeed, the towering Finn was part of the squad both when they won five trophies in 2001 and then again for the major trophies of Rafael Benitez's era.

Van Dijk is well on course to emulate and perhaps even surpass many of the great names already mentioned, with the Dutchman widely regarded as the best centre-back in the world and being credited as the one signing which has had the biggest impact in turning Liverpool into genuine title contenders once again.

The Ballon d'Or runner-up is still in the relatively early stages of his Reds career and has only made 113 appearances for the club, but in that time he has already won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, while the Premier League title looks certain to follow.



Left-back: John Arne Riise (Norway)

John Arne Riise pictured for Liverpool in 2008© Reuters

John Arne Riise did not take long to earn hero status at Anfield, scoring on his debut in the victorious 2001 UEFA Super Cup final and then almost breaking the goal with a thunderous free kick against bitter rivals Manchester United just months into his Liverpool career - a strike the fans still sing about to this day.

The Norwegian went on to play 348 times for the Reds across all competitions and played a key role in the Champions League success of 2005 and FA Cup glory one year later.

Other contenders included Alan Kennedy and Ronnie Moran, but once again they miss out due to a certain English midfielder.



Centre-midfielders: Steven Gerrard (England), Xabi Alonso (Spain)

Steven Gerrard celebrates Liverpool winning the FA Cup in May 2006© Reuters

With so many great English players to choose from only the best can make the cut, and Steven Gerrard can lay claim to being Liverpool's greatest ever player full stop, yet alone their number one Englishman.

The talismanic skipper made 710 appearances for the club in total - the third-highest tally in Liverpool's history - while his 186 Liverpool goals put him fifth on that all-time list.

Gerrard's trophy cabinet perhaps does not do justice to his status as one of the best players of his generation, but his heroics in the Champions League and FA Cup finals of 2005 and 2006 respectively will never be forgotten.

While Gerrard's inclusion was an easy decision - despite ruling out some legendary compatriots - the spot alongside him was more closely contested and one particularly notable absentee is Graeme Souness, who cannot be included due to the presence of an old friend in front of him.

The likes of Jan Molby, Javier Mascherano and Dietmar Hamann could all fit into the team under the parameters, but Xabi Alonso gets the nod for us alongside his former teammate.

The Spaniard scored the all-important equalising goal in Istanbul and was also a key part of the team which won the FA Cup a year later, going on to make 210 Liverpool appearances in total.



Right-wing: Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring for Liverpool on February 1, 2020© Reuters

The second of Liverpool's current crop included in this XI, Salah's statistics stack up against any of the club's previous goalscoring legends and he does not show any signs of letting up soon.

The Egyptian king broke the single-season Premier League scoring record in his first campaign at Anfield, netting 32 times in 38 games, and he has since become the fastest Liverpool player to 50 goals and the one with the most top-flight strikes in his first 100 games for the club.

As things stand the winger has netted 91 times and created a further 37 in 144 Liverpool games across all competitions, helping Klopp's side to Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup glory in 2019.



Attacking midfielder: Sir Kenny Dalglish (Scotland)

Kenny Dalglish pictured during his Liverpool playing days© Reuters

Liverpool have been blessed with some great Scottish players down the years, but the likes of Hansen, Souness and Billy Liddell have to play second fiddle to Kenny Dalglish - arguably the only man who can challenge Gerrard for the mantle of the club's best-ever player.

Some deemed Kevin Keegan irreplaceable when he left Anfield in 1977, but Dalglish proved to be a more-than-adequate replacement and capped his debut season by scoring the winner in the European Cup final.

That was the first major trophy Dalglish got his hands on with Liverpool, but it certainly was not the last - he went on to win two more European Cups, six top-flight titles, the FA Cup and four League Cups as a player, as well as another two league titles as manager.

In all the iconic number 10 made 502 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 169 goals.



Left-wing: Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

Luis Suarez for Liverpool© Reuters

There were two clear contenders for the left-wing role, with Luis Suarez beating Sadio Mane to complete a star-studded trio behind the striker.

The Uruguayan was nigh-on unstoppable during an eventful three-and-a-half-year stay at Anfield and almost single-handedly dragged Liverpool to the title in 2013-14, only to fall agonisingly short.

In the end Suarez was forced to settle with only a League Cup winner's medal from his Liverpool career, but that does not to justice to a prolific spell which saw him score 82 times in 133 games.



Centre-forward: Ian Rush (Wales)

Ian Rush pictured for Liverpool in 1996© Reuters

A host of great Liverpool strikers have already been ruled out through nationality - the likes of Robbie Fowler, Fernando Torres, Roger Hunt, Ian St John and Keegan included - but the club's greatest ever scorer is still eligible.

Ian Rush hit the back of the net 346 times in 660 appearances during his two Liverpool stints, helping the club to five league titles, two European Cups, three FA Cups and five League Cups in that time.

The Welshman's partnership with Dalglish was particularly potent, while his record in Merseyside derbies against Everton - 25 goals in total and nine in one single season against the Toffees - helped to endear him to the Anfield faithful even more.



Full Liverpool different nationalities XI

LIV XI all-time diff nationalities

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Steven Gerrard celebrates Liverpool winning the FA Cup in May 2006
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31282170214986
2Manchester CityMan City31203877334463
3Leicester CityLeicester31167859293055
4Chelsea31166955411454
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd311310848311749
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves311213644341049
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs31129105041945
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd31111193031-144
9Arsenal31101384341243
10Crystal Palace31119112836-842
11Burnley31126133545-1042
12Everton31118123846-841
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle31109122942-1339
14Southampton31114163854-1637
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton31712123441-733
16Watford31610152846-1828
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham3176183554-1927
18Bournemouth3176182950-2127
19Aston Villa3176183659-2327
20Norwich CityNorwich3156202556-3121

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