We take a look back at the best Liverpool players of the nineties.
Liverpool were England's champions as the 1990s began. The decade saw many ups and downs at Anfield: Four managers, two trophies and the infamous Spice Boys. We review the best Liverpool XI from the 1990s.
GK: David James - Along with Ray Clemence, Bruce Grobbelaar is fondly remembered as as one of Liverpool's best ever goalkeepers. However, it was the signing of a young David James in the summer of 1992 that signalled the beginning of the end for the Zimbabwe international stopper. James made almost 300 appearances for Liverpool during the 1990s - including 213 consecutive games between February 1994 and February 1998.
As English football's media exposure exploded in the mid-to-late part of the decade, James and his Liverpool team mates were given the label 'Spice Boys' - due to the perception that Roy Evans' young side were focused on celebrity over success on the field. James' Liverpool career had many ups and downs - including the League Cup title in 1995 and the self-proclaimed addiction to Nintendo - but he is the goalkeeper most synonymous with 1990s Liverpool.
RB: Rob Jones - Full back Jones played 243 times for Liverpool from 1991 to 1999 and was very highly rated during the first half of the decade - including being named in the PFA team of the year for the 1991/92 and 1994/95 seasons. Jones was England's first choice right back in the lead up to Euro 92 and Euro 96, but injuries ruled him out of both international tournaments. Multiple knee surgeries and back problems continued to curtail his career until his eventual retirement in the penultimate year of the 90s.
CB: Mark Wright - A year after an impressive 1990 World Cup display, Wright transferred to Liverpool for £2.5 million - a then British transfer record fee for a defender. Throughout his spell at Anfield, which lasted until 1998, Wright captained the side to a 1992 FA Cup final win and appeared in 210 games for the club.
As with Jones, injuries prevented Wright from impacting on the international stage, despite a recall to the national team as Terry Venables planned for Euro 96. Wright again suffered the same fete as Jones - as injury kept the defender out of the tournament.
CB: Neil Ruddock - The great Liverpool sides of yesteryear included defenders such as Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson, Phil Neal, Phil Thompson and Ron Yates. In recent times Anfield has been blessed with the likes of Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia and Daniel Agger. However, the 1990s was less memorable with regards central defenders.
Big money was spent on Phil Babb, John Scales and Neil Ruddock in an attempt to address a weakness throughout the decade, and it's the latter who gets the nod for this 90's XI.
Despite weight problems and unprofessional antics, Ruddock scored 12 goals in 152 Liverpool appearances between 1993 and 1998 and, when fit, was a strong defender with clinical left footed distribution.
LB: Stig Inge Bjornebye - The Norwegian left back made 184 appearances for Liverpool between 1992 and 1999, most notably at wingback in Roy Evans' mid-90s side.
Bjornebye left Anfield to sign for the man who bought him for Liverpool, Graeme Souness, where his three years at Blackburn Rovers were permeated with injuries. Bjornebye retired from the game in 2003, after an operation to prevent foot amputation following an injury in a League Cup Quarter-Final.
RM: Steve McManaman - The career of Steve McManaman saw the attacking midfielder play for Liverpool in every year of the 1990s; making 272 appearances in total before leaving Anfield in controversial circumstances to join Real Madrid.
McManaman was named man-of-the-match in the 1992 FA Cup Final win over Sunderland, scored both Liverpool goals in the 1995 League Cup Final (known as the 'McManaman Final') and was given a free-role during the mid 1990s by boss Roy Evans - enabling 'Macca' to showcase his dribbling skills all over the field.
In 1995/96 McManaman topped the Premier League assist charts, with 25. Before his move to Madrid, McManaman was a Kop hero and many looked to him for creativity and inspiration during the latter parts of the decade.
CM: Jamie Redknapp - Arguably the poster boy of all the Spice Boys, Redknapp seemed cursed with injuries throughout his career. However, look beyond the celebrity coverage (Redknapp dated and married a pop star before the Beckhams prevailed), and the time spent in the treatment room, and Liverpool fans in the 90s will tell you that Redknapp was a huge talent.
With passing ability in abundance and a threat from set-pieces, Redknapp was always one of the first names on the team sheet and made over 300 appearances for the Reds between 1991 and 2002.
Awarded with the club captaincy, Redknapp experienced a fine 1998-99 season by scoring 10 goals in his relatively injury-free 40 appearances.
CM: John Barnes - Signed for Liverpool from Watford in 1987 and was part of a hugely successful and entertaining Kenny Dalgish side, which included Ian Rush, John Aldridge, Peter Beardsley and Ray Houghton. Barnes spent ten years at Anfield, winning four major honours and scoring 108 goals in 407 appearances.
Once a skilful, at times unstoppable, winger, Barnes' role at Liverpool evolved during the 1990s as injures robbed him of his once explosive pace. This led to a positional move that saw Barnes deployed in a central midfield role during Roy Evans' reign.
Barnes' creativity, leadership and passing ability was the perfect foil for younger team mates Redknapp, McManaman and Robbie Fowler. Barnes would take the 90's XI captain's armband and is up there with Ian Rush a true Liverpool legend.
LM: Patrick Berger - If not a great goal scorer, Berger was certainly a scorer of great goals. The Czech midfielder signed for Liverpool following a string of eye-catching performances whilst helping his country to the Euro 96 final at Wembley.
Liverpool manager Roy Evans was suitably impressed to pay Borussia Dortmund £3.25 million for Berger - who went on to score 35 goals in 196 appearances between 1996 and 2003. Berger's long range strikes were a fond memory of mid-late 1990s Liverpool goals from midfield.
CF: Ian Rush - The Welshman played for Liverpool in two spells, between 1980-87 and 1988-1996, spending the 1987-88 season in Italy with Juventus. Rush is the club's all time leading goal-scorer, having found the back of the net 346 times during his 15 seasons at Anfield.
Rush remained Liverpool's talisman in attack throughout the 1990s, until the £8.5 million British transfer record signing of Stan Collymore in the summer of 1995.
Collymore's arrival limited the ageing Rush's game time before his departure to Leeds United in 1996. Rush was also largely responsible for guiding the emergence of Robbie Fowler; seen by many as Rush's heir to the Liverpool number 9 jersey.
CF: Robbie Fowler - The man known on Anfield's Kop simply as 'God' scored 183 goals in 369 Liverpool appearances. Fowler was one of the most natural goal scorers in 1990s English football - famously scoring all five goals in a League Cup tie win over Fulham as an 18 year old.
Fowler's goal scoring exploits in the 1990s was outstanding; he scored 80 goals in 135 games before his first international cap. At just 21-years of age, Fowler scored 36 goals in the 1995/96 season - a feat that hasn't been replicated by Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres, Michael Owen, or any Liverpool forward since.
Adored by Liverpool fans, but perhaps less so across the country, Fowler was given just 27 England caps throughout his career. Fowler succeeded Ian Rush as Liverpool's main goal-getter and Kop idol (the pair scored 529 Liverpool goals between them).
In turn, Michael Owen was assumed to take the same role from Fowler after his heroics at the 1998 World Cup in France. However, despite Owen's 'Boy Wonder' image, it was Fowler who always had a spot in Anfield's heart.
In the latter part of the decade Fowler suffered a series of injuries, including a knee ligament injury in the Merseyside derby, which not only kept him out of England's 1998 World Cup squad but effected his fitness and form throughout the rest of his career.
Fowler never really regained his prolificness after injury, but his tally of Premier League goals before his 21st birthday (64) is far better than Owen's (55) and third placed Wayne Rooney's (44).
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