LFC's 'almost' legends

Over the years Liverpool have been blessed with some extraordinarily talented players and some not so gifted, well they may have been gifted just not in footballing terms. In this article I'd like to look at the players who fall in between, the undervalued and unappreciated players, the unsung heroes. Those that were very good and crucial to our success but perhaps not quite great. You might agree with my picks but please also leave your own LFC underrated XI's below.

Goal Keepers

We've had a few greats put on the gloves from jelly legs Brucey to our current lucky lady Alisson but which keeper failed to get the applause he deserved? There’s David James (277 games, 273 goals conceded), a great shot stopper but more afraid of crosses than Dracula. Westerveld, 103 and 93, whose penalty save against Birmingham handed Houllier his first trophy. Like James however he could stop a screamer from 30 yards outs but failed to take dominance in the box.

Simon Mignolet with 203 appearances and 243 goals, well what can we say about the mighty Mig’s a legend born before his time that brought us some great moments with a sprinkling of O.M.G. (From Case: sorry Romp's I slipped on a few buttons and now can't seem to undo the formatting of Migs' name).

Then we have this last Keeper - I don’t know if he’s an unsung hero or just a plain hero, Jerzy Dudek who played 186 games with 176 goals conceded. Dudek's role in the miracle of Istanbul should give him automatic Hero status but is he in the class of Alisson, Reina and Grobbelaar? His stats would suggest not but come on that double save and then the penalty save to take the CL trophy out of Milan’s clutches. If then Dudek is not to be considered in the “underrated” column for me the choice here would have to be David James. He was England’s number one for a period of time and provided some great games between the sticks over the years for LFC.

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Shaun has provided us with brilliant articles of some of the great defenders over the years but which four do you feel deserve a little more credit than they get, maybe it’s Alberto Moreno? With so many to choose from my first choice is John Arne Riise, probably the first fullback at LFC to successfully display true attacking threat from Left Back with a thundering left footed strike. Then my centre partnership would be Daniel Agger - the lad bled Liverpool and gave his all for the club (although toward the end it wasn’t enough). Next to him I'd have Henchoz who was part of the Red's treble season. On the right I think Glen Johnson Steve Finnan doesn’t get the credit he deserves, the man was Mr Consistent making 99 appearances out of a possible 104 from August 2004 to May 2007.

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With the likes of Barnes, Gerrard, Alonso and Ronnie Whelan it will have been easy for a player to slide under the radar. Mascherano as an example is well thought of but perhaps still underrated. A player we've missed until these last couple of seasons and the emergence of Henderson as well as the introduction of Fabinho. Either side of Masch my underrated two are Hamann and McManaman to offer some leadership and nimble footwork.

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Once again a position in which we've been blessed with great talent over the years. Ian Rush with 230 goals in 468 matches, Daglish 118 goals from 355 and Suarez 69 from 110 matches. Due to striker's usually taking the limelight more often than not it’s hard to find one let alone 3 that have flown under the radar over the years but still been pivotal to their teams’ success. For me though one player comes straight to mind that will probably never be classed as a great at LFC but does embody everything that LFC is about: Dirk Kuyt.

Kuyt played 208 matches scoring 51 times (8 penalties) giving him an average of 0.25 goals per game but what he lacked in goals he more than made up for in effort and team spirit. Next I would go with Michael Owen, a person that gets lambasted due to his treachery and signing for those villainous Red Devils (but seriously LFC did not offer him a contract I believe and he went where the money was, so get over it). (Except for his punditry, that should be banned immediately). Owen on average scored 0.55 goals a game, there are only 4 other players with a better average - on top of that list is Mohamed “I can’t pass 5 yards” Salah with 0.70. My third underrated striker would be none other than Emile Heskey to give the team some height and strength upfront.

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Well that’s my LFC XI that aren’t quite considered as club legends by most but I think deserve to be in a team of their own, with honourable mentions to Stan Colymore, Jamie Redknapp (who I could swap with McManaman, but won’t) and Andy Carrol. Which other of our players have perhaps not gotten the plaudits they deserved?

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