Bob Paisley is number 10 in 90min's Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next two weeks. You can read Robbie Copeland's biography of Paisley here.
Bob Paisley's nine years as Liverpool manager represented a watershed period for the club. While they had previously conquered English football under Bill Shankly, the years between 1974 and 1983 saw them dominate the European football landscape, claiming six first division titles and three European Cups.
As you can imagine, then, the understated mastermind behind one of the most famous football legacies worked with some incredible players; and we've poured over the archives to compile the best XI to ever play under Bob Paisley.
Goalkeeper and Defenders
Ray Clemence (GK) - Clemence is described by Liverpool as 'without a doubt the greatest goalkeeper ever to play for Liverpool' so there is no real case against his inclusion. A constant until Bruce Grobbelaar's arrival in 1981.
Phil Neal (RB) - In a time when transfer windows didn't exist and signings could be made whenever a manager saw fit, Neal became one of Paisley's first signings when he arrived from Northampton for £66,000 in October 1974. They would get their money's worth, as he appeared 650 times over 12 years.
Alan Hansen (CB) - One of Paisley's main tactical advancements at Liverpool was the introduction of centre-backs capable of playing with the ball at their feet, allowing for a more possession-based approach to football. Hansen was the embodiment of this, with his cool, composed brand of defending chaperoning Liverpool to success throughout the late 1970s.
Phil Thompson (CB) - Thompson was a regular for Liverpool before, during and briefly after the Paisley years. He won seven league titles and three European Cups at the heart of defence, and is widely remembered as one of the best central defenders to play for the club.
Emlyn Hughes (LB) - Another Shankly masterstroke, Hughes was signed from Blackpool in 1967 after being identified by the Liverpool boss as a future England captain. This proved prophetic as he went on to captain both club and country. Capable of playing anywhere across midfield or defence, he featured at left-back in the Reds' 1978 European Cup final as they won the trophy for the second time.
Steve Heighway (RW) - The fact that 'Stevie Heighway on the wing' is sung around Anfield to this day is fitting testament to the impression the Irish winger made in his 11 years on Merseyside as his electric brand of wing play was an iconic feature of the great Liverpool teams throughout the 1970s.
Ray Kennedy (CM) - Shankly signed Kennedy in one of his final acts as Liverpool manager, with his arrival from Arsenal - for a club record fee of £200,000 - coming on the same day that the manager stepped down. His final act proved to be an effective one, however, as Kennedy transitioned from a forward into one of the most intelligent and efficient midfielders Liverpool had throughout his eight years at the club.
Graeme Souness (CM) - Renowned for the steely presence he brought to the Liverpool midfield, he captained the side during the peak of their success, and won a remarkable five league titles and three European Cups in his six years in Merseyside.
Terry McDermott (LW) - McDermott was another early Paisley signing, arriving in November 1974 and making his debut in a 1-1 draw with Everton. A formidable wide-midfielder, he is best remembered for scoring the goal of the 1976/77 season when he chipped Everton keeper David Lawson from the edge of the box in the FA Cup semi-finals.
Kenny Dalglish (CF) - King Kenny is perhaps the finest example of Paisley's ability to read a player and understand how to fit them into his team, as he was introduced in the unfamiliar 'number ten' role where the boss felt his subtlety and intelligence would allow him to flourish. He scored 169 goals in 502 appearances, and has the distinction of winning the league with Liverpool as both player and manager.
Ian Rush (ST) - Perhaps the finest traditional centre-forward ever to take to the Anfield pitch, Rush is Liverpool's all-time top scorer with 346 goals in all competitions. In 2013, he was voted by Liverpool fans as their third best ever player, behind Dalglish and Steven Gerrard.
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