Steven Gerrard leaving Liverpool - Mark Lawrenson's Anfield top 10

Graeme Souness, Steven Gerrard and Kenny Dalglish
Graeme Souness, Steven Gerrard and Kenny Dalglish

Steven Gerrard has announced he will leave Liverpool at the end of this season. But where does the midfielder rank among Anfield greats? BBC Sport asked former Reds defender Mark Lawrenson to pick his top 10.

I have only considered players that I saw, played with or played against, which rules out Anfield greats like Billy Liddell.

It was also very hard to pick just 10 and leave out the likes of Ian St John, Roger Hunt, Phil Neal, Tommy Smith, Phil Thompson, Terry McDermott, Ray Kennedy, Jimmy Case, Kevin Keegan and Michael Owen.

But here are my favourites…

1. Kenny Dalglish

Career: 1977-90 Games: 515 Goals: 172

Kenny Dalglish

Still Liverpool's greatest player. Every 15 to 20 years, a genius is born and that is the best way to describe Kenny. He wasn't quick, had a big backside and he was not particularly good in the air, but he had an unbelievable touch. Above everything else, though, he had a great football brain and his partnership with Ian Rush was sensational. Even in that great Liverpool team of the 1980s, Kenny was two or three moves ahead of everyone else.

2. Steven Gerrard

Career: 1998-present Games: 695 Goals: 180

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has announced he is to leave his boyhood club at the end of the season

Played in a different era to Kenny and not as successful in terms of winning league titles, but up there. There were 10 or 12 years where Steven, in any outfield position for Liverpool, would have been the best player in the team. A one-club man who was the scorer of great goals, a great passer and a player who drove the team on. Take Gerrard and Dalglish out of any side and it would be completely different.

3. Ian Rush

Career: 1980-87 & 1988-96 Games: 660 Goals: 346

Ian Rush celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Newcastle United in 1986

After Dalglish and Gerrard, it is very difficult to put the other players in an order. Rush is up there, though, because of his clinical finishing. He took everything so early and he never seemed to miss. In tight games, we would look to him to get us a goal and, more often than not, he did. His partnership with Dalglish was outstanding and they both knew what each other was doing.

4. Graeme Souness

Career: 1978-84 Games: 359 Goals: 55

Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness in action against Notts County at Meadow Lane in 1984

With Graeme in your team, it was like attending your first day at secondary school and the toughest bloke there was your elder brother. He never got the credit he deserved because he did have a nasty side to him, but he was a great player. He was a great leader of men, too, either by example or by cajoling others to get the best out of them. We thought he was irreplaceable but nobody is. Liverpool ended up replacing him with three players - Steve McMahon, Kevin Macdonald and Jan Molby. What an epitaph that is.

5. John Barnes

Career: 1987-97 Games: 407 Goals: 108

John Barnes in action against Coventry City in 1990

A fantastic talent who could dribble, cross, pass and score goals. Defensively, he was great, too. It did not matter whether he was given space or not, as long as you gave him the ball he could destroy teams. He had to be a strong character, too, as Liverpool's first major black signing. There is a famous image of him back-heeling a banana off the pitch. Dealing with all of that means he deserves even more respect. He laughed at all that, though, and he was big enough to handle it.

6. Alan Hansen

Career: 1977-91 Games: 620 Goals: 14

Alan Hansen celebrates winning the FA Cup in 1986

It really bugs me that Alan Hansen has to be in here, but only because the game was so easy to him. He had great pace and was a great reader of a situation. He was good in the air, too, although he never got much credit for that, and he never really tackled, just intercepted. He was one of the first centre-backs to be good footballers. He would bring the ball out from the back and set up attacks.

7. Ray Clemence

Career: 1967-81 Games: 665

Liverpool goalkeeper Ray Clemence in action against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield in 1980

I never played with him because he left Liverpool on the day I signed in 1981, but he was the most natural goalkeeper I ever played against. He had the ability to go long spells in a game with nothing to do, then pull off a great save. Like Hansen and Phil Thompson, he played in the Liverpool team that conceded only 16 goals in 42 games as they won the league title in 1978-79.

8. Steve Nicol

Career: 1981-94 Games: 468 Goals: 46

Steve Nicol in action against Watford in 1983

Across the back or in midfield, he was just unbelievably consistent. It was not the fact he could play anywhere, it was the fact he could play anywhere and be very accomplished. He had great big feet and we used to say he got his boots made at Cammel Laird, the shipbuilders. But left foot or right foot, he had a great touch and could dribble and shoot.

9. Ian Callaghan

Career: 1960-78 Games: 857 Goals: 68

Ian Callaghan in action against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield in 1968

Possessed outstanding passing ability and vision. He played more games than any other Liverpool player and morphed from a winger into a central midfielder along the way. Would not necessarily take the limelight every time he played, but was a real team player and was amazingly consistent throughout his career.

10. Robbie Fowler

Career: 1993-2001 & 2006-07 Games: 369 Goals: 183

Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler celebrates scoring against Sheffield United at Anfield in 2007

Just as I rightfully laud the ability of Rush, people who played with Robbie will tell you that he also never missed a chance. Everything he hit used to go in the corner of the net. Fowler was never the quickest but he knew just where the ball was going to drop. He had a lot of cunning, too. People tell me that in one of his first training sessions for England, he took part in a shooting drill and everybody just stopped and applauded.

Mark Lawrenson was talking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan

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