Not many relationships in football are as enduring as Liverpool’s 43-year love affair with European football.
Manchester United might have their ’20 times’, but Liverpool have Rome twice, Wembley, Paris, Madrid, and, in the most dramatic circumstances of them all, Istanbul. Try knocking them off that perch!
Unsurprisingly, quite a few players have contributed towards this glittering European pedigree, and when it comes specifically to the modern Champions League the Redmen might have one of the most eclectic, even bizarre list of European goalscorers – the only list, in fact, where Steven Gerrard can be found rubbing shoulders with the great Jari Litmanen and forgettable faces like David N’gog.
Without further ado, here are the Reds’ top goalscorers in the Champions League era…
One of the most prolific goalscoring defenders in the world, the only surprise here is that the man who changed everything for Liverpool isn’t higher up on this list.
He currently has two Champions League goals for the Reds.
The boyhood Liverpool (and Celtic and Spurs and LA Galaxy) fan lasted half a season in Merseyside before deciding he shouldn’t have bothered leaving White Hart Lane in the first place. Still managed to fit in a couple of group-stage goals in Europe.
The man’s career since leaving Liverpool is quite something – you very rarely see Ross County sandwiched between Panionios and Budapest Honved – but he has his own slice of European history for the Reds after scoring against PSV Eindhoven and Debrecen.
In a world where life was fair, Sturridge would be right at the top of this list having had a long and healthy career. As it is, he was released by Liverpool three days after their latest European triumph – he got to keep the winners’ medal though!
Laugh all you like, but its easy to forget that without the heroics of the young Frenchman and Neil Mellor, Gerrard wouldn’t have had a comeback to complete against Olympiakos in the first place in 2005.
One of the most legendary marksmen in Liverpool’s history, a man who practically breathed goals… only got off the mark for the Reds in the Champions League in 2008 during his second spell at the club? In fairness, it probably has something to do with Liverpool mainly playing in the UEFA Cup when Fowler was in his prime.
Overrated? Underrated? Flop? The missing piece to Liverpool’s midfield? We may never know with Keita, but what I can tell you is that he has scored against both Porto and Leipzig in European football.
Murphy’s area of expertise is arguably Europe’s second-tier competition – after winning the UEFA Cup with Liverpool in 2001, he came agonisingly close to doing so with Fulham in what would have been a pretty unique achievement.
Where do we start with this man? You’d probably put a decent sum of money on him never adding to his tally of three Champions League goals, and yet all three of them are surely amongst the most iconic in Liverpool history. We’ll never see another player quite like him.
Litmanen’s body was basically falling apart at this point, and his relationship with Gerard Houllier wasn’t too great either, so to his credit three Champions League goals in his second season at Anfield is surely proof of his greatness.
His decent goalscoring returns in England were invariably less spectacular than his unique fashion choices, but he deserves credit for coming back from a fractured tibia to score one of Liverpool’s penalties in the 2005 final.
Liverpool’s 2005 squad was incredibly weird, and you wonder if they’d even manage to crack the top ten in the current Premier League.
Baros was Liverpool’s joint top-scorer in all competitions that season with, wait for it, 13 goals, and yet they still managed to beat Europe’s best and brightest.
Another Champions League winner who possessed a jackhammer of a left foot, but unfortunately the moment that he is best remembered for in Europe involves a very angry Welshman hitting him repeatedly with a golf club.
He wasn’t quite the Steve McManaman replacement that Liverpool fans were looking for, but given the part that his outside of the box effort played a part in dragging Liverpool back into the 2005 final, they probably don’t mind.
Today’s kids will never remember, but before the existence of YouTube and those stepovers against Algeria, Heskey was actually a very highly regarded target man, and he was responsible for one of Liverpool’s great European goals, dumping Roma out of Europe with a thumping header.
One of many Liverpool greats that you’d have loved to have seen in the current side, Hyypia wasn’t just a beacon of calm at the back for the Redmen, but had an eye for goal himself – his volley against Juventus in the 2005 quarter-final was a vital part of Liverpool’s journey to Istanbul.
We’re often told that Wijnaldum does the things you don’t see on the pitch, but in vital moments for Liverpool he’s very often the man in the spotlight.
He netted in the topsy-turvy semi-final against Roma in 2018, scored twice against Barcelona the year after, and came close to rescuing Liverpool’s bonkers tie against Atletico Madrid this year.
While the guy’s knees are undoubtedly made of porridge, when he’s been fit and firing he’s been a real asset for Liverpool. Remember when the Reds (and Anfield) comprehensively blew Man City away in the 2018 quarter-final first leg?
The Ox was front and centre of the carnage, scoring one of the great Champions League goals in the process.
This man would have enjoyed quite the sigh of relief after Kingsley Coman got on the end of Joshua Kimmich’s cross in Lisbon, because up to that point it looked as if he’d chucked his best ever chance of a Champions League winners’ medal away. And yet, it was his sale which facilitated the Liverpool rebuild which facilitated their 2019 victory in Madrid, so in a way… he was always a winner.
If you were compiling a list of the Premier League’s all-time greats, you’d spend at least six hours in conversation before landing on Benayoun. And yet the clutch midfielder has seemingly popped up in half of the big games of the 2000s, not least in a smash-and-grab win at the Bernabeu for Liverpool in 2009.
Like Fowler, Owen probably just missed the boat for the return of Liverpool’s European glory days. To make matters worse, after refusing to take part in Liverpool’s 2004/05 campaign as to avoid getting cup tied before a move to Real Madrid, Owen ended up watching the Reds win the whole thing, with that particular trophy still missing from his repertoire.
Yes, that Ryan Babel.
Things weren’t ideal for him in Merseyside but a guy who still turns out for the Netherlands at the age of 33 is always going to be handier than the headlines suggest, and he was a useful figure in Liverpool’s run to the 2008 semis.
His armband proved he was a red, Torres, Torres
Liverpool weren’t quite the European juggernaut that they are now towards the back end of the 2000s, but were still a force to be reckoned with, especially with this man up top.
From Inter to Arsenal, a host of mighty opponents were toppled by Torres’ brilliance before he left for pastures new, but ironically the one opponent that he could never quite master was his future club Chelsea.
Though he was mainly known for doing lots of running around and scoring from about two yards out, Kuyt’s European credentials are pretty damn good, and he has the privilege of being in an exclusive group of Liverpool players to have scored in a European final.
The goal in question, in Liverpool’s losing effort against AC Milan, is vintage Kuyt, a scrappy flick-on from a corner that only a mother could love.
As Spurs fans will tell you, it wasn’t always pretty with Crouchy, but when the floodlights came on and the Handel started playing, he turned into a different animal.
Just like Benayoun and Babel, his tally has been conspicuously inflated by being involved in an 8-0 dismantling of Besiktas – but they all count!
Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Jerzy Dudek are the men who will forever be credited with Liverpool’s fifth Champions League trophy, but Luis Garcia laid the best teams in Europe to waste in the knockout rounds.
His hattrick against Bayer Leverkusen was pretty good, and his dipping half-volley against Juventus was even better, but against Chelsea he saved his best bit of magic, scoring a goal where the ball quite possibly never even crossed the line.
You can argue about the validity of his ‘ghost goal’ against Chelsea, but he deserves all the credit in the world for celebrating so well that the ref almost didn’t have a choice.
Yeah, he doesn’t score goals anymore, blah blah blah… The Brazilian will still go down as one of the most important players as Liverpool reached back-to-back finals, with the man with the shiniest teeth in football radiant throughout the 2017/18 campaign in particular.
One ahead of Bobby is his colleague in one of the all-time most destructive front threes, and just like the former Hoffenheim man, Mane’s fingerprints are all over some of Liverpool’s most glorious nights.
You can’t really argue against that turn and off-balance chip against Manuel Neuer as the pick of the bunch, while he does of course have the honour of a Champions League final goal to his name.
Barring a unexpected transfer or an unforeseen injury (and you never can be too sure with Liverpool, these days), Salah will soon occupy the top spot on this most illustrious of lists.
He didn’t let Sergio Ramos yanking his arm off his body like a Lego figure stop him from coming back to the exact same stage a year later and scoring, and with the Egyptian showing no signs of stopping just yet, it seems a given that we’ll see him in another final.
Somehow, with a free-scoring Liverpool breaking records left, right and centre, in a world where the Reds can plausibly be made the outright favourites to win the Champions League, Gerrard’s supremacy is yet to be toppled.
In a very different time, when he was carrying the likes of Baros and Biscan, and when Liverpool had to scrap for every knockout victory, the local hero came up time and time again, against Olympiakos and against Milan.
It’ll be beaten by Salah soon enough, but Gerrard’s record remains a testament to one of Europe’s great one-man shows.