Liverpool are one of England’s most historic clubs, following a sustained period of success in the 20th century. They’ve gone 26 years without a league title, but they stand a good chance this season under Jurgen Klopp of challenging. Here we look at the top five Liverpool managers of all time.
Fagan was one of the founding members of the “Boot Room” and his appointment was seen as the sensible choice following Bob Paisley’s retirement in 1983. He was expected to do well, considering Liverpool’s dominance of the English and European game, along with the fact that he knew the club. He was immensely successful, winning a treble in his first season, but his time in charge was short as he announced his retirement shortly before the 1985 European Cup final. Many believe that they’d have won that game, if the Heysel disaster hadn’t have happened.
Trophies: First Division 1983/84, League Cup 1983/84, European Cup 1983/84
Games Managed: 131
Time in Charge: 1983-1985
Memorable Achievement: Winning the treble in his first season in charge.
Tom Watson arrived at Liverpool after a hugely successful spell in charge of Sunderland, where he’s still the most successful manager in Black Cats history. He narrowly missed out on a league title in 1899, but went on to win two First Division crowns in the following decade. He was extremely unlucky in the FA Cup, losing six semi-finals and being the runners-up once. He died shortly after he relinquished his post in 1915.
Trophies: First Division (1900/01, 1905/06), Second Division 1904/05
Games Managed: 742
Time in Charge: 1896-1915
Memorable Achievement: Winning two First Division titles.
Dalgish was already an Anfield legend, having formed a lethal striking partnership with Ian Rush and the Scot became the first player-manager for Liverpool. In his first reign in charge, the Reds dominated English football, winning the league three times and finishing second twice. Following the Heysel disaster, he never had the opportunity to manage in European competition. His conduct following the Hillsborough disaster was exemplary and is still etched in the minds of Liverpool fans worldwide. He returned to Anfield as manager in 2011 with the club going through a transitional phase and although he didn’t achieve the same level of success as he did in the 1980s, he did still bring Luis Suarez to the club.
Trophies: First Division (1985/86, 1987/88, 1989/90), FA Cup (1985/86, 1988/89), League Cup 2011/12, Super Cup 1985/86, Charity Shield (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990)
Games Managed: 381
Time in Charge: 1985-1991 and 2011-2012
Memorable Achievement: His conduct following the Hillsborough disaster and his success in the 1980s.
Paisley was another founding member of the “Boot Room” following his arrival at Liverpool; however he had to wait 20 years before landing the manager’s role, after Shankly resigned in 1974. Paisley was initially reluctant to take the job, but his family persuaded him and in nine seasons in charge, he won a trophy in eight of them. The only trophy that eluded him was the FA Cup. He was instrumental in bringing Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, Graeme Souness, Bruce Grobelaar and Ronnie Whelan to the club; all were instrumental in Liverpool’s dominance of world football during the 1970s and 1980s.
Trophies: First Division (1975/76, 1976/77, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1982/83), League Cup (1980/81, 1981/92, 1982/82), Charity Shield (1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982), European Cup (1976/77, 1977/78, 1980/81), UEFA Cup 1975/76, UEFA Super Cup 1977
Games Managed: 581
Time in Charge: 1974-1983
Memorable Achievement: Winning the highest number of trophies out of any Liverpool manager.
Shankly didn’t win as many trophies as his successor, but his impact was arguably far greater. Liverpool were in decline when he arrived in 1959, languishing in the Second Division. He released 24 players on his arrival and rebuilt the club, including the creation of the “Boot Room”. He guided the Reds to promotion in 1962 and won the First Division four years later. Shankly then oversaw another transitional period at the club, when great players departed, but they started competing for the title again in the early 1970s, finishing second in 1972. They went one better the following year, winning the league and the UEFA Cup in the same season. Shankly’s legendary status is partly down to his relationship with the fans. He replied to fans’ letters and also helped them get tickets for the games. He developed a philosophy for the club which lasted almost four decades.
Trophies: First Division (1963/64, 1965/66, 1972/73), Second Division 1961/62, FA Cup (1964/65, 1973/74), Charity Shield (1964, 1965, 1966, 1974), UEFA Cup 1972/73
Games Managed: 783
Time in Charge: 1954-1979
Memorable Achievement: Developing a legacy which went on to last over 40 years.