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Liverpool's run of 20 home league wins in a row is only bettered by Reds

  /  autty

Southampton arrived at Anfield with a game plan on Saturday, but ended up leaving with their tail firmly between the legs, the 20th consecutive team to leave Liverpool's home empty handed in the league.

Liverpool aren't just unbeaten on Merseyside since April 2017, it's now been over a year since they failed to take all three points when they were held by Leicester in January 2019.

A 4-0 victory over the Saints at the weekend saw Liverpool's title procession march ever onwards, and has put them within sight of yet another club record.

They are just one game away from equalling a record 21 successive league wins at Anfield, something that they achieved nearly 50 years ago.

Back then it was the class of 1972, with the legendary Bill Shankly in charge, Tommy Smith wearing the armband, Emlyn Hughes running the midfield and the iconic strike partnership of Kevin Keegan and John Toshack leading the line.

That Liverpool side played in a 4-4-2, while Jurgen Klopp's current crop have largely been operating in a 4-3-3 during their assault on the record books.

But what other differences and similarities are there between the side that went on to win the First Division and UEFA Cup double in 1973 and the current XI? Sportsmail takes a look...

Ray Clemence

The most recognisable goalkeeper in Liverpool history is probably Bruce Grobbelaar, but there is no doubting that it's Clemence who is widely regarded as the club's greatest.

Just 18 when he signed from Scunthorpe in 1967 he had to wait nearly three years until his full league debut with Tommy Lawrence the custodian of the No 1 shirt. When his chance arrived, he never looked back, missing only six league games in his 11 years as Liverpool No 1.

Between 1972 and 1978 he made 336 consecutive appearances without missing a single match and only Jamie Carragher and Ian Callaghan have made more appearances for the club than Clemence's 665.

He bowed out in style, keeping a clean sheet as Liverpool beat Real Madrid in the 1981 European Cup final.


Clemence may be the greatest Liverpool goalkeeper of all time, but for how much longer? Alisson is certainly making a compelling case to be the natural successor to that mantle, and at a then-record £65m he is proving a bargain.

Injury and suspension has seen him make only 17 Premier League appearances this season, but he has kept more clean sheets (nine) than he has conceded goals (six). No goalkeeper has had more shutouts than the Brazilian in this campaign, despite him playing eight fewer times than Dean Henderson and Nick Pope.

Each clean sheet has come in the last 10 games, an astonishing run of form that has seen Liverpool blitz their way to a 22-point lead at the top. Alisson exudes calm and combines his impressive shot stopping with an eye for a pass that saw him deliver an inch-perfect assist for Mohamed Salah against Manchester United last month.

He is a popular figure off the pitch, who has seemingly become the 'go to guy' for Brazilian Christians in the north west after helping baptise both Roberto Firmino and United midfielder Fred's wife in the past few weeks.

Right back
Chris Lawler

Bob Paisley once lavished praise on one of the great goalscoring defenders of Liverpool history, saying Lawler had 'the brain of a striker'. With a return of 61 goals in 549 games it's easy to see why.

Lawler debuted under Shankly in 1963 and between 1965 and 1971 he made an astonishing 316 consecutive appearances. He was nicknamed 'The Silent Knight' on the Kop.

Lawler shared a close friendship with Tommy Smith and the pair were room mates. They were so close, in fact, that Lawler shared a bed with Smith on his wedding night as they prepared for a European Cup semi-final against Inter Milan in 1965.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

It has been quite the rise to stardom for the latest local lad at Liverpool. It is just over three years since the 21-year-old made his full debut, thrust into the starting lineup at Old Trafford.

Since Nathaniel Clyne's injury problems in the summer of 2017, Alexander-Arnold hasn't looked back as he beat Joe Gomez to make the right back slot his own. Steven Gerrard wrote in his autobiography that he had a 'terrific chance' of making it, and if anything he has gone on to prove he was woefully undersold by his former coach.

Alexander-Arnold is redefining the full back role, dominating the ball and the tempo in which Liverpool play. A dead ball expert, a crisp passer and a delightful crosser, there appears to be little that he can't do.

As he said after winning the Champions League in Madrid last year, he's just a normal lad from Liverpool whose dreams had come true, and it's the unheralded community work that has ingratiated him to the Kop almost as much as his work on the pitch.

Centre back
Tommy Smith

'I was a fanatic, brought up on a diet of football, football and more football.' Few players are as revered in Liverpool folklore as 'The Anfield Iron'.

Shankly said Smith 'wasn't born, he was quarried'. Smith cultivated a fearsome reputation on the pitch for taking few prisoners. He once handed Jimmy Greaves a piece of paper with the menu from the Liverpool Infirmary before a game.

Fourteen years after making his debut, Smith headed home Liverpool's second goal in their maiden European Cup final triumph over Borussia Monchengladbach in 1977.

He would leave just under a year later after 639 appearances for his hometown club, a fitting end for a man who said: 'I was born with football in my blood. Red of course, not Blue.'

Virgil van Dijk

The world scoffed when Liverpool parted with a world record £75million for Southampton's leading centre-back. But it is Jurgen Klopp who is laughing now two years later.

No single signing has transformed the side quite like the Dutch powerhouse, who almost over night turned Liverpool's notoriously brittle defence into the meanest in world football.

He was crowned the PFA Player of the Year in his first full season at Anfield, the first defender to claim the award since John Terry in 2005, beat Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to be voted UEFA Men's Player of the Year and finished second in both Best FIFA Men's Player and the Ballon d'Or for 2019.

At 28 there is still plenty more to come as well.

Centre back
Larry Lloyd

Shankly eyed Lloyd as the long-term replacement for Ron Yeats, and when they were in negotiations with Bristol Rovers in 1969 said: 'Larry, I have come to the conclusion that you would kick your grandmother for a fiver'.

Lloyd corrected the Scot, saying he would do it for just half of that. He signed for £50,000 and became a central figure during the 1972-73 season, playing all 66 competitive matches of a long and draining campaign.

A thigh injury in February 1974 prevented him kicking on further, and he failed to dislodge a young Phil Thompson upon his return to fitness. He moved to Coventry, where he largely struggled, before Brian Clough brought him to Nottingham Forest and made him a key part of his two-time European Cup winners.

Joe Gomez

After battling it out with Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip for the right to partner van Dijk at the heart of Liverpool's defence, Gomez appears to have finally won the race.

He has been in supreme form since coming back into the side in December, keeping nine clean sheets in the last 10 games. Even beyond that, Liverpool have conceded just eight times in his last 36 Premier League appearances.

Gomez is fast becoming the best young centre back in England at just 22 years old, and an absolute snip after being snapped up as an 18-year-old from Charlton for just £6million.

Left back
Alec Lindsay

Shankly was left frustrated in 1970 when he felt he wasn't getting the bang for his buck from the £67,000 signing from Bury.

When he asked Lindsay to take on his men and score the goals that he had done at Gigg Lane, the player was nonplussed. 'But that wasn't me boss. That was Jim Kerr,' protested Lindsay.

'Jesus Christ, Bob,' said Shankly to his assistant Paisley. 'We've signed the wrong bloody player.'

Shankly eventually found room for Lindsay at left back where he was able to overlap and still chip in with the odd goal. He missed just nine matches between 1971 and 1973 before he was displaced by future captain Phil Neal midway through the 1974-75 season

Andy Robertson

Liverpool fans were fairly nonplussed when the club spent £8m on relegated Hull's left back in August 2017. After initially being made to bide his time by Jurgen Klopp he has certainly repaid that faith now tenfold.

Robertson's ascent has captured the imagination of the Anfield faithful, probably because they so readily identify with him. He is a Scottish full back, full of energy, who will hassle and harry right until the final minute... and he whips in a decent cross for good measure.

At tweet from an 18-year-old Robertson, plying his trade at Scottish Third Division side Queen's Park was unearthed when Liverpool reached the 2018 Champions League final. It simply read: 'life at this age is rubbish with no money #needajob'. Now look at him.

Right midfield/ centre midfield
Steve Heighway

There are few names as iconic in Liverpool history as Steve Heighway, his place on the wing getting special mention in the famous Kop anthem, 'The Fields of Anfield Road'.

Plucked from Skelmersdale United as an amateur in May 1970 at the age of 22, he was a university graduate with a degree in economics when he joined Liverpool.

With his breakneck speed and pinpoint crossing, Shankly had few problems finding room for the Dubliner in his side.

In an 11-year Liverpool career he made 475 appearances, won four league titles, two European Cups and two UEFA Cups. He rejoined the club in 1989 to run the youth academy and is credited with bringing through the likes of Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen.


Just 48 hours after the heartache of Champions League final defeat in Kiev, Liverpool splurged £43m on Monaco midfielder Fabinho.

Another who needed a bedding in process at Anfield but who now looks more than comfortable in the Liverpool midfield.

Authoritative on the ball and so alert at anticipating danger, the Reds once again look like they have paid under the odds to fill what was becoming a problem position.

Centre midfield
Emlyn Hughes

Shankly was so captivated by Hughes when he first saw him play for Blackpool in 1964 that he would ring him every Sunday morning telling him he wanted him at Liverpool.

In 1967 he finally got his way, for a fee of £65,000, and a legendary figure in Liverpool history was born. Hughes was a powerful midfielder, often surging forward with the ball at pace and capable of shooting from distance.

'Crazy Horse' was beloved on the Kop, and moved to play in the centre of defence with Phil Thompson from the 1973-74 season, forming an innovative partnership that would play out from the back.

He was eventually made captain and lifted the club's first two European Cups in 1977 and 78.

Jordan Henderson

It has been quite a 12 months for the Liverpool captain who has transformed from a much-maligned presence in midfield to the beating heart of Klopp's record breaking side.

Kenny Dalglish was forced to defend the £16m fee Liverpool spent on the Sunderland youngster back in 2011, insisting that he was one for the future. Nine years and 356 appearances later there can be no doubt that he is one now one of the best buys in the club's history.

At 29 he is now undoubtedly at his peak and notching up the trophy lifts that define the career of a Liverpool skipper. One of only five to lift the European Cup, he could become the second to retain it after Hughes, while being the captain who finally ends the league title drought will no doubt afford him legendary status in the red half of Merseyside.

Centre midfield
Ian Callaghan

Of all the Liverpool records that look set to tumble over the coming weeks, there is one that may well stand the test of time.

Callaghan's haul of 857 appearances stands well ahead of the chasing pack, with Jamie Carragher holding second place some 120 games behind.

He enjoyed an 18-year playing career at Anfield, taking them from the Second Division in 1960 up to the First and to the two European Cup wins in 1977 and 78.

Callaghan began his playing days as a winger but by 1972 he had moved to central midfield after a knee operation, a move which certainly aided the prolonging of his career.

Georginio Wijnaldum

Four years ago Gini Wijnaldum was relegated with Newcastle, and now he is the beating heart of one of the greatest sides in Premier League history.

Indeed, since moving to Anfield for £25m in 2016 he has missed just 11 league games. His consistency and reliability are the cornerstones of what makes the current side tick.

He was once Feyenoord's youngest ever player at just 16 and made his name in Holland as a goalscoring midfielder who even played out on the wing.

He has sacrificed all that attacking spark to become the workhorse of the Liverpool midfield, and that he has shook off the arrivals of Naby Keita, Fabinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to remain a regular selection under Klopp is a testament to his grit and character.

Left midfield/ left wing
Brian Hall

It was Hall who most benefited from Callaghan's knee injury in 1970. He deputised so well on the wing that Shankly, desperate to accommodate them both, shifted Callaghan to the centre.

The Glaswegian had moved to Liverpool in his late teens, but not to play of football. He went to university, to study mathematics, and chose the city because he was a big fan of the Beatles.

Shortly after moving to Merseyside a friend of his arranged for a trial. He signed as an amateur in 1965 and then turned professional upon completing his degree three years later.

He went on to make 224 appearances before leaving for Plymouth in 1976 after losing his place to Jimmy Case.

Sadio Mane

The first part of Liverpool's potent front three has become a world star since joining for £30m from Southampton in 2016.

His journey now to African Footballer of the Year and world superstar has been a long and winding one, that has taken him from the streets of Senegal, to France and then England via Austria.

It was in his two seasons at St Mary's that he made his name in England, scoring the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history against Aston Villa in 2015 inside 176 seconds.

With 74 goals in 154 Liverpool games he is as indispensable to Jurgen Klopp as they come, and another very popular member of the group. His camaraderie with team-mates is clear to see, as is his tendency to mimic their goal celebrations.

Centre forward
Kevin Keegan

After netting 12 minutes into his Liverpool debut in August 1971, Shankly knew he had a gem on his hands. He went on to score 100 goals in 323 games for the club.

Anfield is where Keegan made his name in football after joining for £33,000 from Scunthorpe. He became a central figure of three title winning sides in his six years at Liverpool, one of the finest players of his generation, and to ever wear the red shirt.

Keegan was a trailblazer. One of the first footballing celebrities off the pitch, and one of the first English footballers to make the plunge and go abroad when he moved to Hamburg for a British record £500,000 in 1978, where he won two Ballon d'Ors.

He is more revered in the north east, where he is known as the 'Geordie Messiah' for his spells there as player and manager. But Keegan, and Liverpool fans, still reserve a special place in each other's hearts.

Roberto Firmino

Affectionately known around Anfield as 'Bobby' and the subject of a favourite Kop song 'Si senor', there are few players that sum up the zest and energy of this Liverpool side quite like the Brazilian.

He has been at the club nearly five years now after joining from Hoffenheim in the summer of 2015 and after 228 appearances is a mainstay of the side.

His whitened teeth and broad grin combined with his social media eccentricities have created a persona that Liverpool fans can't help but buzz off.

That he is also the hardest working member of the side whose tireless pressing from the front sets the tone only strengthens the bond between player and supporter.

Centre forward/ right wing
John Toshack

Toshack formed the second half of a fearsome forward line alongside Keegan. They were the original little and large partnership up front, and famously dressed up as Batman and Robin in a photoshoot for Shoot magazine in 1977.

The Welshman arrived from Cardiff in 1970 for a club record £110,000 but it wasn't until the arrival of Keegan a year later that Liverpool really saw him at his best.

He scored 96 times in 247 appearances before he returned to South Wales in 1978 to become player-manager at Swansea.

Mohamed Salah

Liverpool fans wondered where Salah would slot in, and whether he was simply bought to add squad depth, when he joined from Roma for £39m in 2017.

Any question marks over his suitability to England after a difficult spell at Chelsea were smashed in an incredible debut season, the likes of which no Liverpool player has ever enjoyed.

He was a double player of the year and golden boot winner after firing 44 goals in a sensational campaign. Heartbreak followed when he was shoved out of the Champions League final in 2018, only to gain his redemption 12 months later with the opening goal in Madrid.

The Egyptian King is adored on the Kop, not just his goals but for his humility that chimes with the ethos of the club. His and Sadio Mane's Muslim prayer celebrations are a regular sight on the pitch and have helped to break down both cultural and religious barriers.

Bill Shankly

The father of modern-day Liverpool. He wanted to make Liverpool a club for the people and a bastion of invincibility. Without his vision and skill the club would be nowhere.

He guided the sleeping giant out of the second division and established many of the values and cultures that have come to define the club. Those traditions were sustained through his successors Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish.

There is a sense now that the club is the most together it has been since the fabled Boot Room dominated. And though Jurgen Klopp is an extremely quotable manager, there has never been anyone that could match the wit of the great Scot.

Jurgen Klopp

He promised that he would turn doubters into believers when he arrived in October 2015. After nearly five years it is fair to say it's mission accomplished.

Liverpool are European champions, world champions for the first time in history and now destined to finally end their wait to be champions of England for a 19th time.

Klopp has transformed the mood of a club that was directionless and now the envy of world football. The culture he has instilled has filtered down from top to bottom to create a harmonious environment that is shared from the first team at Melwood to the academy at Kirkby.

P.S. Here's how Anfield looked back then!

Liverpool's grand old stadium was not so different nearly 50 years ago as it appears today.

Modifications have been made in that time, with the capacity increased to 54,074 following the redevelopment of the Main Stand in 2016.

In the 1972-73 season the average attendance at Anfield was 48,103. Each stand has had its share of renovation over the years, with further tiers added to each of the three stands, except the Kop, which has seen its capacity decrease following the move to all-seater stadia in the 1990s.

Plans are afoot for the second phase of Anfield's redevelopment which would see the Anfield Road End go under a major renovation that would take the ground's capacity beyond 60,000.