Remembering Liverpool’s World Cup Winners

- - Players

Gold and Red GlobeAlthough these things are liable to fall through at the last minute, it seems as though Liverpool have now all but got the signing of Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister.

The enterprising midfielder has been a key figure in the sublime rise of the Seagulls into the Premier League’s top six, although the 24-year-old is perhaps best known for being part of the Argentina team that lifted the World Cup in Qatar at the tailend of 2022.

Rumours abound that the Reds have landed their man for as little as £45 million thanks to a buyout clause in his contract, and that will be music to the ears of the club’s financiers as they look to fund an overhaul of the Liverpool squad.

Mac Allister is not the first World Cup winner to pull on the famous red shirt. Some who have gotten their hands on the Jules Rimet trophy have become Liverpool legends in their own right, whereas others have perhaps been forgotten by all but the most fanatical of Anfield supporters.

So here’s a look at the Liverpool players who have won the World Cup:

Roger Hunt, Ian Callaghan & Gerry Byrne (England, 1966)

England Flag on Red Brick Wall

This trio were all part of the England squad that delivered the finest footballing day in the country’s history on home soil back in 1966.

Roger Hunt needs no introduction to Liverpool fans of a certain vintage. He is the club’s second-highest goalscorer of all time, notching 285 goals in just 492 appearances – only Ian Rush has scored more times for the Reds. Hunt also blitzed three goals in the group stage of World Cup ’66 to confirm his importance to Sir Alf Ramsey’s famous side.

Ian Callaghan is Liverpool through and through. Born in Toxteth, he racked up an astonishing 640 appearances for the Reds across a 19-year career, winning five league titles, two FA Cups, two UEFA Cups and the European Cup in 1977 (he was an unused substitute in the 1978 final). Sadly for Callaghan, despite being part of England’s squad for World Cup ’66, he didn’t make an appearance and therefore did not receive a winner’s medal.

Gerry Byrne was another Liverpool man, making more than 270 appearances for the club and not playing for anybody else during his 12-year professional career. He won two England caps, but it perhaps best known for his hard as nails effort in the 1965 FA Cup final against Leeds United – playing the entire game with a broken collarbone, Byrne assisted Hunt’s opening goal in the 2-1 victory.

Karl-Heinz Riedle (Germany, 1990)

German Flag Against Clear Blue Sky

Karl-Heinz Riedle scored 150 goals during his club career, although only eleven of those came while wearing the Liverpool shirt in a pretty unforgettable spell at Anfield between 1997-99.

However, the player known as ‘Air’ thanks to his aerial abilities, was revered in his native Germany, winning 42 caps and featuring in their World Cup win of 1990.

Riedle played in four games at the finals in Italy, scoring in the penalty shootout win against England in the semi-final. He was dropped for the final to make way for the returning-from-injury Rudi Voller.

Bernard Diomede (France, 1998)

Bernard Diomede

Image by Academie-diomede on Wikimedia Commons

If you’d forgotten that Bernard Diomede existed, don’t feel bad – he only made five appearances for Liverpool after being signed for £3 million by Gerard Houllier.

He had won the Ligue 1 title with Auxerre before his move to Merseyside, while managing the unlikely feat of playing three times for France at World Cup ’98 – despite only winning eight caps for his country in total.

After France’s defeat of Brazil in the final, Diomede became one of the unlikeliest owners of a World Cup winner’s medal.

Pepe Reina & Fernando Torres (Spain, 2010)

FNB Stadium

Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, image by Martyn Smith on flickr

Revered as a safe pair of hands in his time at Anfield, Pepe Reina played nearly 300 times for Liverpool – winning an FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Super Cup, while tasting agonising defeat in the final of the 2007 Champions League.

Reina won 36 caps for Spain too, albeit he couldn’t dislodge Iker Casillas from the national team at World Cup 2010, which the Spaniards won with an injury-time goal from Andres Iniesta against the Netherlands.

Heading into the tournament, Fernando Torres had scored 22 times in a successful campaign for Liverpool, but that wasn’t enough to get him the nod as Spain’s striker – David Villa, as it goes, scored five goals in his country’s journey to the trophy, winning the Silver Shoe and the Bronze Ball.

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