Player profile

Chris Lawler

Chris Lawler

Birthdate: 20 October 1943
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Other clubs: Portsmouth (1975-77), Miami Toros (loan 1976), Stockport County (1977-78), Bangor City (1978-80)
Bought from: Local
Signed for LFC: Joined 1959 - Professional 20.10.1960
International debut: 12.05.1971 vs. Malta
International caps: 4/1 - 13.10.1971
Liverpool debut: 20.03.1963
Last appearance: 17.09.1975
Debut goal: 05.12.1964
Last goal: 06.11.1973
Contract expiry: 22.10.1975
Win ratio: 50.82% W:279 D:146 L:124
Games/goals ratio: 9
Honours: League Championship 1965/66, 1972/73; FA Cup 1965, 1974; UEFA Cup 1973
LFC league games/goals: 406 / 41
Total LFC games/goals: 549 / 61

Player profile

A great goalscoring defender if there ever was one. Lawler boasts an astonishing record of 61 goals in 549 games, especially considering he was not the club's penalty kick-taker or a free-kick specialist. He ghosted into the opponent's penalty area, having the "brain of a striker" as termed by Paisley, and cooly dispatched the ball past the 'keeper. His most memorable goal of all came in a Merseyside derby in November 1970 when after being two goals down Lawler scored the winner for Liverpool six minutes from time. Local lad Lawler came through the junior ranks at Anfield and signed professional forms on his seventeenth birthday in October 1960. The cultured centre-half had his way into the team blocked by the great Ron Yeats and had to wait patiently until March 1963 before Bill Shankly gave him his debut in a home fixture with West Bromwich Albion. Lawler made six League appearances in 1962/63 and took Yeats' place in all the six matches the Scotsman missed the following year. Lawler's talent was too great to keep him out of the team and a spot had to be found for him. Ronnie Moran, who had been playing left-back with Gerry Byrne on the right, was reaching the end a successful career. Lawler was brought in as right-back and Byrne moved to the left. By the end of the 1964/65 season Lawler was a regular and a proud member of the Liverpool team that won the FA cup for the first time in the club's history. He played 316 consecutive games from 2 October 1965 to 24 April 1971, a quite remarkable 'attendance record', helping his side win the Championship in 1966, reach the Cup winners' Cup final the same year and another FA Cup final in 1971.

Lawler and Tommy Smith were roommates and despite being very different characters they worked well together on and off the field as Lawler explained. "Tommy and I had an understanding. I’d try and force them inside and then Tommy would sort them out! I’d let him do the tackling. There weren’t many that got the better of us. Best, Charlton, yes, they were good. But we usually had the beating of them." Lawler was nicknamed "The Silent Knight" because of the quiet, uncomplicated way he just got on with his job on the field described in one report as "sauntering through games with all the apparent urgency of a man out walking his dog." He was very quiet off the field and a source for one of the best anecdotes concerning Bill Shankly, as told by Bob Paisley. "Bill used to take training sessions very seriously when it got round to the 7–a-side matches and this day we were playing without proper goals. Bill hit a shot and claimed a goal which everyone else knew would have gone over the bar. Anyway, to try and get some support for his view that he had scored he turned to Chris and asked him whether it was a goal or not. Chris said that it wasn’t and would have gone over the bar and Bill had everyone in stitches when he turned round and told anyone who would listen: 'He doesn’t say a word for years and then when he does he tells a lie.'”

Approaching his thirtieth birthday Lawler still retained the fitness and stamina to play in every single one of the 66 competitive games the club played in four different competitions during the 1972/73 season, his reward being further winners' medals in the Championship and UEFA Cup. Lawler underwent a cartilage operation following an injury sustained against QPR in November 1973 and was never the same player after that. Having only played one match in the last five months Bill Shankly still picked him as the 'twelfth man' for the 1974 FA Cup final. Lawler only featured in 17 matches in a season and a half following Bob Paisley's appointment. He moved to Portsmouth in October 1975 who were managed at the time by his former teammate, Ian St John. Lawler was Liverpool's reserve team coach for 4 years until he was let go by Kenny Dalglish in 1986 and replaced by Phil Thompson.

Appearances per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 406 47 27 66 3 549
1962-1963 6 1 0 0 0 7
1963-1964 6 0 0 0 0 6
1964-1965 33 8 0 7 0 48
1965-1966 40 1 0 8 1 50
1966-1967 42 4 0 5 1 52
1967-1968 42 9 2 6 0 59
1968-1969 42 4 3 2 0 51
1969-1970 42 6 2 4 0 54
1970-1971 41 7 3 10 0 61
1971-1972 42 3 3 4 1 53
1972-1973 42 4 8 12 0 66
1973-1974 18 0 3 4 0 25
1974-1975 10 0 3 3 0 16
1975-1976 0 0 0 1 0 1

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
27 Tottenham
25 Leeds United
25 WBA
23 Leicester City
23 West Ham United
22 Chelsea
21 Arsenal
20 Everton
20 Manchester United
20 Stoke City
18 Southampton
18 Burnley
17 Newcastle United
16 Nottingham Forest
16 Manchester City
15 Coventry City
15 Sheffield United
14 Wolves
13 Sunderland
12 Ipswich Town
12 Sheffield Wednesday
10 Derby
9 Fulham
8 Aston Villa
8 Crystal Palace
7 Blackpool
6 Birmingham City
6 Ferencvaros
4 Watford
4 QPR
4 Bayern Munich
4 Bolton Wanderers
4 Huddersfield Town
3 Blackburn Rovers
3 Carlisle United
3 Petrolul Ploiesti
3 Hibernian
3 Cologne
2 Inter Milan
2 Bournemouth
2 Malmo
2 Ajax
2 TSV Munich
2 Anderlecht
2 Stockport County
2 Northampton Town
2 Standard Liege
2 Honved
2 Celtic
2 Athletic Bilbao
2 Mansfield Town
2 Dundalk
2 Vitoria Setubal
2 Frankfurt
2 AEK Athens
2 Dynamo Berlin
2 Red Star Belgrade
2 Servette
2 Gladbach
2 Walsall
2 Swansea City
2 Norwich City
2 Middlesbrough
2 Bristol City
2 Din. Bucharest
2 Dyn. Dresden
2 Jeunesse d'Esch
1 Borussia Dortmund
1 Aldershot
1 Hull City
1 Leyton Orient
1 Swindon Town
1 Oxford United
1 Strømsgodset
1 Doncaster Rovers
1 Wrexham
1 Juventus
Total Started/substitutions
549 Started
3 On the bench
0 Substitute
4 Substituted
Total Competition
406 League
47 FA Cup
27 League Cup
22 European Fairs Cup
16 European Cup
15 European Cup Winners Cup
13 UEFA Cup
3 Charity Shield

Goals per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 41 4 5 11 0 61
1962-1963 0 0 0 0 0 0
1963-1964 0 0 0 0 0 0
1964-1965 2 0 0 0 0 2
1965-1966 5 0 0 4 0 9
1966-1967 4 1 0 1 0 6
1967-1968 3 1 0 0 0 4
1968-1969 3 0 3 1 0 7
1969-1970 10 0 0 1 0 11
1970-1971 3 2 0 1 0 6
1971-1972 6 0 1 1 0 8
1972-1973 3 0 1 0 0 4
1973-1974 2 0 0 2 0 4
1974-1975 0 0 0 0 0 0
1975-1976 0 0 0 0 0 0

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

Total Started/substitutions
61 Started
0 Substitute
Total Competition
41 League
5 European Cup Winners Cup
5 League Cup
4 FA Cup
3 European Fairs Cup
3 European Cup
Total Goal minute period
8 1-15 minutes
11 16-30 minutes
10 31-45 minutes
11 61-75 minutes
13 76-90 minutes
Total Open play/Penalty
61 Open play

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 20.03.1963 WBA Anfield League
50 01.04.1965 Nottingham Forest City Ground League
100 19.03.1966 Everton Goodison Park League
150 25.02.1967 Fulham Craven Cottage League
200 03.02.1968 Everton Goodison Park League
250 07.12.1968 West Ham United Anfield League
300 26.11.1969 Vitoria Setubal Anfield Europe
350 14.11.1970 Coventry City Anfield League
400 18.09.1971 Leeds United Elland Road League
450 09.09.1972 Wolves Anfield League
500 14.04.1973 WBA Anfield League

Milestone Goals

# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 89 05.12.1964 Burnley Turf Moor League
50 74 04.03.1972 Everton Anfield League

Related Articles

Chris Lawler - The Silent Knight

Lawler wasn’t an average footballer at Liverpool, but quite simply the greatest goalscoring defender in the club’s history. Arnie met Chris in Liverpool and the "quiet man" was quite talkative.More

Celebrating the 60's legends!

A commemorative dinner was held recently at Anfield to celebrate Liverpool's 50 years in Europe and winning the FA Cup in 1965. The nucleus of the 1964-65 team was present and we have the photos to prove it!More

The quiet man makes an impression at Liverpool

Chris Lawler was one of Liverpool's most consistent performers.More

Related Quotes

"We [Smith and Chris Lawler] only found out later that a certain gentleman from down the East Lancashire Road has been monitoring our progress in the Central league. Matt Busby, the manager of Manchester United, was still rebuilding after the tragedy of the Munich Air Disaster in 1958. Later Bill Shankly would reveal to me that Busby had offered him £50,000 for the joint services of Messrs Smith and Lawler. The boss wouldn’t let his young prospects go. He had his own agenda and thankfully I was on it."

Tommy Smith

"What a goalscoring full-back. They used to call him the ghost. He could turn up anywhere, unexpected and score vital goals. I think his ratio of games and goals is fantastic for a full-back and will never be beaten."

Ian Callaghan on Chris Lawler

"Tommy and I had an understanding. I’d try and force them inside and then Tommy would sort them out! I’d let him do the tackling. There weren’t many that got the better of us. Best, Charlton, yes, they were good. But we usually had the beating of them."

Chris Lawler on his partnership with Tommy Smith

Other Clubs

Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Portsmouth 1975-1976 England Second Division 26 0 30 0
Miami Toros 1976 NASL 21 1 21 1
Portsmouth 1976-1977 England Third Division 10 0 10 0
Stockport County 1977-1978 England Fourth Division 36 3 40 3
Bangor City 1978-1980 Northern Premier League 0 0 0 0
Total 93 4 101 4
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