Review of Liverpool FC The Greatest Goals

By Zarif Rasul

Published by Carlton Books

The problem with “The Greatest” football books is that they divide opinion. It is after all usually only one man’s opinion, whether it be about matches, players or, as in this case, goals. Plus such books invariably only look at modern times. For a club like Liverpool that has existed for over one hundred and twenty years it is inevitable that many great goals were scored by men wearing the club’s colours before the First World War and also between the two World Wars. But few want to read about that sort of thing so long afterwards. So it is quite understandable that Zarif Rasul restricts his personal selection to matches which took place after the Second World War; and all but two of them took place in or after 1964 in what it is fair to call “the television age”. Having said that grainy footage does exist of the famous “goal in the snow” scored by Albert Stubbins at Anfield in March 1947 although sadly we can only rely on the written word to conjure up an image of the first senior Liverpool goals scored by Billy Liddell against Chelsea, also at Anfield, nearly six months earlier.

Goals are often remembered for their importance and that is sometimes what makes them great and puts them ahead of better team goals or better individual goals. Fourteen of Zarif’s fifty goals were scored in cup finals, all cup finals won by Liverpool with the exception of Jimmy Case’s stunning equaliser against Manchester United at Wembley in 1977 which, even if taken on its own, deserved to be a winning goal much, much more than the scruffy, deflected effort that was eventually credited to Jimmy Greenhoff.

The controversy will come about goals which have been left out and I suspect that the selector is ready for that and will be able to defend, for example, why Ian St. John’s Wembley goal against Leeds in 1965 is in but Roger Hunt’s is not or why Roger’s only goal in this book is the first one ever seen on the BBC’s iconic “Match of the Day” programme in 1964 when he certainly scored better or more memorable goals on other occasions both earlier and later. But it is somewhat churlish to be negative about certain goals which have been left out when the quality of the goals which have been included is so strong. Seven players (Keegan, Fairclough, Dalglish, McDermott, Souness, Torres and Suarez) have two goals selected but only Rush, Gerrard and Fowler (first, fifth and sixth in the club’s all-time scoring list) find their name against a goal three times here. So those ten men take care of nearly 50% of all the goals covered in this book. Every goal or a celebration after it is pictured but exceptional pieces of descriptive writing, faultless when it comes to accuracy, prove that Mister Rasul has not only watched film of each goal many times to enable him to describe them so evocatively but he has also certainly read other journalists’ words too to enable him to create his own unique take on a goal, what it meant in the context of a match and how it was executed.

Nearly all these goals will be familiar to any Liverpool supporter with a decent knowledge of the club’s past. For those that are less well-informed this delightful little book will open the door to some of the most memorable matches in the club’s history and some of the most iconic players in that history whose craft, cunning and execution when it came to putting the ball in the net quite literally caused spectators to jump to their feet. There isn’t really a story to be told here in the conventional sense. This is no novel but there are fifty different stories aided by pictures with text added by a man at the very top of his journalistic game. Maybe it is more of a stocking-filler than a serious read but this book would make a great addition to any LFC bibliography.

Click here to buy Liverpool FC: The Greatest Goals

Copyright - - written by Chris Wood ([email protected]).

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