Ask any Liverpool fan about the most iconic Anfield jerseys and the response is likely to be the no.7, 8, 9 or even the no.10 shirts.
However, just behind that group is the no.6 shirt and a huge name will now sport it in Thiago Alcantara.
Thiago completed his move to Liverpool on Friday
Thiago will wear the no.6 jersey that he sported in his seven years at Bayern Munich
After months of rumours, the Reds finally got their man, who joins from Bayern Munich for an initial £20million fee plus a further £5m in add-ons.
Most are confident Thiago will bolster Liverpool’s midfield which has arguably lacked a certain panache in recent years, apart from former Red Didi Hamann.
But pressure will also come regarding the jersey the 30-year-old will wear at Anfield.
Didi Hamann plays down Thiago to Liverpool deal and warns there’s no guarantee he’ll be a success at Anfield
You have to go all the way back to Liverpool’s glory days in the 1970s and 1980s to find the club’s best no.6s.
Emlyn Hughes first donned the shirt in the 1967/68 season and really made it his own as Liverpool became a force under Bill Shankly and then with Bob Paisley. ‘Crazy Horse’ was the Reds’ main no.6 until he left the club in 1979.
The jersey was then shared by a variety of players, including Phil Thompson, Jimmy Case, Mark Lawrenson and Ronnie Whelan. However, all these stars who did well at Liverpool are better known for wearing other numbers on their back.
Alan Hansen made it his own in 1981. The Scot was a brilliant defender but was a player ahead of his time due to his impressive skills and passing ability – something Thiago possesses in abundance.
Hughes was a great no.6 for Liverpool and captained them for, you guessed it, SIX years (1973-79)
Hansen only captained Liverpool for three years (1985-88) but won 17 major trophies at Anfield
Hansen retired in 1991 and the rest of the decade saw Liverpool players largely struggle to take over from the classy defender. Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock even wore it during the ‘Spice Boys’ era.
It wasn’t until 2004, when John Arne Riise was given the shirt, that the no.6 jersey was given some stability.
To put Riise in the same bracket as Hughes and Hansen wouldn’t be right, but the Norwegian was well loved by the Kopites with his cannon of a left foot – THAT free-kick against Manchester United in November 2001 is still talked about by fans today. He was also part of that fairly average Liverpool side that won the 2005 Champions League.
Since then, no one has really made their mark on Liverpool no.6 history – although the previous incumbent, Dejan Lovren, has helped Liverpool win the Champions League and Premier League.
Lovren ended his Liverpool career on a high but there were plenty of difficult days for the club’s last No.6
After Riise, the club lost its way with having a top occupant of the jersey – the likes of Luis Alberto, Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena did nothing of note in their time at Liverpool.
The days of a classy No.6 at Liverpool are well and truly back.
Thiago is expected to bring huge success to Liverpool over the next four years of his contract
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