Pepe Reina (Liverpool)
One must feel sorry about the Spanish keeper after all he spent most of his International career deputising under a certain Iker Casillas. However, he was one of the heroes of Liverpool’s famed team under the leadership of Gerrard. Having won the clean sheets award for three consecutive times, Reina’s record is only bettered by Hart and Cech, albeit the latter two have played more games than him.
The 2008/09 season was a heart-breaking one for Reina and Liverpool as they fell agonisingly short of the title.
Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), LedleyKing(Spurs), Marcel Desailly(Chelsea)
Jamie Carragher may have a blunt mouth, but his defending was even more hostile and concrete. A Liverpool loyalist, Carragher amassed 737 caps for Liverpool. A no nonsense defender, Carragher won everything with the club except the League. He was named in the 2005/06 PFA Premier League Team of the Year.
Ledley King wasn’t as flamboyant or famous as Ferdinand or Terry, and spent most of his time away from the spotlight. Recurrent injuries cut short his career, and he was forever a Spurs faithful. King was energetic and mastered the art of marking players.
Marcel Desailly has almost won everything that could be won except the coveted Premier League. He arrived at Chelsea before the Abramovich era, and helped the club win UEFA Super Cup, FA Cup, and Community Shield in his six seasons and was a constant presence with 222 appearances. He had previously won the UCL with Marseille and AC Milan, and the World Cup with France.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Luka Modric (Spurs), Xabi Alonso (Liverpool), Javier Mascherano (Liverpool)
The very first name among the list is always Steven Gerrard. His infamous slip against Chelsea can tear any Liverpool fans’ heart apart. A player for the ages and widely regarded one of the greatest by his peers, Gerrard was capped 504 times and netted 120 times, some of them are still revered. He won the UCL after the historic Miracle of Istanbul, but there was no such miracle with his beloved Premier League.
Luka Modric spent little time with Spurs, but the diminutive midfielder was always a delight. Spending 4 seasons with Spurs he was a constant presence in the midfield and paired excellently with Gareth Bale. He won nothing substantial with Spurs, but his move to Real Madrid turned him to one of the greatest midfielder of the decade.
Gerrard had said his best time came during the 2008/09 season when Liverpool fell short of the title with 86 points, and the team had two other superstars in midfield, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano and also Pepe Reina. Alonso was a box to box player and his diagonal passing abilities meant he could play anywhere in the midfield. He was one of the scorers in the Miracle of Istanbul night.
Mascherano’s greatest time came with Barcelona, but the Argentine developed as a player playing alongside Alonso and Gerrard. His ability to break attacks despite being relatively short, and find the right passes made him an invincible figure. He rarely scored, but his services were more than that.
Fernando Torres (Liverpool), Luis Suarez(Liverpool), Gianfranco Zola (Chelsea)
When many ridicule Torres for his horrid time at Chelsea, many forget the Torres of Liverpool. His goal scoring prowess often created terrors in the heart of defenders and goalkeepers, and even the duo of Ferdinand and Vidic weren’t spared. His 4 seasons at the club coincided with him at the peak of his physical conditions for his country as well. He came 3rd in Ballon D’or in 2008 and was in the FIFPRO XI as well for the season 2008 and 09.
Luis Suarez may have found his best friend and best player in Lionel Messi, but the Uruguyan was all by himself during his Liverpool days. His ability to strike from distance, his bolstering runs, and ability to create goals made him the perfect replacement to Torres. He could not win the league with Liverpool, but he certainly grew into the player revered today.
Long before Abramovich shelled money, Chelsea had little firepower, but great hopes, and there was one certain Gianfranco Zola who made them dream. Diminutive and not the typical forward one would expect Zola was a treat to watch when in flow. He never won the league with Chelsea in his 7 seasons, but was voted the Greatest Chelsea player in 2003.