THERE is something to admire about a player who loves to put in a tackle. Somebody with a real competitive edge, but some players can overstep the mark and lose their heads.
The Reds have had some feisty characters in the past. The kind of player that wore their heart on their sleeve, left everything out on the pitch and adopted the winning mentality that embodied the club for so many years.
However, we have also seen our fair share of red cards – Steven Gerrard topping the charts with a total of seven reds. Here is a collection of the best – or worst if you’d rather – times Liverpool players have received their marching orders.
Ian St John — vs. Fulham 26.02.1966
Worthy of a fight night promo this one. Motherwell-born Ian St John was on the receiving end of a red card, which looked a much lighter punishment than the knockout blow his opponent was on the end of.
Fulham’s Mark Pearson took exception to a tackle by St John, getting up from the ground and grabbing the Scot by his head. After a bit of pushing and shoving the Liverpool forward through a couple of hooks which sent Pearson sprawling.
The Saint was restrained and then ordered to leave the field, and has since suggested that his temper did tend to get the better of him. Can say that again, Ian.
Kevin Keegan — vs. Leeds 10.08.1974
Another series of punches thrown, this time in a feisty encounter between Liverpool and a Leeds United side with a reputation for bullying and dirty tactics.
Kevin Keegan was at the eye of the storm in this incident after going through the back of Billy Bremner before chasing down and bumping into Johnny Giles, only to be on the receiving end of a big right hand from Giles.
Giles was cautioned but the story didn’t end there. From the resulting freekick Bremner tracked down Keegan and delivered a blow to the kidneys, and a scuffle ensued before both men were removed from the field.
Sander Westerveld — vs. Everton 27.09.1999
Probably the fiercest Merseyside derby of recent times saw a second half of three red cards, the first two of which resulted from a punch up between Sander Westerveld and Francis Jeffers.
After the striker had appeared to have broken through one on one, only to be denied by the offside flag, his momentum sent him bundling into the Dutch ‘keeper. Westerveld, who had already clashed with Jeffers earlier in the match, took exception and pushed the striker before handbags broke out and both were sent off.
This left Steve Staunton to take over between the sticks, with the Reds having used all three substitutions.
Steven Gerrard — vs. Everton 27.09.1999
In the same game, with frustrations running particularly high in the red camp, the ball was nodded on into the path of Kevin Campbell, leaving a 50-50 between himself and Gerrard.
Campbell got there first, managing to nudge the ball away before being almost cut in half by a full-blooded challenge from the Liverpool midfielder.
Nine-man Liverpool would lose the game 1-0, leaving Everton with another massive cup final win to add to their DVD titled “Victories over Liverpool”. Yes, that’s an actual thing.
Javier Mascherano — vs. Man United 23.03.2008
Tenacity is a word that doesn’t do Javier Mascherano justice. Every bit a tenacious midfielder, with the fiery South American personality to match. The first incident, a late challenge on Paul Scholes, was deemed worthy of a yellow and from there he was on a crash course.
On a frustrating afternoon for Rafael Benitez’s side, the Argentinian appeared intent to have a pop at the ref at each opportunity and just moments after Fernando Torres had been booked for dissent, Mascherano was given his second yellow for the same crime.
Despite the best attempts of Xabi Alonso, the current Barcelona man had talked his way into a sending off and reacted badly, having to be escorted off the pitch and calmed down by his manager. Can’t say he ever lacked passion, like.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos — vs. Everton 06.02.2010
The Big Greek is more fondly remembered around Anfield for being the Reds’ plan B striker when pushing for a late goal, due to his stature, but this incident would probably earn him some Scouse points.
Another typically shithouse performance from Marouane Fellaini had already angered Liverpool fans, heightened when Kyrgiakos flew into a challenge on the Belgian two footed, though the replays show that the Everton man had stamped on the defender.
Fellaini was stretchered off while the Greek had to have stitches in the dressing room. The referee – perhaps to even the odds – did send Stephen Pienaar off for a second yellow deep into injury time.
Pepe Reina — vs. Newcastle 01.04.2012
Pepe Reina was a man prone to losing his head, receiving two red cards in his Liverpool career, and was just generally a bit mad. In this case he does have grounds to feel aggrieved.
The Spaniard, clearly looking to launch a quick break, was tripped by James Perch and reacted angrily, looking to square up to the Newcastle man. Perch decided to throw himself to the ground as though he’d been headbutted, all a bit daft from a grown up bloke.
Perch was carded, Reina was sent for an early bath, and it all left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth.
Jonjo Shelvey — vs. Manchester United 23.09.2012
Hard to be a Red and not raise a bit of a smile at this one. A 50-50 challenge between Jonny Evans and Jonjo Shelvey, neither looking to back down with Evans coming off the worse of the two.
Shelvey was shown the red, though replays show either – or both – could’ve easily been sent to the dressing rooms. On his way off the pitch the Liverpool midfielder had a few words for Alex Ferguson.
Calling Fergie a grass. Go ‘ed Jonjo.
Steven Gerrard — vs. Manchester United 22.03.2015
Not one that brings back good memories. Probably frustrated at being left out of the starting lineup for the game, and his reduced minutes in general, Gerrard was introduced at half time, with the Reds just a goal down.
From then it took less than 40 seconds for the captain to be sent straight back down the tunnel. After throwing himself into a challenge on Juan Mata, he was almost on the receiving end of a revenge tackle from Ander Herrera.
Replays appeared to show that Stevie stamped on the Spaniard and he was shown a red card. How else could he finish his last game against them lot?
James Milner — vs. Crystal Palace 06.03.2016
A recent example here and one you may question. Let me explain. This is unlike the other examples in terms of losing his head, but it appeared clear that Jürgen Klopp had asked his side to go out and match the physicality that had been shown by Crystal Palace in the first half.
James Milner had looked to put himself at the forefront of this, the only problem being he had already been booked. As the Reds had began to push forward Palace stole the ball back looking to counter, and Milner brought down Wilfried Zaha.
The important thing to watch out for here is Klopp’s reaction, he doesn’t look disappointed one bit. Not that it was his plan necessarily, but at least he knew the players were listening.
For podcasts on pre-season, Liverpool past and present, transfer gossip, the lowdown on new signings and more, subscribe to TAW Player for just £5 per month. New shows this week include The Pro View, with Neil Mellor and Chris Kirkland, a chat with Steven Gerrard and an exclusive interview with Jürgen Klopp in the USA. Minimum sign-up is just one month. If it’s not for you, all you’ve shelled out is a fiver! More information here
Never listened to an Anfield Wrap podcast? Below is a free clip from our exclusive chat with Jürgen Klopp. Give it a listen.