Not many relationships in football are as enduring as Liverpool’s love affair with European football.
Manchester United might have their ’20 times’, but Liverpool have Rome twice, Wembley, Paris, Madrid, and, in the most dramatic circumstances of them all, Istanbul. Try knocking them off that perch!
Unsurprisingly, quite a few players have contributed towards this glittering European pedigree, and when it comes specifically to the modern Champions League the Reds might have one of the most eclectic, even bizarre lists of goalscorers – the only list, in fact, where Steven Gerrard can be found rubbing shoulders with the great Jari Litmanen and forgettable faces like David N’Gog.
Without further ado, here are the Reds’ top goalscorers in the Champions League era…
Not a regular scorer of Champions League goals, but so important for Liverpool nevertheless.
Henderson opened his UCL account in 2014 against Ludogorets, though the strike against AC Milan in 2021 is comfortably the better of the two.
Central midfield, on the wing, left back – wherever you play him, you’ll always get a 7/10 from James Milner. Or at least that’s how the cliche goes.
More of a work horse than a clinical midfielder, the former England international has just two UCL goals for Liverpool, both coming as penalties in the 2018/19 group stage games against Paris Saint-Germain.
Never the most prolific at Liverpool but definitely one of their modern greats, Alonso broke hearts across Merseyside when he left for Real Madrid in 2009.
However, his penalty rebound in 2005’s classic final against AC Milan brought the score to 3-3 before…well, you know the rest.
One of the most prolific goalscoring defenders in the world, the only surprise here is that the man who changed everything for Liverpool isn’t higher up on this list.
Van Dijk currently has two Champions League goals for the Reds.
In a world where life was fair, Sturridge would be right at the top of this list having had a long and healthy career.
As it is, he was released by Liverpool three days after their last European triumph – at least he got to keep the winner’s medal.
One of the most legendary marksmen in Liverpool’s history, a man who practically breathed goals…only got off the mark for the Reds in the Champions League in 2008 during his second spell at the club?
In fairness, it probably has something to do with Liverpool mainly playing in the UEFA Cup when Fowler was in his prime.
Laugh all you like, but it’s easy to forget that without the heroics of the young Frenchman and Neil Mellor, Gerrard wouldn’t have had a comeback to complete against Olympiacos in the first place in 2005.
Yeah, keep laughing. Alright, stop it now. Really? Really? You’re still going? Whatever. Let’s move on.
N’Gog’s career since leaving Liverpool is quite something – you very rarely see Ross County sandwiched between Panionios and Budapest Honved.
However, N’Gog has his own slice of European history for the Reds after scoring against PSV Eindhoven and Debrecen.
The boyhood Liverpool (and Celtic and Spurs and LA Galaxy) fan lasted half a season in Merseyside before deciding he shouldn’t have bothered leaving White Hart Lane in the first place.
Keane still managed to fit in a couple of group stage goals in Europe.
Riise was another Champions League winner who possessed a jackhammer of a left foot.
Unfortunately the moment that he is best remembered for in Europe involves a very angry Welshman hitting him repeatedly with a golf club.
Murphy’s area of expertise was arguably Europe’s second-tier competition.
After winning the UEFA Cup with Liverpool in 2001, he came agonisingly close to doing so with Fulham in what would have been a pretty unique achievement.
Smicer never quite became the Steve McManaman replacement that Liverpool fans were looking for.
But given the part that his outside of the box effort played a part in dragging the Reds back into the 2005 final, they probably don’t mind.
Liverpool’s 2005 squad was incredibly weird, and you wonder if they’d even manage to crack the top ten in the current Premier League.
Baros was Liverpool’s joint top-scorer in all competitions that season with – wait for it – 13 goals, and yet they still managed to beat Europe’s best and brightest.
Overrated? Underrated? Flop? The missing piece to Liverpool’s midfield?
We may never know with Keita, but what we can tell you is that he has scored against both Porto and Leipzig in European football.
His decent goalscoring returns in England were invariably less spectacular than his unique fashion choices.
However, Cisse deserves credit for coming back from a fractured tibia to score one of Liverpool’s penalties in the 2005 final.
Litmanen’s body was basically falling apart at this point, and his relationship with Gerard Houllier wasn’t too great either.
To his credit, three Champions League goals in his second season at Anfield is surely proof of his greatness.
One of many Liverpool greats that you’d have loved to have seen in the current side, Hyypia wasn’t just a beacon of calm at the back for the Redmen, but had an eye for goal himself.
His volley against Juventus in the 2005 quarter-final was a vital part of Liverpool’s journey to Istanbul.
Where do we start with this man?
Origi has scored some of Liverpool’s most iconic goals in the Champions League, and yet he’s still in single figures. He doesn’t make any sense, but Liverpool fans don’t care.
Today’s kids will never remember, but before the existence of YouTube and those stepovers against Algeria, Heskey was a very highly regarded target man.
He was responsible for one of Liverpool’s great European goals, dumping Roma out of Europe with a thumping header.
We’re often told that Wijnaldum does the things you don’t see on the pitch, but in vital moments for Liverpool he was very often the man in the spotlight.
He netted in the topsy-turvy semi-final against Roma in 2018, scored twice against Barcelona the year after, and came close to rescuing Liverpool’s bonkers tie against Atletico Madrid in 2020.
While the guy’s knees are undoubtedly made of porridge, when he’s been fit and firing he’s been a real asset for Liverpool. Remember when the Reds comprehensively blew Man City away in the 2018 quarter final first leg?
Oxlade-Chamberlain was front and centre of the carnage, scoring one of the great Champions League goals in the process.
Jota wasted little time making his presence felt in the Champions League with his new side in 2020/21.
Having previously played in the competition for Porto, the Portugal international returned with a bang, first netting against Midtjylland before scoring a hat trick at Atalanta.
This man would have enjoyed quite the sigh of relief after Kingsley Coman got on the end of Joshua Kimmich’s cross in Lisbon in 2020’s final, because up to that point it looked as if he’d chucked his best ever chance of a Champions League winner’s medal away.
And yet, it was his sale which facilitated the Liverpool rebuild before their 2019 victory in Madrid, so in a way…he was always a winner.
If you were compiling a list of the Premier League’s all-time greats, you’d spend at least six hours in conversation before landing on Benayoun.
And yet the clutch midfielder has seemingly popped up in half of the big games of the 2000s, not least in a smash-and-grab win at the Bernabeu for Liverpool in 2009.
Like Fowler, Owen just missed the boat for the return of Liverpool’s European glory days.
To make matters worse, after refusing to take part in Liverpool’s 2004/05 campaign to avoid getting cup tied before a move to Real Madrid, Owen ended up watching the Reds win the whole thing, with that particular trophy missing from his repertoire.
Yes, that Ryan Babel.
Things weren’t ideal for him in Merseyside but a guy who still turns out for the Netherlands is always going to be handier than the headlines suggest, and he was a useful figure in Liverpool’s run to the 2008 semis.
Liverpool weren’t quite the European juggernaut that they are now towards the back end of the 2000s, but they were still a force to be reckoned with, especially with this man up top.
From Inter to Arsenal, a host of mighty opponents were toppled by Torres’ brilliance before he left for pastures new, but ironically the one opponent that he could never quite master was his future club Chelsea.
Though he was mainly known for doing lots of running around and scoring from about two yards out, Kuyt’s European credentials are pretty damn good, and he has the privilege of being in an exclusive group of Liverpool players to have scored in a European final.
The goal in question, in Liverpool’s losing effort against AC Milan, is vintage Kuyt, a scrappy flick-on from a corner that only a mother could love.
As Spurs fans will tell you, it wasn’t always pretty with Crouchy, but when the floodlights came on and the Handel started playing, he turned into a different animal.
Just like Benayoun and Babel, his tally has been conspicuously inflated by being involved in an 8-0 dismantling of Besiktas – but they all count.
Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Jerzy Dudek are the men who will forever be credited with Liverpool’s fifth Champions League trophy, but Luis Garcia laid the best teams in Europe to waste in the knockout rounds.
His hat trick against Bayer Leverkusen was pretty good, and his dipping half-volley against Juventus was even better, but he saved his best magic trick for Chelsea, scoring a goal where the ball quite possibly never even crossed the line. You can argue about the validity of his ‘ghost goal’ all you like, but he deserves all the credit in the world for celebrating so well that the referee almost didn’t have a choice.
Yeah, he doesn’t score goals anymore, blah blah blah…
The Brazilian will still go down as one of the most important players as Liverpool reached back-to-back finals, with the man with the shiniest teeth in football radiant throughout the 2017/18 campaign in particular.
Ahead of Bobby is his colleague in one of the all-time most destructive front threes, and just like the former Hoffenheim man, Mane’s fingerprints are all over some of Liverpool’s most glorious nights.
You can’t really argue against that turn and off-balance chip against Manuel Neuer as the pick of the bunch, while he does of course have the honour of a Champions League final goal to his name.
For a long time, Gerrard’s record as Liverpool’s top scorer in the Champions League looked untouchable. He was, after all, their clutch king on the most magical nights at Anfield
In a very different time when he was carrying the likes of Baros and Igor Biscan and when Liverpool had to scrap for every knockout victory, the local hero came up time and time again. He’s since been surpassed at the top of this particular tree, but Gerrard’s record remains a testament to one of Europe’s great one-man shows.
In 2017/18 during his debut Liverpool season, everything Mohamed Salah touched turned to gold. Scoring ten goals, it remains his best return in the Champions League for a season, but his appearance in the final was cut short due to injury.
However, he came back stronger a year later to dispatch a penalty early on in the final against Tottenham and has continued to score with regularity on the continent, if not quite matching the ridiculous pace he set in his first season.