Image source: Liverpool fc


Liverpool Football Club, established in 1892, has seen a remarkable journey through English football, adorned with triumphs, challenges, and an array of managers who each left their mark. From the pioneering days of William Edward Barclay and John McKenna to the recent appointment of Arne Slot, the men who have led Liverpool have been instrumental in shaping the club’s rich history. This blog delves into the legacies of these 22 managers, highlighting their contributions and the evolution of the club.

Early Foundations: Barclay and McKenna

Liverpool FC’s inception came after a split from Everton, orchestrated by John Houlding. William Edward Barclay was the first man to take charge, serving as club secretary, a role akin to a first-team manager today. Barclay, together with John McKenna, navigated the club through its formative years. Under their guidance, Liverpool won the Lancashire League title and, following a successful bid to join the Football League in 1893, the Second Division title. McKenna assumed managerial duties for a brief period in 1895-96, ensuring the club’s return to the First Division after an immediate relegation.

The Tom Watson Era

Appointed in 1896, Tom Watson became Liverpool’s longest-serving manager, holding the position for 19 years. Watson’s tenure was transformative; he led The Reds to their first top-flight titles in 1901 and 1906 and secured another Second Division triumph in 1904-05. His innovative approach and successful spell firmly established Liverpool in the league, setting a strong foundation for future successes. Watson’s influence remained until his death in 1915, marking the end of an era.

Interwar Years and Beyond: Patterson, Ashworth, and McQueen

Following Watson’s death, George Patterson took charge temporarily and was officially appointed in 1918. Patterson guided Reds through local wartime competitions during World War I. David Ashworth succeeded him in 1919 and quickly returned Reds to the league’s summit, clinching the title in 1921-22. However, Ashworth’s tenure was unexpectedly cut short when he resigned to join Oldham Athletic in 1923. Matt McQueen then stepped in, initially as a temporary replacement, and remained in charge until 1928. McQueen oversaw Liverpool’s successful title defense in 1923, marking the club’s first consecutive championships.

Stability and Transition: George Kay and Don Welsh

George Kay’s appointment in 1936 marked a period of stability and resilience. Kay navigated Reds through the disruptions of World War II and led the team to a First Division title in 1947, the club’s fifth overall. His leadership during these turbulent times was pivotal in maintaining Liverpool’s competitive edge. Don Welsh took over in 1951, but his tenure saw the club relegated to the Second Division, marking a period of struggle and rebuilding.

The Shankly Revolution

The arrival of Bill Shankly in 1959 revolutionized Liverpool FC. Shankly transformed the club from top to bottom, both on and off the pitch. His tenure saw Liverpool win three First Division titles, two FA Cups, a UEFA Cup, and three Charity Shields. Shankly’s high-energy, pressing style of play, combined with his charismatic leadership, laid the foundations for Reds rise as a footballing superpower. His impact was profound, setting the stage for future successes.

Former Reds manager Bill Shankly: Liverpool fc

Paisley and Fagan: Continued Dominance

Bob Paisley succeeded Shankly in 1974, continuing the legacy of success. Paisley’s era was one of unprecedented dominance, with Reds winning six First Division titles, three European Cups, a second UEFA Cup, three League Cups, a UEFA Super Cup, and six Charity Shields. His tenure solidified Liverpool’s status as a global football powerhouse. Joe Fagan, Paisley’s right-hand man, took over in 1983 and led Reds to a historic treble in his first season, winning the First Division, League Cup, and European Cup.

Dalglish to Souness: Transition and Triumphs

Kenny Dalglish became Liverpool’s first player-manager in 1985, leading the club to three league titles, two FA Cups, and four Charity Shields. His tenure was marked by both success and tragedy, notably the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. Following Dalglish’s resignation in 1991, Graeme Souness took over. Souness’ time was mixed, though he did secure an FA Cup victory in 1992.

Kenny Dalglish: Liverpool fc

Evans, Houllier, and Benitez: Modern Successes

Roy Evans, a member of the famed Boot Room, managed Reds from 1994 to 1998, delivering a League Cup in 1995. Gerard Houllier took charge in 1998, initially as co-manager with Evans. Houllier’s tenure saw Liverpool win a memorable cup treble in 2000-01, including the League Cup, FA Cup, and UEFA Cup. Rafael Benitez succeeded Houllier in 2004, leading Reds to a dramatic Champions League victory in 2005 and an FA Cup triumph in 2006.

Hodgson, Dalglish’s Return, and Rodgers

Roy Hodgson’s brief spell in 2010 was followed by Kenny Dalglish’s return. Dalglish secured another League Cup in 2012 before Brendan Rodgers was appointed. Rodgers came close to securing Liverpool’s first Premier League title in 2013-14, ultimately finishing second.

The Klopp Era: Liverpool FC Modern Golden Age

Jürgen Klopp’s arrival in 2015 marked the beginning of a new golden era for Reds. Klopp’s high-intensity, pressing style rejuvenated the team, leading to numerous successes. Under his guidance, Liverpool won the Champions League in 2019, their first Premier League title in 2020, ending a 30-year wait, and several other major trophies, including the FIFA Club World Cup. Klopp’s nine-year tenure has solidified his legacy as one of Liverpool’s greatest managers.

Image source: Liverpool fc

The Slot Era Begins

In 2024, Arne Slot took over as Liverpool’s manager, following a successful spell at Feyenoord, where he won the Eredivisie title and the KNVB Cup. Slot’s appointment marks a new chapter in Reds history as the club looks forward to the 2024-25 season under his leadership. Slot, the 22nd manager in the club’s history, brings a fresh perspective and a track record of success.


From the early days of Barclay and McKenna to the recent appointment of Arne Slot, Liverpool FC’s history is rich with managerial legacies that have each contributed to the club’s storied success. Each manager, in their own way, has shaped the direction of the club, navigating through triumphs and challenges. As Slot takes the helm, Reds fans can look forward to a new era, hopeful for continued success and glory on both domestic and international stages. The journey of Reds, guided by these 22 managers, stands as a testament to the enduring spirit and resilience of the club, echoing through the annals of football history.

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YNWA (You’ll Never Walk Alone)!
The Liverpool FC Times Team

By Abdulkadir Salim

Abdulkadir Salim Is content writer for Liverpool FC Times

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