There aren’t many gigs in English club football that are as intense and as demanding as the Liverpool manager’s job.
Only Manchester United can boast more top-flight league titles than the Reds (though you probably didn’t need us to remind you of that) with the men from Anfield utterly dominating English football through the 70s and 80s.
As many as nine Liverpool bosses have been crowned champions of England, though surprisingly only 22 men have taken charge of the club since its inception in 1892 – Watford have had that many since the start of last season (probably).
Down the years the club’s hierarchy have clearly been keen to afford their managers time in the job, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at Liverpool’s longest serving managers.
Just sneaking into the top ten is Don Welsh.
Having spent four years with Brighton in his first managerial role, Welsh was handed the reins at Anfield in 1951 where he spent just over five years with the Reds.
Unfortunately, Welsh’s tenure didn’t go as planned and Liverpool were relegated from the top flight for the first time in 50 years, with Welsh sacked following two unsuccessful attempts at securing promotion back to Division One.
Games: 300 and counting
Honours: Champions League, Premier League, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup
Having taken a couple of seasons to mould his Liverpool squad into title contenders, Jurgen Klopp delivered the club’s maiden Premier League crown in just his fourth full season in charge.
The former Borussia Dortmund manager clocked up his 300th game in the Anfield hotseat against Leicester and he’ll no doubt be much higher than his current standing of ninth by the time he departs the club.
*at time of publishing
Honours: Division One (x3), FA Cup (x2), League Cup
Kenny Dalglish enjoyed two spells as Liverpool manager – though ‘enjoyed’ is perhaps the wrong word to describe his second spell in charge.
The Scotsman was tasked with rebuilding the squad after Roy Hodgson’s disastrous five months as manager, and in fairness he laid the foundations for Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp by welcoming Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson to the club.
His original stint as manager sees him placed at number eight in the list, having spent just over five and a half years as Liverpool boss.
The Reds won three top-flight titles under Dalglish, including their final crown prior to the 2019/20 Premier League triumph.
Honours: FA Cup, League Cup (x2), UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup
Liverpool’s quest for their first Premier League title saw them turn to Gerard Houllier in July 1998.
The Frenchman was originally appointed co-manager with Roy Evans – a somewhat awkward arrangement – before being handed full control just four months later.
While the league title may have eluded him, Houllier oversaw a glittering period in the club’s history, including their historic treble win in 2001, which restored the Reds as a European force.
Honours: Champions League, FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup
Another Liverpool manager who came within inches of ending their long wait for the Premier League title.
Rafael Benitez was appointed Reds boss in June 2004 and he spent six years on Merseyside.
In 2009 the Spaniard came within a whisker of finishing top of the league, with Liverpool finishing marginally behind Manchester United having suffered just two league defeats all season.
He departed at the end of the following campaign, though he’ll forever be fondly remembered by Liverpool fans for their side’s miraculous Champions League victory in 2005.
George Patterson spent over eight years as Liverpool boss having taken charge of the club in March 1928.
His first full campaign as manager saw him guide the club to fourth place in Division One – a significant improvement on their previous season’s finish of 16th. However, he was unable to deliver the success the club’s hierarchy craved and he was sacked in August 1936 after failing to better the fourth place finish in any of the following seven seasons.
Honours: European Cup (x3), Division One (x6), League Cup (x3), UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup
You don’t need to be a Liverpool fan to recognise the name Bob Paisley.
Having spent 14 years as assistant manager to Bill Shankly, Paisley was handed the top job in August 1974 and he would spend just short of nine years in charge.
Paisley oversaw an incredible six title triumphs at Anfield and, perhaps even most impressively, guided his side to three European Cups.
He left Anfield in July 1983 with a whopping 20 pieces of major silverware to his name.
Honours: Division One
George Kay was appointed Liverpool boss in August 1936 with the club desperate to end their barren run over 13 years without the league title.
Kay delivered in 1947 as Liverpool secured the first English top-flight title since football’s resumption following World War II.
The closest Kay came to adding further silverware to the 1947 league trophy was when his side reached the 1950 FA Cup final, though they were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal.
Honours: Division One (x3), Division Two, FA Cup (x2), UEFA Cup
Another Liverpool legend.
Bill Shankly spent over 14 and a half years at the helm of Liverpool, winning three top-flight titles, two FA Cups and the 1973 UEFA Cup.
When Shankly took the reins at Anfield, Liverpool found themselves floundering in the second tier and struggling to reclaim their place in the top division. Within three years Shankly had secured promotion and in just their second season back in Division One they were crowned champions of England.
No-one has managed more games for Liverpool.
A true great with the gates to prove it.
Honours: Division One (x2), Second Division
And our winner is… Tom Watson!
Having guided Sunderland to three Division One titles in the 1890s, Tom Watson was appointed Liverpool manager in August 1896 (when Queen Victoria was still on the throne) with the hope he could bring the title to Merseyside – he didn’t disappoint.
Liverpool were twice crowned champions of England in Watson’s time at the club (in 1901 and 1906) and he remains the club’s longest-serving manager… by some distance.
Good luck beating that, Jurgen.