With Milner Set to Leave, Who Takes on The Famous Number 7 Shirt…

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It has been all but confirmed this week, that James Milner will be heading to Brighton at the end of the current campaign. As a 37-year-old that has played 225 games for Liverpool, he clearly has ambitions to play on for as long as possible. With 852 career games (of which 615 have come in the Premier League) and 54’865 minutes played, it seems as though we will be welcoming Jimmy back to Anfield next season, with a huge ovation almost a certainty. With his departure, it opens up an enthralling opportunity to hand over the number 7 shirt, which a good few candidates probably eager to take it on.

After arriving at Anfield in 2015 (from Manchester City), it was seen as a smart piece of business by former manager, Brendan Rodgers, to sign the experienced James Milner. With a brief (yet tremendous) period of football (due to Luis Suárez) in the notorious second placed season of 2013-14, the very next campaign saw them finish in 6th position in the league. That drop-off season was a year where Luis’ number 7 shirt was not reassigned, given the importance of its place in Liverpool’s history. Once Milner had arrived on a Bosman free transfer, he was immediately given that famous squad number, which will now become vacant once more.

Below is a list of the players that have worn the famous shirt. Where the years sometimes coincide, this is due to squad members operating without assigned squad numbers until 1993.

Berry Nieuwenhuys (1933 – 1934)

Jimmy Payne (1948 – 1956)

Billy Liddell (1949 – 1958)

Don Woan (1950 – 1951)

Brian Jackson (1951 – 1958)

Laurie Hughes (1952 – 1953)

Barry Wilkinson (1954 – 1955)

Alan Arnell (1954 – 1958)

Eric Anderson (1955 – 1957)

Tony McNamara (1957 – 1958)

Louis Bimpson (1957 – 1958)

Bobby Murdoch (1958 – 1959)

Johnny Morrissey (1958 – 1960)

Fred Morris (1958 – 1960)

Jimmy Melia (1959 – 1960)

Kevin Lewis (1960 – 1963)

Ian Callaghan (1961 – 1971)

Gordan Wallace (1964 – 1965)

Bobby Graham (1964 – 1965)

Gordan Milne (1966 – 1967)

Alf Arrowsmith (1966 – 1967)

Bobby Graham (1966 – 1967)

Peter Thompson (1969 – 1972)

Brian Hall (1970 – 1972)

John McLaughlin (1970 – 1971)

Phil Boersma (1970 – 1973)

Ian Ross (1970 – 1972)

Steve Arnold (1970 – 1971)

Bobby Graham (1970 – 1971)

Kevin Keegan (1971 – 1977)

Phil Boersma (1974 – 1975)

Jimmy Case (1975 – 1977)

Ian Callaghan (1976 – 1977)

David Johnson (1976 – 1977)

Terry McDermott (1976 – 1977)

Sir Kenny Dalglish (1977 – 1987)

Jimmy Case (1980 – 1981)

Ian Rush (1980 – 1981)

Steve Heighway (1980 – 1981)

Howard Gayle (1980 – 1981)

David Hodgson (1982 – 1984)

Craig Johnston (1983 – 1984)

Michael Robinson (1983 – 1985)

Jan Mölby (1984 – 1985)

Paul Walsh (1984 – 1988)

Sammy Lee (1984 – 1985)

Craig Johnston (1985 – 1986)

John Wark (1985 – 1987)

Gary Gillespie (1985 – 1986)

Steve McMahon (1986 – 1987)

Kevin MacDonald (1986 – 1987)

Barry Venison (1986 – 1987)

Nigel Spackman (1986 – 1987)

Gary Ablett (1986 – 1987)

John Aldridge (1986 – 1987)

Craig Johnston (1987 – 1988)

Jan Mölby (1987 – 1988)

Peter Beardsley (1987 – 1981)

Ray Houghton (1988 – 1990)

Alex Watson (1988 – 1989)

Jan Mölby (1989 – 1991)

Barry Venison (1989 – 1990)

Gary Ablett (1989 – 1991)

Steve Staunton (1989 – 1991)

Nicky Tanner (1989 – 1990)

Gary Gillespie (1990 – 1991)

Jimmy Carter (1990 – 1991)

David Speedie (1990 – 1991)

Ronny Rosenthal (1990 – 1993)

Mike Marsh (1990 – 1993)

Jamie Redknapp (1991 – 1992)

Dean Saunders (1991 – 1993)

Mark Walters (1991 – 1993)

Steve McManaman (1991 – 1993)

Paul Stewart (1992 – 1993)

Steve Harkness (1992 – 1993)

Nigel Clough (1993 – 1996)

Steve McManaman (1995 – 1999)

Vladimir Smicer (1999 – 2003)

Harry Kewell (2003 – 2008)

Robbie Keane (2008 – 2009)

Luis Suárez (2011 – 2014)

James Milner (2015 – 2023

That is an amazing list of names. Such a list of historical figures within the pages of Liverpool’s existence, and can resonate with multiple generations. My first memory of the fabled shirt would have been of King Kenny, though my true idol (through my teenage years) was undoubtedly Steve McManaman. I will always see the jersey as a symbol that deserves a magical owner, one that can both excite and amaze the support. With that, I will now look at four potential candidates to take ownership of the number 7 shirt.

Trent Alexander Arnold 

Current Squad Number – 66

He is becoming a hybrid between the midfield and defence, with a desire to continually impact our attacking patterns of play. With a skill-set and recent history that places among the elite of world football, I would love to see this 24-year-old take on such a celebrated jersey.

Verdict – It’s a yes from me.

Thiago Alcântara

Current Squad Number – 6

I hope he stays, as I feel his importance in transition could be vital. We have ravaged this man so far this season, which should not be the case next term. We have to use his ability accordingly, which means not having him as the most physical member of our midfield group. The nostalgia of this shirt would sit very well with this Spanish master, who would wear the number with pride.

Verdict – He would be a wonderful addition to the list of number 7’s.

Luis Díaz

Current Squad Number – 23

The maverick South American is perhaps the most likely to take ownership of the shirt, with his dazzling and lung-busting rampages. With so much emphasis on his influential style, he could become the perfect throwback to the days of Steve McManaman.

Verdict – He would certainly bring excitement back to the shirt.

Cody Gakpo

Current Squad Number – 18

The outside hope, that will probably have to wait for a more illustrious shirt. His impact (so far) has been unbelievable, with a place in the team’s starting eleven becoming more assured with every performance.

Verdict – Probably takes the number 10 at some point.

My wish would be to see Trent take on the shirt, as well as the captain’s armband. I feel that this next phase should be about who we want to be and who can help take us there. Therefore, our local hero would be my overwhelming pick to be Liverpool’s new number 7.

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1 COMMENT

  1. With Bobby and Keita both also leaving at the end of the season that means, 7, 8, 9 & 10 will all be free. I see no reason for Thiago to change from 6 to 7 (or any of the other free numbers); 6 is perfectly suitable for him.
    9 & 10 will probably be assigned to Gakpo and Nunez respectively.
    7 would probably be suitable for Diaz, though the #23 is also a decent number having been worn by the likes of Carragher and Fowler.
    #8 seems like the next logical step for Trent, should he step permanently into midfield. I believe he would have spent more time there this season had Ramsey not been out injured for the majority.
    With all that said, any of these numbers could easily be assigned to a newcomer.

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