Wednesday, May 16, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 35: Mark Lawrenson


At number 35 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is one of this club's finest ever central defenders, Mark Lawrenson.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Mark Lawrenson

Years at Liverpool: 1981 to 1988
Position: Defender

Date-of-birth: 2/6/1967
Birthplace: Preston

Signed from: Brighton & Hove Albion (August 1981)

Games: 355
Goals: 18

Honours: First Division Championship (1981/82, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1985/86), European Cup (1984), FA Cup (1986), League Cup (1982, 1983, 1984), Charity Shield (1982), ScreenSport Super Cup (1986)

One of the most elegant central defenders to ever grace Anfield, Mark Lawrenson quite simply oozed class in every department. A club record signing from Brighton just prior to the start of the 1981/82 season, Lawrenson was initially viewed by sceptics as an overpriced luxury in a Liverpool squad that could already boast the sublime defensive talents of Alan Hansen and Phil Thompson. That particular myth however was quickly laid to rest as Lawro helped take the Reds on to an even higher level during the remainder of the success-laden eighties. Tall and graceful, he slotted seamlessly into the all-conquering Liverpool side of the time, although it was as a utility man that he first established himself in the side. The Republic of Ireland international impressed as a left sided full-back and in midfield during his early days at the club but it was at centre-half that he excelled most. Cool under pressure and commanding in the air, Lawrenson had pace to burn and could be relied upon to never mis-time a tackle. Just when an opponent seemed to have run clear, Lawrenson's foot would whip the ball from his path cleanly and incisively. His reading of the game was also immaculate and, alongside Hansen, he went on to form arguably the finest centre-back pairings European football has ever seen. It was his outstanding performance in a FA Cup tie against Newcastle in 1984 that persuaded former Kop king Kevin Keegan to call time on his playing career and no doubt many other opposing strikers felt the same way after failing to get the better of him. Another valuable asset Lawro possessed was his ability to bring the ball out of defence to set up attacks and occasionally he'd even pop up with the odd crucial goal himself. He ended his first season at Anfield by getting his name on the scoresheet in the title-clinching victory over Tottenham, netted in the famous 5-0 derby romp across Stanley Park in November 1982 and scored the only goal of the 1985 European Cup semi-final triumph away to Panathinaikos, to name just three. He was appreciated most though for his immense defensive qualities and it came as a crushing blow when an Achilles injury, suffered in a league match against Wimbledon in 1987, forced him into premature retirement. His departure from the game at the early age of 30 was a tragic loss. Liverpool Football Club has been blessed with many great centre-back's through the years and Mark Lawrenson is right up there with the best of them.

Sold to: Retired (1988)

Claim to fame: Making Kevin Keegan realise it was time to hang up his boots

No comments: