Who Wore It Best? is an ongoing series where we'll look back at the players who donned each number during the Premier League era, and then you get to decide who wore it best.
A few things: we're only talking about the Premier League era, starting in 1993, when official squad numbers began in England. In the case of players who wore multiple numbers during their Liverpool careers, you should base your final judgment on their performances while they wore that number (ie Gerrard as number eight vs Gerrard as number 17). In the case of players whose careers with Liverpool began before 1993, it's only fair to consider their whole time with the club when making your decision.
Ah, number four, you are a bit of a palate cleanser after those stinkers at number three.
And we jump right in with a real life Liverpool legend, Steve Nicol, who barely sneaks into the Premier League era, but it counts, ok? This is my series, dammit, and it counts.
Bob Paisley brought the 19-year-old Scottish defender to Liverpool in 1981, but it wasn't until the memorable 1983-84 season under Joe Fagan that Nicol really broke out. Liverpool won treble, taking home the league title, the league cup, and the European Cup in Rome. Nicol missed the first crucial penalty in the European Cup final, but Roma missed two so - math! - the Reds went on to win the cup anyway.
Nicol's main position was right-back, but he could play left-back and in the midfield as well - a truly versatile player, he excelled in defense but also pulled his weight in the attack as well. In 1987, he even scored a hat trick against Newcastle United. In Liverpool's record-setting 9-0 victory over Crystal Palace during the 1989-1990 season, the club's biggest ever league victory, Nicol was the only player who scored twice. He netted both the first and last goals of that game. After 13 seasons with the club, Nicol amassed 468 appearances, along with 46 goals, and retains a place in Liverpool history as a true legend of the team. While he was a Red, he won four league titles, three FA Cup trophies, and one European Cup.
McAteer, the boyhood Red, signed onto the club from Bolton Wanderers at the end of the 1995 summer transfer window. A tireless runner down the right flank, McAteer aided the Robbie Fowler-led Liverpool attack with his crosses into the box. He also had the ability to fill in at right-back in a pinch, a role Evans deployed him in when necessary. He was part of that team that fell to Manchester United at Wembley in the 1996 FA Cup final. He was a mainstay in Evans' Liverpool squad until he unfortunately broke his leg while playing against Blackburn Rovers in January 1998. He left the club once Evans made way for Houllier, picking up well over 100 appearances for the Reds. He finished off the 1998-99 season and then heading to Blackburn.
Rigobert Song, uncle to footballer Alex Song, was the first Cameroonian player to ever come to Anfield. He arrived in January of 1999 from Serie A side Salernitana. Song had an enviable career with his national team, appearing in four World Cup finals and captaining the team to victory in the 2000 African Cup of Nations tournament. His club career was more of a mixed bag, as his short stint at Liverpool proved. He only made 38 appearances which the young defender was skillful but lacked positional discipline and was often caught out by the other team.
Unfortunately, the 40-year-old suffered a stroke last week which saw him fall into a coma for two days. There were terrible internet rumors that he had passed away, but thankfully he has woken from his coma and is recuperating at a hospital in Paris.
Another legendary Liverpool defender to don the number four shirt was the Finnish star Sami Hyypiä. Brought to Liverpool from the Eredivise side Willem II with very litte fanfare, the defender exceeded all expectations to become one of the greatest steals in Liverpool transfer history, costing the club only £2.5 million. He began his ten-year Liverpool career partnering with Stéphane Henchoz in defense. During Houllier's reign with the team, he proved his incredible leadership skills and was briefly made captain in 2002, before stepping down with typical dignity for Steven Gerrard in 2003. Once Henchoz left the club and Rafa Benítez took over for Houllier, Hyypiä found another reliable partnership with fellow Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher. The two men played together for Liverpool's historic fifth European Cup win in Istanbul in 2005. Hyypiä left the club in 2009, after cracking the top 20 in all time Liverpool appearances, but fans will always have a place in their hearts for Big Sami.
Alberto Aquilani is a talented central midfielder who was brought on by Rafa Benítez after the loss of integral midfielder Xabi Alonso. Aquilani came to Liverpool from the Serie A side Roma. While he was very skillful when he did play, unfortunately that happened less than most would have liked due to chronic injuries that saw him miss long stretches. It became clear once Roy Hodgson replaced Benítez at the club that Aquilani was unhappy and longed to return to Italy. In the dark Hodgson days, fans latched onto the Italian as a player who could help reverse the club's fortune if only they could get him to stay. That was not to be, and after several loan spells, first with Juventus and then Milan, before finally making a permanent move away from Anfield to Fiorentina.
There weren't many bright spots during the six months of Roy Hodgson's reign, but Raul Meireles, before his...err...makeover, could legitimately be considered one of them. His transfer from Porto was already in the works before Hodgson arrived at the club. The future England manager clearly didn't know what to do with the central midfielder, often stuck on the right side in Hodgson's rigid 4-4-2 system. When Kenny Dalglish replaced Hodgson, Meireles really began to shine. He got on a hot streak when the team began taking off in January, scoring five goals in six games, including that gorgeous volley against Wolverhampton. His transfer on deadline day in August 2011 came as a surprise to fans, who weren't prepared to see another successful player stolen away by Chelsea.
Nuri Şahin came to Liverpool on loan from Real Madrid during Brendan Rodgers's first season as Liverpool manager. Though the young midfielder hadn't seen much playing time with Madrid, he had been a key component of Borussia Dortmund's league-winning midfield. Hopes were high that he would play a big role in the team that Rodgers was building. Indeed, he did get out to a fast start, netting three goals in his first four games. However, the hot start quickly cooled, due in large part to Rodgers playing him out of position. After a miserable loan spell and only 12 games with the Reds, Şahin returned to future Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp's Dortmund and continued his successful career there.
Kolo Touré arrived at Anfield on a free transfer from Manchester City. The seasoned defender was brought in for his experience in the Premier League and to be a leader in the back line following the retirement of Jamie Carragher, and expected to be the third or fourth choice center-back for Rodgers. However, thanks to constant rash of injuries, Touré found himself having much more influence and playing time than he could have expected when he arrived. The big Ivorian became something of a cult hero at Anfield, winning over fans thanks to his hard work and cheerful personality. In May 2016, Touré reunited with Brendan Rodgers when he signed a one year deal to play to play at Celtic.
There you have it: all of the Liverpool number fours over the last twenty-four seasons. Now, you get to have your say.