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.
Stats and miscellaneous information come from lfchistory.net, lfcstats.co.uk, and Wikipedia.
or: thank heaven for Steve Finnan
Seasons With Liverpool: 1993-94
Julian Dicks has the distinction of being the last signing ever brought to the club by Graeme Souness, after gaining a reputation as a solid defender with a mean left foot during his time at West Ham. He arrived at the club by way of a swap with former Liverpool left-back David Burrows in September 1993, back when player swaps were still a thing. Though he was a cult hero for the Hammers, he failed to make much of an impact at Anfield. When Roy Evans took over the club, he was unimpressed by Dicks's weight issues and bad attitude, and those combined with the fitness problems that plagued his season saw him sent back to West Ham in 1994, where he finished off the rest of his career.
Seasons With Liverpool: 1994-95 through January 1997
Scales's time at Liverpool is a tale of another reasonably skillful but injury-prone defender not being able to make it at Anfield. He had strong command in the air and was a good header of the ball, but while Evans was initially happy to sign the young defender, Scales only last one and a half seasons before he moved to Spurs. Evans continued his search for a steady and reliable starting center-back, and this time his gaze turned to Norway...
Seasons With Liverpool: January 1997 through 1998-99
Kvarme came to Liverpool after having success in his home country of Norway playing for Rosenborg. His experience with Liverpool is a classic example of a player coming from another country and being completely unprepared for the rigors of the English Premier League. After a good initial debut, Kvarme ended the 1996/97 season as a first choice center-back for Evans. That quickly changed the next season, thanks to poor showings against both Everton and Manchester United, and by mid-autumn he had been dropped from the team. Kvarme stayed at Anfield until 1999, despite never seeing regular football again.
Seasons With Liverpool: 2000-01
On paper, Christian Ziege was the answer to Houllier's left-back problems. He had over 70 caps for Germany, and he'd helped Bayern Munich to two league titles and AC Milan to one. His arrival in 2000 from Middlesbrough began in controversy when Liverpool were charged with tapping up the defender and fined £20,000 by the FA. Seems like quite a lot of trouble for a player that only lasted one season. Granted, since it was the treble season, he walked away from Anfield with three more medals for his collection, so I guess he got the last laugh. In 2001, he was transferred to Tottenham, and Liverpool's eternal struggle for a quality left-back continued.
Seasons With Liverpool: January 2002 through 2003-04
And you guys were complaining about Messi's new hair color? Yeesh.
Abel Xavier was one of several players to "cross the Park", coming to Anfield from Goodison in January 2002. He remains the only player to have played on both sides of the Merseyside derby in a single season. Despite that fun fact, Xavier's transfer wasn't exactly on par with Luis Figo to Real Madrid, and his short stint at Liverpool ended with a whimper, as he got loaned out to Galatasaray the following January. He managed to score a goal in his debut for the team, but that was the high water mark. He made 21 appearances with the club before he being sent to Turkey.
Guys, look up. You just read over 700 words. I just wrote those 700 words. Seven. Hundred. Words. And we haven't even gotten to Jose Enrique yet, heaven help us.
Nation: Republic of Ireland
Seasons With Liverpool: 2003-04 through 2007-08
Oh finally. Bless you, Steve Finnan.
Finnan came to Liverpool in the last year of Houllier's reign, but it was with Rafa Benítez that the right-back really shone. In Benítez's first few seasons, he established himself as the first choice fullback, earning plenty of praise and becoming a reliable mainstay in Liverpool's back line. With Liverpool, Finnan won the FA Cup final in 2006. He also won the Champion's League in 2005, though, as he cheerfully admits, his biggest contribution to that famous final in Istanbul was picking up a thigh injury that required he be substituted at halftime by Didi Hamann, a switch that changed the whole dynamic of that game. In 2007, Finnan saw his appearances limited once Benítez brought in the excellent Arbeloa to play in his position. Far and away Liverpool's best number three in the Premier League era -- at least until recently -- Steve Finnan was a versatile and technically-gifted defender who served the team well until he moved onto Espanyol in 2008.
All right! That was good, writing about Finnan. Love a consistent, hard-working fullback. Getting through this post was tough for a while there, I won't lie, but I'm back into it again. Yes! Okay! So who's next? I'm ready for any--
Seasons With Liverpool: 2010-11
Paul Konchesky is the player that represents Roy Hodgson's entire disastrous six month reign at Anfield. That may be unfair, but it is what it is. Hodgson brought the right-back with him from Fulham and insisted on playing him far after Konchesky proved he wasn't up to the task. He was never good enough to wear the crest. His mum didn't like us. King Kenny not-so-kindly booted him out the door. Good riddance. The end.
Seasons With Liverpool: 2011-12 through 2015-16
Jose Enrique began his Liverpool career brightly, appearing to be one of the best signings of Kenny Dalglish's summer transfer window. He had speed and an eye for a cross, especially to the feet of Liverpool's star striker, Luis Suarez. But before long the shine wore off, and it was soon apparent that Liverpool hadn't solved their left-back puzzle, but only got another stopgap along the way. By 2013, after two years of lackluster performances and constant injuries, the best thing about Enrique was his Instagram, where he posted videos of himself playing FIFA and pictures of him and his partner on various vacations. He was released from his contract in July 2016, but hasn't let being without a club keep him from staying in peak physical condition.
Seasons With Liverpool: 2013-14 - current
Mamadou Sakho's first season in the number three shirt, which he inherited from the departing Enrique, has gotten off to an inauspicious start. After thankfully being cleared of doping allegations, Sakho then picked up yet another injury that will see him miss the start of the 2016-17 season. This news was followed by Klopp sending him home from Liverpool's pre-season American tour because of his irresponsible behavior. However, Sakho's considerable talent can't be denied, and a strong case can be made for him being the best current center-back at the club.
There you have it: all of the Liverpool number threes over the last twenty-four seasons. Now, you get to have your say.