Liverpool Lore: 'King Kevin'; A look back at the great Kevin Keegan

  • Keegan is widely considered one of the best players ever.
  • His time at Liverpool was one of his most successful of his career.   
  • He is one of the original Liverpool greats.
Kevin Keegan of Liverpool and Dave Clement of Queens Park Rangers
Kevin Keegan of Liverpool and Dave Clement of Queens Park Rangers / Don Morley/GettyImages

It's Friday, which means we are back with another edition of "Liverpool Lore". The focus of this week's deep dive is a Liverpool original. One of the first truly great players in Red. I am of course talking about the one and only Kevin Keegan.

His time at Liverpool helped catapult him to superstardom in the footballing world and he took his chances and ran with them.

Take a trip back in time with me to see how Keegan made himself into 'King Kev'.

The beginning and getting signed by Shankly

In the spring of 1971, Bill Shankly was looking for an injection of youth and energy into his Liverpool side. The Reds were stuttering and needed a jolt to rise from the doldrums.

So, in response, Shankly signed off on bringing in a 20-year old from 4th tier side Scunthorpe for £33,000. Oh, what a time when you could sign a future club legend for such a fee.

Keegan was given little chance to settle as Shankly threw him to the deep end and boy did Keegan swim. He scored 12 minutes into his Reds debut in the League opening fixture against Nottingham Forest. 2 goals from the next four matches meant he was in the team for good.

Despite no trophies from his debut season at Anfield, Keegan had more than justified his jump from the 4th division to the top of English football. He was a star in the making and would soon blossom.

It was heading into his second full season at the club when things would truly kick off for himself and the team around him.

Silverware, goals, silverware and more goals

The 1972-73 season for Liverpool saw them battling Leeds United for the English First Division crown. They were locked in a titanic title race when the two sides met on Easter Monday. Goals from Keegan and Peter Cormack would secure the crucial win for Liverpool who would go on to capture the League title.

The Reds would also capture the UEFA Cup that season 3-2 on aggregate powered by two more Keegan goals as his reputation for big goals continued. This was Liverpool's first European triumph.

Keegan would finish the 1972-73 season with an astonishing 22 goals and 20 assists across all comps. He was the true talisman for Liverpool.

He played every single one of the 61 matches for the Reds the following season as he inspired them to an FA Cup triumph with a stunning goal in the semifinal before he bagged a brace in the Final.

Kevin Keegan - Soccer Manager
Kevin Keegan In The FA Cup Final / Robert Stiggins/GettyImages

An early season suspension for Keegan in 1974-75 meant that Liverpool were without their star man until October. This would prove costly as the Reds were just pipped to the league title by Derby County.

However. the next two years would be where the rocket ship really took off for Keegan and Liverpool.

1975-76 saw 'Mighty Mouse' produce 35 G/A in his 57 appearances as Liverpool repeated the League/UEFA Cup double. He scored in both legs of the UEFA Cup Final against Club Brugge as he once again reaffirmed his affinity for scoring in the big games.

Controversial departure, but a historic final season

In an abrupt deviation from the norm at the time, Keegan informed the club and footballing world that 1976-77 would be his final season with Liverpool as he was going to West Germany.

However, he made sure that final season with Liverpool was another magical one. He was the Reds leading scorer in the league while also scoring vital goals in the cups once again. Liverpool secured the league title with ease and reached the FA Cup Final where they would fall to Manchester United.

However, in yet another European Cup Final, he played about as good a game as you can without scoring a goal. He made a mesmerizing run from well away from goal to win a penalty that would be converted by Phil Neal to ice the 3-1 victory.

Keegan would then depart Liverpool in what many would consider his prime for a British record fee at the time of £500,000.

He would have great success in Germany and upon his return to England with Southampton and Newcastle. However, it was his time in Liverpool Red that he will be most fondly remembered.

The first true player superstar at Liverpool, making famous No. 7

His career arc with Liverpool was a nonstop rising trajectory as he built year after year to make himself one of the world's very best.

His sensational dribbling skills, along with a surprising aerial prowess made him a threat at all times. His ability to read the game and put himself or others in the right spot surely raised the levels of those around him.

He is a player that could have thrived in any generation. He is one of the earliest Liverpool legends and it was more than well-earned. Because of him, the No. 7 shirt at Liverpool is an iconic one.