Which Liverpool Players Have Won a Major International Trophy?

As the dust settles on the domestic football season, there is at least the consolation that this summer will see the action continue on the international stage. Whether it’s the World Cup or the European Championships, it’s always a joy to see Liverpool players strutting their stuff on the international stage – as long as they remain free from injury and are able to report to pre-season training for the Reds in fine health.

Although dozens of Liverpool players have competed in major international tournaments over the years, only a handful have gone on to lift a trophy. To celebrate those plucky few ahead of Euro 2024, here’s a look back at the Liverpool aces that have won the World Cup or the European Championships.

Roger Hunt, Ian Callaghan & Gerry Byrne (England, World Cup ’66)

Hunt & Callaghan
Hunt, left (Eric Koch / Wikipedia.org) & Callaghan, right (Eric Koch / Wikipedia.org)

It’s the greatest moment in English football, from an international perspective, and Liverpool contributed three players to the cause. Roger Hunt was a vital component of England’s success at the World Cup of 1966 – particularly in the group stage, where he netted against Mexico before notching a brace against France. Hunt also played his part as England defeated Argentina in the quarter-finals, Portugal in the semis and, famously, that extra-time victory over Germany in the final – where the Liverpool frontman wheeled away in triumph from Geoff Hurst’s ‘did it or didn’t it cross the line?’ goal.

Ian Callaghan is one of the finest midfield players to ever pull on the red shirt of Liverpool, but he didn’t get much of a look-in during Sir Alf Ramsey’s reign as England manager – he preferred his teams to play without wingers, historically. Callaghan did enjoy a run-out in the group phase victory over France, but only had a watching brief for the final against Germany. Curiously, back in the 1960s only the players that made it into the starting eleven would be given a World Cup winners’ medal – those on the bench would receive diddly squat.

Some 40 years later, a campaign was launched to award retrospective World Cup winners’ medals – finally, Callaghan and Liverpool teammate, Gerry Byrne, were rewarded for their part in England’s success. Although nothing could make up for not being presented with a medal on that famous day at Wembley Stadium, at least FIFA eventually saw sense and Callaghan and Byrne – alongside the likes of Jimmy Greaves and Peter Bonetti – had their day at 10 Downing Street in 2009.

Karl-Heinz Riedle (Germany, World Cup ’90)

Karl Heinz Riedle
Udo Grimberg / Wikipedia.org

Roy Evans signed Karl-Heinz Riedle in 1997 to join his Anfield revolution, although the German striker failed to live up to expectation and only scored eleven goals in 60 appearances for the club. Arguably, his best days were behind him at this point, considering that he’s appeared at the World Cup of 1990 for West Germany and finished top goalscorer at the European Championships in 1992.

One of the reasons that Riedle didn’t get much of a look-in for Liverpool is that he found himself behind an emerging young talent by the name of Michael Owen. But for Germany, it was a striker at the other end of the age spectrum that prevented him from getting on the pitch – Rudi Voller. The final, against Diego Maradona’s Argentina, appeared to be fizzling out into a draw, before Voller was brought down in the box and Andreas Brehme despatched a late penalty winner for the West Germans.

Bernard Diomède (France, World Cup ’98)

Bernard Diomède
Academie-diomede / Wikipedia.org

You’d need to be a Liverpool historian of some repute to remember Bernard Diomède’s career at the club. He played five times for the Reds in the year 2000 – an ill thought-out signing at a time when those were in plentiful supply at Anfield. But Diomède was a highly-respected midfielder in his native France – so much so that he played three times in their World Cup triumph on home soil in 1998.

Surrounded by the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet, Diomède played two group games and the Round of 16 clash with Paraguay during Les Bleus run to a memorable World Cup win in front of their own supporters. After leaving Anfield, Diomède played in barely 50 more games before announcing his shock retirement at the age of 33.

Fernando Torres & Pepe Reina (Spain, World Cup 2010)

Torres and Reina
Torres, left (cristina cifuentes / Wikipedia.org) & Reina, right (Кирилл Венедиктов / Wikipedia.org)

That Spain team of 2008 to 2012 was one of the greatest that football has ever seen – winning two European Championships and a World Cup. Fernando Torres was part of the squad for all three of them, winning the Euros in 2008 – netting the winner in the final against Germany – and the World Cup in 2010 while playing his club football for Liverpool. He was joined in those famous Spanish teams by Pepe Reina, who while unable to usurp Iker Casillas from the starting eleven was still able to take home medals as part of the squad.