04 June 2012
Liverpool FC and the English National Team
• England have qualified for 21 of the 30 World Cups (13 of 16) and European Championships (8 of 14) held since 1950. Liverpool had at least once player in 19 of the 21 England squads. On average, Liverpool have had 1.92 players involved in an England World Cup squad and 3.5 in a Euros squad.
• One of those two tournaments where Liverpool had no players in the England squad was the 1954 World Cup, which took place just after the last time Liverpool were relegated. The other was the 1986 World Cup. In contrast to 1954, Liverpool won the league prior to that tournament. To be fair, Steve McMahon (first cap in 1988), Sammy Lee (last cap in 1984), and Paul Walsh (last cap in 1984) were the only English internationals at the club then (both Alan Kennedy and Phil Neal left Liverpool during the '85-86 season).
• I can't help but think Hodgson's taking so many Liverpool players as a form of punishment. With Kelly added to the England squad on Sunday due to Cahill's fractured jaw, the 2012 Euros squad equals the record for most Liverpool players in an England squad, set in the 1980 European Championships. Just as in 1980, no club has more in the English squad. Granted, Liverpool won the 1979-80 league championship while finishing 8th this season, so that probably doesn't bode well for the Three Lions. If you're wondering, England finished third in its group in the eight-team 1980 Euros, behind Belgium and Italy (but ahead of Spain!). All six Liverpool players featured in the first match, a 1-1 draw against Belgium, but only Phil Thompson played in all three matches.
• Liverpool have been the best-represented club six times: joint-top four times (2006 with Chelsea, 2000 with Manchester United, 1982 with Ipswich and Manchester United, and 1966 with West Ham and Manchester United), and with the outright most England players in the 1980 and 2012 Euros.
• Technically, England's 1982 World Cup campaign ended at the Second Group Stage, with 12 sides remaining, rather than the quarterfinals, finishing second in their three-team group behind West Germany. But I really didn't want to create a "Second Group Stage" category for just that tournament.
(ht Inter Leaning for the photo, from the 1966 World Cup Final)