On this day: Ian Rush leaves Liverpool for Leeds United

Eighteen years ago today, Liverpool legend Ian Rush departs Anfield to sign a two-year contract with Leeds United.

Down the years, Liverpool have had a host of clinical centre-forwards. At one time or another, the likes of Roger Hunt, Gordon Hodgson, Robbie Fowler, Kenny Dalglish, Michael Owen and more recently Luis Suarez have donned the red shirt.

Yet none of those have scored more goals for the club than Ian Rush, who had two separate spells at Anfield.

He first joined the Merseysiders in 1980 from Chester City, before switching to Italian club Juventus for a British-record fee of £3.2m six years later. After just one season in Turin, though, Rush returned to Liverpool, where he would spend a further eight years.

Throughout his two stints with the five-time European champions, the Welshman fired in 346 goals - 60 more than Hunt, who is currently second in the club's standings.

However, in the summer of 1996, Rush had fallen down the pecking order behind the more youthful Fowler and Stan Collymore. There were offers from around the world, but determined to prove that he could still produce the goods in the Premier League, the veteran frontman was convinced by Howard Wilkinson to join his squad at Leeds United.

Rush signed a two-year contract at Elland Road, while Wilkinson revealed that he had been an admirer of his new striker for some time: "He is as significant and as important signing as I have made. I tried to sign him four years ago and have no doubts about his hunger for the game. He will be a terrific influence."

Meanwhile, Rush himself added: "I believe I can go on and play for another two or three years. There was a lot of interest from America, Europe, Japan and Australia but I want to prove I can play in the Premier League."

However, despite the fact that Rush featured in 43 matches in all competitions, he ended his first season with Leeds with just three goals to his name. The next summer he linked up with his former Liverpool teammate Dalglish, who was in charge of Newcastle United.

He would later join Sheffield United on loan and then moved to Wrexham, while he went on to bring the curtain down on his career at the age of 38 with Australian club Sydney Olympic in 2000.

Liverpool's Michael Owen celebrates scoring his team's third goal against Leeds during their Premiership clash at Elland Road in Leeds on 3 February 2002
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