When R. A. Fisher studied statistics as a student at Cambridge, the typical way to think about statistical inference was in terms of the method of inverse probability and Bayes's theorem. While others groped for alternatives with systematic structure and desirable alternatives, it remained for Fisher to invent the notion of likelihood and to explore its properties. These two papers trace the emergence of Fisher's thinking on likelihood over a 10-year period.
Stephen E. Fienberg. "Introduction to R.A. Fisher on inverse probability and likelihood." Statist. Sci. 12 (3) 161 - 161, August 1997. https://doi.org/10.1214/ss/1030037905