Liverpool Football Club. The Mighty Reds. The men in red. It wasn’t always that way, though. The first four years of the club’s history (1892-96) saw those that played for Liverpool FC donning blue and white—to which the 2011/12 third kit paid homage. It was not very well received.
The club kit has been made by Umbro (1975-85), Reebok (1996-2006), Adidas (1985-96 and again from 2006-2010) and, now, Warrior.
Companies Hitachi (1979-81), Crown Paints (1982-88), Candy (1988-92), Carlsberg (1992-2010) and most recently Standard Chartered have been emblazoned across the front.
Everybody has his or her favorites. And they weren’t necessarily based on what they achieved in them.
Personally speaking, it was the Crown Paints canary yellow 1982-84 away strip. Not because Liverpool won a European Cup, the League title twice and both the League Cup and Charity Shield once. It was simply because it was visible to the naked eye from outer space.
No matter what the color, kit manufacturer or sponsor, the Anfield contingent has won everything there is to win. This is a look at those kits, and achievements in them that have defined the modern Reds.
It is by no means a comprehensive list and is bound to bear comparison. Please feel free to let us know which strip you think is Liverpool’s most iconic kit.
There were many iterations of red for Liverpool FC over the years, but it was a European night against Anderlecht on November 25, 1964 where the all-red strip was born.
The decision that would transform the perception of the team was thanks to Bill Shankly’s psychology and an Ian St John suggestion. In his autobiography The Saint, Ian St John writes:
“He came into the dressing room one day and threw a pair of red shorts to Ronnie Yeats. ‘Get into those shorts and let’s see how you look,’ he said. ‘Christ, Ronnie, you look truly awesome, terrifying. You look 7ft tall.’ ‘Why not go the whole hog, boss?’ I suggested. ‘Why not wear red socks? Let’s go out all in red.’”
Liverpool ran out eventual 3-0 victors that night, and according to Shankly:
"Christ, the players looked like giants. And we played like giants. The introduction of the all scarlet strip had a huge psychological effect. I went home that night and I said to Ness: ‘You know something... tonight I went out onto Anfield and for the first time there was a glow like a fire was burning.’”
No sponsor, no frills, just a 3-1 victory over German Champions,Borussia Moenchengladbach, in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. It was the first trip that Old Big Ears would make back to the Anfield trophy room.
Oh yes—they also won their 10th league title in that same strip.
The Crown Paint years (1982-88) were probably one of Liverpool’s most storied periods. In the course of the six seasons, the sponsorship coincided with the Reds winning 11 trophies, including four league titles and a European Cup. Ironically enough, the jersey did not have the sponsorship on the front for the final.
But the 1983-84 season was a treble season for the Reds. In the red with pinstripes, the team from Merseyside won the European Cup in Rome (again), the league title and the League Cup.
Not quite of the same caliber as the 1983-84 season, but the lads in red’s cup haul did include the FA Cup, the League Cup and the UEFA Cup (this is before it was reformatted and rebranded to be the UEFA Europa League).
The Carlsberg-sponsored jersey was indeed remembered for that accomplishment, but also another: it didn’t so much seem to sit on the players as it did devour them.
For modern Liverpool fans, the Reebok jersey with Carlsberg on the chest and white flashing under the armpits has special significance. It was the kit that Liverpool beat all the odds in, and took the European Cup home for the fifth time.
Seemingly outgunned and outclassed in the first 45 minutes against an electric AC Milan squad, more than a few Liverpool fans left the Ataturk Olympic stadium in Istanbul and missed one of the best comebacks in sporting history, with Liverpool tying it up in regulation and winning it on penalties after two halves of extra time.
The Reds also claimed their second Super Cup later that year, beating CSKA Moscow.