The Detailed History of Liverpool FC’s Kit

Liverpool FC ended the long wait for their first top-flight title since 1990 after Manchester City lost 2-1 to Chelsea to crown the Reds as Premier League champions last season.

Jurgen Klopp’s side racked up numerous records along the way, including the biggest points lead, the earliest title win and most home wins in a row.

The defending champions have unveiled the new home and away kits ahead of the 2020/21 Premier League season, with Nike taking over from New Balance as the new suppliers.

Every professional football team has three strips at least – a home, an away and third kit if the away kit’s colours are too close to opponents’ shirts – but that hasn’t always been the case.

Liverpool’s Home Kit Colours and Badge

Founded in 1892, Liverpool’s first ever kit was very similar to the original Everton strip. John Houlding, who owned the land at Anfield, formed the club following a dispute with the Toffees. It is entirely unrecognisable from the iconic kit they proudly wear today.

However, this didn’t last long, as Houlding ditched the blue and white quartered shirts in favour of the red shirt and white shorts combination four years later.

Although the Reds adopted the city’s liver bird symbol as the club’s badge in 1901, the crest did not make an appearance on the kit for some time until 1955.

And in 1964 club legend Bill Shankly made a decision which would change the course of the club’s history forever.

Liverpool swapped the red shirts and white shorts for the classic all-red home strip which has been used ever since.

Former forward Ian St John later revealed “he thought the colour scheme would carry psychological impact – red for danger, red for power.”

Shankly’s switch worked wonders after St John scored the opener in the 3-0 victory over Anderlecht in the European Cup second-round first leg at Anfield.

Liverpool would go on to reach the semi-finals, losing 3-0 to Internazionale in the second leg at the San Siro.

The club could not be denied European glory for much longer, when Bob Paisley’s side triumphed against Borussia Monchengladbach to win the European Cup for the first time during the 1976/77 season.

Shankly deserves much of the credit for transforming the Reds into the title-winning team we all know today. In 1965, Liverpool won the FA Cup for the first time, before winning the First Division the following year.

They achieved a historic double in the 1972/73 season, as well as another FA Cup triumph one year later.

He shortly retired soon afterwards but should receive recognition for the important part he played in changing the club’s kit.

Liverpool’s Shirt Sponsors

Clubs started selling replica shirts for the first time in the 1970s and this coincided with the introduction of shirt sponsorship.

German side Eintracht Braunschweig is considered to be the first team to wear a sponsor’s logo, which led to an uneasy relationship with Jagermeister.

Unsurprisingly, the German FA rejected an attempt by the company to rebrand the team as ‘Eintracht Jagermeister.’

Their English counterparts went one step further by banning shirt sponsorship until 1977 when Derby County signed a new deal with Swedish car company Saab, although the Rams only wore the new kits once before they ditched the idea.

Liverpool were the first English professional team to wear a sponsored shirt with the Hitachi logo plastered across the front of the players’ tops in 1978.

The Premier League introduced sleeve sponsors for the first time in 2017 and Western Union inked a lucrative contract worth £25m in the same year.

Liverpool’s Kit Suppliers

Umbro started the 1970s as their kit manufacturer before being succeeded by Adidas in 1985.

The German sportswear giants are widely credited with creating some of the club’s most iconic kits in recent memory.

Reebok took over the reins from their rivals, overseeing the turn of the century, until Adidas returned to Anfield in 2006.

And it wasn’t until 2010 when Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool from former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett that Warrior Sports and its parent company New Balance entered the scene.

The club have sported several sponsors since then including the likes of Crown Paints, Candy, Carlsberg and more recently Standard Chartered Bank.

Crown Paints have become synonymous with some of the most important moments in the club’s history, with Kenny Dalglish assuming the mantle of player-manager after Joe Fagan retired in 1985.

Dalglish would lead Liverpool to three more league titles and two FA Cup trophies, including another historic double in 1986.

Their contract with Carlsberg was the longest running deal in the history of the English top flight, lasting from 1992 to 2010.

The Carlsberg years covered the reigns of Roy Evans, Gerard Houllier, as well as the Rafa Benitez revolution and the incredible night in Istanbul, where the Reds won the Champions League for the first time.

Liverpool’s Away Kit Colours

Liverpool’s away strip has predominantly been yellow or white shirts with black shorts but there have been a few exceptions to the rule over the years.

The board brought out an all grey kit in 1987, which stayed until the 1991/92 centenary season, when it was replaced by green shirts and white shorts.

For whatever reason, the club suffered a crisis in confidence, as they changed the colours so many times in the 1990s, including combinations of gold and navy, bright yellow, black and grey, and ecru (a different type of beige).

None of these were particularly inspiring so it is perhaps hardly surprising the Reds resorted to the yellow and white away kits for the majority of the Noughties.

At least, this was the case up until the 2008/09 season, when the club reintroduced the grey away kit instead.

A third kit is usually worn for European away games, although it can also be used in domestic away matches if the away kit clashes with another team’s home kit.

Liverpool’s 2020/21 Kit

Now that Nike have assumed the mantle from New Balance, many Liverpudlians were expecting big things from the American manufacturing company.

And they have not disappointed after they recently released the Reds’ new home and away shirts before the beginning of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.

The home strip shows the traditional red jersey, shorts and socks, but pays tribute to some of the 1990s kits at the same time with a teal trim.

And the 96 emblem encased by eternal flames is featured at the nape of the neck, remembering the 96 men, women and children who tragically lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster.

Meanwhile, Nike’s away strip for the upcoming season showcases a prominent teal background with a black outline and black crew-neck collar.

Jordan Henderson has admitted he is a “massive fan of the new away kit” and it is hard to argue with the club captain here.

The abstract artwork was heavily inspired by the Shankly Gates and appears all over the kit.

These gates form the entrance to Anfield Road and were erected in honour of the legendary manager in 1982, nearly a year after he sadly passed away.

The turquoise colour comes from the liver birds seen at the top of the Royal Liver Building in the heart of the city.

As it stands, the third kit design has not been officially announced as of yet, despite unconfirmed reports of leaked images.

Fans will be hoping Klopp’s side can replicate their recent form and defend their title from domestic rivals Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, who are seeking to improve their squads in the transfer market.

Liverpool’s Record Signings

Like many clubs, Liverpool have had their fair share of successes and failures in transfer windows, with some expensive signings becoming incredible superstars, while others have turned out to be complete and utter flops.

Klopp has signed the top five most expensive players in the club’s history and the Reds have reaped the rewards as a result.

Dutch defender Virgil van Djik tops the list after arriving from Southampton for £75m in January 2018.

Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker joined in the summer, along with Naby Keita, with both players taking up second and third place respectively.

Alisson’s international teammate Fabinho moved to Merseyside from Monaco for £43m and is at the bottom of the list.

Meanwhile Mo Salah, who holds the record for the most goals scored in a single 38-game Premier League season, as well as the most goals in a debut season, joined the club for £43.9m and is fourth on the list.

Questions still remain over whether or not Klopp will be able to make additions to the first team before the start of next season but there is still some time to go until the window closes in October.

Liverpool continue to be linked to Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara and he is reportedly confident of completing a move to Anfield after rejecting a new deal at the Allianz Arena.

One thing is for sure, the Reds are a formidable sight to see on the pitch when they are kitted out in their traditional colours.

If you have made it this far in the article – congratulations! Why not check out the Liverpool fan gifts page to find some more ideas!