Retro Liverpool Shirts: A Fan’s Guide To Buying a Classic Kit

Liverpool Football Club. A team that is as famous for its vibrant full red kit as it is for the legendary players that have worn them over the years. 

The Reds did not initially wear the shirt, shorts and socks that we are all familiar with today. Some of you may not know that Liverpool wore the club colours of their nearest rivals, Everton, who used to play their home matches at Anfield between the years 1878 and 1892. This was the case until the Toffees decided to move away from the ground after a dispute in rent with John Houlding, who went on to establish Liverpool.

From 1900 onwards, they opted to go with scarlet red shirts with white shorts and socks and this was the case for the next 64 years. That’s when a man called Bill Shankly had his say on how he thought Liverpool should look on the pitch. The prolific Scotsman turned the Reds from a mediocre Second Division side into serial winners and managed to secure the club’s first FA Cup brandishing the all-new colours. 

Here is an informative video from talkSPORT that showcases the evolution of Liverpool kits over the years.

For those that are into the classic of all classic kits, this will be right up to your street. Nothing says vintage Liverpool shirt more than the classic white shield that surrounds the infamous liverbird over the heart of the shirt. The reason that Shankly decided to change the strip to all-red was to intimidate the opposition. 

One of his star strikers at the time, Ian St John,  wrote in his autobiography about the details regarding this decision. “He [Shankly] thought the colour scheme would carry psychological impact—red for danger, red for power. 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 awesome, terrifying. You look 7ft tall.’ ‘Why not go the whole hog, boss?’ I (Ian St John) suggested. ‘Why not wear red socks? Let’s go out all in red.;” Shankly approved the suggestion and like that the iconic all Red Kit was born.

This colour scheme has been in place ever since and turned out to be a huge factor in carving Liverpool’s identity into the world of football, coupled with the extraordinary home supporters that stand on the Kop week in, week out. Some of the kits that Liverpool have had beyond these years have become some of the most iconic across Europe and the globe, reaching out to the seismic fanbase and touching endless generations of new and old.

As time moved past the 1970s and into the early 80s, the kits just got better and better, even the Umbro tracksuit tops that the coaches wore were symbolic in their own right. V-necks and pinstripes were introduced in 1982 and Liverpool’s dominance of the domestic scene began – winning six titles in this decade alone and embedding themselves as the most successful team in the country at the time. However, these kit details were not just found in the home shirt, but in the away shirts as well as the Reds opted to go with a vivid yellow with elegant red details. Both of which are a must-have among any Liverpool fan.

The full yellow kit was almost as intimidating as the home strip was, as they danced through the Arsenal defence and effortlessly finished with a majestic Kenny Dalglish strike that the Gunners were powerless to defend against a team at the time that was equivalent to Manchester City today.

Perhaps the most iconic kits of all are the 1989/90 Candy shirts. Everyone knows what it looks like and every supporter wants to get their hands on them at all costs. However, these days they will come at a significant cost due to their demand – and it’s easy to see why. The beautiful subtle white detailing on the home strip with the wide rounded collar, and the grey geometric design on the away kit are still a sight to behold, even today, and are easily some of the best-looking kits to ever grace a football pitch. 

The 1990s soon arrived and the club reached its 100th anniversary, meaning that Adidas needed to produce a special shirt to commemorate this, and they did just that with the beautiful three-stripe design that wrapped around the right shoulder of the jersey and a special club crest that celebrated the club’s life perfectly. 

Somehow, the German manufacturers managed to top this with their hugely impressive tribute to the 1985 shirt three years later, with the superb 1995/96 home shirt. Names immediately spring to mind when Liverpool fans think of this shirt. Robbie Fowler, Stan Collymore, Jason McAteer, Jamie Redknapp and John Barnes just to name a few. 

Both shirts from this campaign were replicated years later, but we’ll come on to that later. The away shirt was another unique design that turned out to be a classic shirt, even though Liverpool went on to lose the FA Cup final against Manchester United wearing this kit. However, both of these shirts will be pricey, be sure to find a reputable retailer to ensure that you are not retrieving a fake version. If you are lucky, you can find yourself in a low-end bid on eBay for a quick steal.

The 90s soon passed and the 21st century arrived, and while Liverpool’s 2000/01 home shirt was not the best looking kit in the world at the time, their achievements that year make it a classic in itself. With Gerard Houllier’s side winning a spectacular treble in the form of the Worthington Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup as well as the Charity Shield and Super at the beginning of the following campaign makes this one not to forget.

While Liverpool had some nice kits in the years following, none became classics. We had to wait until 2017 to see another beauty emerge from kit manufacturers New Balance. As mentioned earlier in the article, we talked about kits from 1995 that were replicated – these are the ones concerned.

Liverpool fractionally missed out on Champions League glory during this campaign after falling to a 3-1 defeat in the final against Real Madrid in Kyiv. The shirts that were used were celebrating the club’s 125th anniversary, with subtle detailing around the crest to recognise exactly that. But Jurgen Klopp’s side were just getting started as the season after, they secured their sixth European Cup after a 2-0 victory over Tottenham in Madrid, which saw another classic kit emerge.

The success got even better and it seemed impossible that it could get much better than that – but somehow it did as Liverpool, finally, won their first league title for 30 years in a shirt that recognised the team that was so dominant back in 1984 with beautiful white pinstripe detailing.

So there you have it. There is an abundance of Liverpool kits floating about that you can still get your hands on today. Even though seasons have moved on with time, these kits have now become must-haves among supporters. Scroll down to uncover a guide to purchasing a classic shirt.

Fans guide to buying a classic kit

As we’ve already mentioned, some kits will come in more expensive than others and it’s important to have a trained eye when being able to spot a fake lurking around online. 

AwayDays have explained perfectly the minefield that you have to navigate if you want to properly get to grips with real and fake shirts, as well as the indicators that you need to look out for.

Here is a summary, along with some useful tips, about signs that should possibly trigger your alarm bells.

To put things into context, price, quantities, item description, product SKU numbers and application quality are just a few things that you need to be aware of.

Have we missed anything regarding spotting fake football shirts? What is your favourite Liverpool shirt of all time? Get in touch and let us know!