Liverpool Football Club is an English professional football club based in Liverpool, Merseyside. Liverpool plays in the Premier League, and is the most successful club in the history of English football, having won more trophies than any other English club. They have won a record 18 English League titles, although the last time they won the title was in 1990. Liverpool have won five European Cups, an English record. Only A.C. Milan and Real Madrid have won Europe's premier club competition more times. They have won the FA Cup and League Cup seven times. Liverpool have played at Anfield since they were founded in 1892. However, plans have been formed to start work on a new 71,000 all reserved seat stadium, in the summer of 2010 near Stanley Park.
The new stadium will be funded by Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who became the club's owners on February 6, 2007.
Liverpool have a large and diverse fanbase, who hold a string of long-standing rivalries with several other clubs; the most notable of these is with neighbours Everton, with whom they regularly contest the Merseyside derby. Liverpool have a fierce rivalry with Manchester United, due to the success of both clubs, as well as their proximity to each other.
The club's fans have been involved in two major disasters. At the Heysel Stadium disaster, 39 Juventus F.C. fans died when a wall collapsed after crowd trouble in the 1985 European Cup Final, and the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989 where 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives.
- For more details on this topic, see History of Liverpool F.C..
- For information on the current season, see Liverpool F.C. season 2007-08.
In 1891 John Houlding, the leaseholder of Anfield stadium, purchased the ground outright and proposed increasing the rent from £100 to £250 per year. Everton F.C., who had played at Anfield for seven years, refused to meet his demands and moved to Goodison Park. Liverpool F.C. were founded by Houlding on 15 March 1892 to play at the vacated Anfield. The original name was to be Everton F.C. and Athletic Grounds, Ltd., or Everton Athletic for short, but was changed to Liverpool F.C. when The Football Association refused to recognise the team as Everton.
In their first season Liverpool won the Lancashire League, and were elected to the Football League Second Division for the 1893–94 season. Liverpool ended the season unbeaten as Second Division Champions, and were promoted to the First Division. Liverpool won their first Football League championship in the 1900–01 season, and were champions again in 1905–06. Liverpool played their first FA Cup final in 1914, but lost 1–0 to Burnley. In 1921–22 and 1922–23 Liverpool won their first back-to-back League titles. This was followed by the longest spell without a trophy in their history, which ended when Liverpool won the league during the 1946–47 season. However, Liverpool struggled following this success, and were relegated to the Second Division in 1953–54.
In December 1959, Bill Shankly was appointed manager, during his first year, he released 24 players and reshaped the squad. In 1961–1962, his third season as manager, Liverpool won the Second Division Championship by eight points and were promoted to the First Division, where they have remained ever since. In 1963–1964, Liverpool lifted the League Championship for the first time in 17 years. Liverpool were League Champions again in 1965–1966, having won their first FA Cup the previous season. Liverpool won their eighth league title and defeated Borussia Mönchengladbach to win their first European trophy, the UEFA Cup, in 1972–1973. However, a year later, following another FA Cup victory, Shankly retired, his assistant, Bob Paisley, became manager.
In 1975–1976, at the end of Paisley's second season in charge, Liverpool became champions, and won the UEFA Cup. The following year, Liverpool retained their League Championship, lost the FA Cup Final, but won their first European Cup, beating Borussia Mönchengladbach 3–1. Liverpool retained the trophy in 1978, beating Club Brugge 1–0, and in 1979 they broke another domestic record by winning the league title with 68 points, and only 16 goals conceded in 42 matches. In 1979–1980, Liverpool won the league title for the fourth time in five seasons, and Paisley's third European Cup victory came in 1980–1981. In the following two seasons, Liverpool won a League Championship and League Cup "Double". During the nine seasons Paisley managed the club, Liverpool won a total of 21 trophies, including three European Cups, a UEFA Cup, six league titles and three consecutive League Cups. The only domestic trophy to elude him was the FA Cup.
The succession of managers appointed from within the club's staff is worthy of note. These managers are often referred to as "the boot room boys" after a part of Anfield where the Liverpool staff discussed strategy and allegedly stored gin. Just as Shankly had been succeeded by Paisley, so too Paisley handed the reins to his assistant, veteran coach Joe Fagan. He was 63 when he became manager in 1983–1984. In his first season in charge, Liverpool become the first English club to win three major trophies in a single season; the League title, the League Cup and the European Cup. Liverpool reached the European Cup final again in 1985. The match was against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium but before kick-off, disaster struck. Liverpool fans breached a fence separating the two groups of supporters and charged the Juventus fans. The resulting weight of people caused a retaining wall to collapse, killing 39 fans, mostly Italians. The match was played regardless and Liverpool lost 1–0 to Juventus. English clubs were consequently banned from participating in European competition for five years, with Liverpool receiving a ban for ten years, which was later reduced to six. Fourteen of their fans received convictions for involuntary manslaughter.
Kenny Dalglish became Liverpool's first player-manager in 1985. His reign saw the club win another three League Championships and two FA Cups including a league and cup Double in 1985–86. However, Liverpool's successes were overshadowed by the Hillsborough disaster. On April 15, 1989, when Liverpool were playing Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final, hundreds of Liverpool fans were crushed against perimeter fencing. 94 fans died that day; the 95th victim died in hospital from his injuries four days later and another nearly four years later having never regained consciousness, to make the total 96. After the Hillsborough tragedy there was a governmental review of stadium safety. Known as the Taylor Report, it paved the way for legislation requiring all-seater stadiums in the top-flight. The report ruled that the main reasons for the disaster were overcrowding due to a failure of police control.
Graeme Souness was installed as manager in 1991. However, apart from an FA Cup win in his first season, his reign was not successful. "Boot room" veteran Roy Evans took over in 1994. While his tenure saw some improvement in league form, in his five seasons the club never finished higher than third. Evans' only trophy was the 1995 League Cup. Gérard Houllier, the former French national coach, was drafted into the Liverpool management team for the 1998–99 season to work alongside Roy Evans, but the partnership did not work out and Evans resigned in November 1998.
Houllier's second full season in sole charge, 2000–01, was Liverpool's most successful season for many years as the team completed a combination of the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup. They finished second in 2001–02, a season in which Houllier underwent major heart surgery. Houllier would only win one more trophy in his time in charge, against a background of growing disquiet amongst Liverpool supporters, Houllier and Liverpool parted by mutual consent at the end of the 2003–04 season.
Spaniard Rafael Benítez took over and in his first season Liverpool finished fifth in the Premier League. The season had a surprising ending, however, as Liverpool won their fifth European Cup in Istanbul. In 2005–06 Liverpool picked up 82 points in the Premiership, their highest points total in the top-flight since 1988, and ended the season by winning the FA Cup in yet another dramatic final, this time against West Ham. In 2006–07, the club's search for investment came to an end when American businessmen George Gillett and Tom Hicks became the owners of Liverpool F.C. in a deal valuing the club and its outstanding debts at £218.9 million. That season, Benítez guided the team to the UEFA Champions League final once again, where they lost 2–1 to A.C. Milan.
- For more details on this topic, see List of Liverpool F.C. players.
In the period before the Second World War several players played for Liverpool for lengthy periods of time, earning themselves great admiration. Among these were Ephraim Longworth, a solid full-back who became Liverpool's first England captain in 1921, and Elisha Scott, who played in goal for Liverpool for 22 years, making him the longest serving Liverpool player ever. In front of goal, of particular note is Gordon Hodgson, who scored a record 17 hat tricks playing for the club in the 1920s and 1930s.
In the 1960s, as Bill Shankly transformed the club into a European power, among the players who established themselves as key elements of Liverpool's success were Ron Yeats, who Shankly famously described as his "colossus", and Roger Hunt, who scored 245 league goals (still a club record) as well as being part of England's World Cup winning team in 1966.
Paisley's additions to the squad were an important factor in Liverpool's success during the 1970s and 1980s. Two Scottish signings of 1977 had a particular impact: Alan Hansen, who was a part of three European Cup winning teams, and Kenny Dalglish, known to fans as 'King Kenny', would excel as a Liverpool player before becoming Liverpool's first Double-winning manager. In 1980 Paisley signed 19-year-old Ian Rush, who progressed to become the club's leading goalscorer.
More recently famous players have emerged from Liverpool's youth set up. In the early-1990s Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler emerged to play as winger and striker for the club, while later in the decade Michael Owen, current captain Steven Gerrard and vice-captain Jamie Carragher came through the Liverpool Academy.
Colours and crest
|Liverpool's original home colours (1892–1894)|
Liverpool's traditional colours are red and white, with the home kit having been all red since the mid 1960s. However, it was not always this way. In the early days, when the club took over Anfield from Everton, they used the Toffees' colours of blue and white, wearing a kit almost identical to that worn by the Everton team of the time. By 1894 Liverpool had adopted the colour of red, and in 1901 the city's liver bird was adopted as the club badge. For the next 60 years Liverpool's kit was red shirts with white shorts, socks alternated over the years from red, to black, to white, and back to red again.
In 1964, then Liverpool manager Bill Shankly decided to send the team out in all red for the first time against Anderlecht, as Ian St. John recalled in his autobiography:
|“||He 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 suggested. “Why not wear red socks? Let’s go out all in red.” Shankly approved and an iconic kit was born.||”|
|Liverpool's third/European away kit for the 2007–08 season.|
Liverpool's away colours are traditionally either white shirts and black shorts or all yellow. However, in 1987 an all grey kit was introduced. The away kit was then grey until the centenary season of 1991–92, when it was replaced by a combination of green shirts and white shorts. After various colour combinations in the 1990s, including gold and navy, bright yellow, black and grey, and ecru, the club have settled down in the 2000s into a pattern that alternates yellow with white each year.
The current kits are designed by adidas, who also made the club's kits between 1985 and 1996. The only other branded shirts worn by the club were made by Umbro up until 1985, and Reebok for ten seasons from 1996. The current away kit is white shirts, black shorts and white socks, all with red trim. There is also a third kit of all black with red and white trim, designed primarily for Champions League away games, but is also used for any domestic games where both red and white would clash.
Liverpool were the first British professional club to wear a sponsor's logo on their shirts, agreeing a deal with Hitachi in 1979. In the years since, the club has had relatively little variation in sponsorship deals, linking up with Crown Paints and Candy before signing their current deal with Carlsberg in 1992 — a deal which is the longest-standing current agreement in English top-flight football.
The current Liverpool badge is based around the traditional liver bird, which is placed inside a shield. Above the shield is a representation of the Shankly Gates bearing the title of club's famous anthem, "You'll Never Walk Alone". The twin flames at either side are symbolic of the Hillsborough memorial, where an eternal flame burns outside Anfield, in memory of those who died in the disaster.
- For more details on this topic, see Anfield.
- For information on Liverpool's proposed new stadium, see Stanley Park Stadium.
Liverpool have only ever had one home ground, Anfield, where they have played since foundation. Anfield was built in 1884 on land adjacent to Stanley Park, and was originally inhabited by Everton. They left the ground in 1892 over a rent dispute, with the owner of Anfield; John Houlding, who decided to form a new club to play at the ground. The capacity of the stadium was 20,000, however only 100 spectators attended Liverpool's first match at Anfield.
In 1906, the banked stand at one end of the ground was formally renamed the Spion Kop, after a hill in Natal. The hill was the site of the battle of Spion Kop in the Second Boer War, where over 300 men of the Lancashire Regiment died, many of whom were from Liverpool. At its largest, the stand could hold 28,000 spectators, and was one of the largest single tier stands in the world. The stand was considerably reduced in capacity due to safety measures brought in following the Hillsborough disaster, and it was completely rebuilt as an all seater stand in 1994, with a capacity of 12,390. Though the Kop is still composed of a single tier.
The Anfield Road stand is positioned at the opposite end to the Kop, and houses the away-fans. It is the newest stand at Anfield having been rebuilt in 1998 with a capacity of 9,074. The two stands adjacent to these are the Main Stand, with a capacity of 12,227; and the Centenary Stand, which has a capacity of 11,762. The Main Stand is the oldest part of Anfield, having remained largely untouched since its redevelopment in 1973. It houses the players' changing rooms and the director's box, and the dug-outs are in front of the stand. The Centenary Stand was previously known as the Kemlyn Road Stand until it was rebuilt for the club's centenary in 1992. The redevelopment saw the houses in Kemlyn Road demolished and the address become non-existent. The current overall capacity of the stadium is 45,362 and it is rated as a four Star Stadium in the UEFA Stadia List.
On July 30, 2004, Liverpool City Council granted the club planning permission to build a new 61,000 seat stadium just 300 yards (270 m) away from Anfield at Stanley Park and on September 8, 2006 Liverpool City Council agreed to grant Liverpool F.C. a 999-year lease of land on the proposed site. Following the takeover of the club in February 2007 by George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks there was a re-design of the proposed stadium. In November 2007 the new design received the green light from the council and construction is due to start in spring 2008. The new stadium is being built by HKS, Inc. and is expected to be completed in 2011.
Melwood, in West Derby, Liverpool, is home to Liverpool FC's training ground, it is not attached to The Academy, which is in Kirkby. Melwood is based in the West Derby area of Liverpool and has been their home since the 1950s. The ground previously belonged to St Francis Xavier, a local school.
Liverpool have a large and generally loyal fanbase, with virtually all home matches selling out; in 2006–07 Liverpool had the fourth-highest average League attendance for an English club; 43,561, which was 99.7% of available capacity, and the second-highest all-time average attendance. Liverpool fans often refer to themselves as "Kopites", which is a reference to the fans who once stood, and now sit, on the Kop at Anfield.
The song "You'll Never Walk Alone", originally from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel and famously recorded by Liverpool musicians Gerry & The Pacemakers, is the anthem of the club, and has been sung by the Anfield crowd since the early-1960s. The song has since gained popularity among fans of other clubs around the world. Claims that "You'll Never Walk Alone" was first sung by fans at other clubs have been dismissed as very unlikely. The song's title adorns the top of the Shankly Gates, which were unveiled on 2 August 1982 in memory of former manager, Bill Shankly. The "You'll Never Walk Alone" portion of the Shankly Gates is also reproduced in the club's crest. Popular chants include "Fields of Anfield Road" (to the tune of "The Fields of Athenry"), "Poor Scouser Tommy" (first section to the tune of "Red River Valley; second section to the tune of The Sash") and "Liverbird Upon My Chest" (to the tune of "Ballad of the Green Berets").
Liverpool's longest standing rivalry is with fellow Merseyside team Everton, against whom they contest the Merseyside derby. This stems from Liverpool's formation after a dispute with Everton officials and the owners of Anfield, which was the ground Everton were using at the time. Religious differences have been cited as a division, though both teams stem from a Methodist origin, undermining the notion of a Catholic–Protestant split. The Merseyside derby is usually a sell out fixture and tends to be a scrappy affair; it has had more red cards than any other fixture in Premiership history.
Liverpool also have a significant rivalry with north-west neighbours Manchester United. This is mostly due to the success enjoyed by the two clubs and the geographical proximity of the two cities. Liverpool and Manchester United are the two most successful teams in England, both with large international support. Liverpool dominated English football from the mid 1970s through the 1980s with 11 titles in 18 years, and they also won four European Cups in the period, while Manchester United have dominated the Premier League era from 1992 with nine titles in 15 years to 2007, with one UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool in popular culture
Liverpool featured in the first edition of the BBC's Match of the Day, which screened highlights of their match against Arsenal at Anfield on 22 August 1964. Liverpool were also the subject of television's first colour football transmission, which showed their match against West Ham United live. Liverpool fans singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" were featured in the Pink Floyd song, "Fearless". A documentary on the Hillsborough disaster directed by Jimmy McGovern, was screened in 1996. It Featured Christopher Eccleston as Trevor Hicks, whose story formed the focus of the script. Hicks lost two teenage daughters in the disaster and went on to campaign for safer stadia, as well as helping form the Hillsborough Families Support Group.
Statistics and records
- For more details on this topic, see List of Liverpool F.C. statistics and records.
Liverpool's first competitive game was in the Lancashire League against Higher Walton. The match was won 8–0, with a mostly Scottish team. Ian Callaghan holds Liverpool's appearance record, having made 857 over the course of 19 seasons from 1958–78. He also holds the record for League appearances with 640. Of the current squad Jamie Carragher has the most appearances with 500 as of January 15, 2008.
Liverpool's all time leading scorer is Ian Rush, who scored 346 goals in two spells at the club from 1980–1987 and 1988–1996. Rush holds the record for the most goals in a season with 47 in 1983–84. However, during his career, Rush could not surpass the league goal-scoring record of Roger Hunt, which has stood at 245 since 1970. In the 1961–62 season, Hunt scored 41 goals, setting the club record for league goals in a single season. Gordon Hodgson is the club's third highest scorer with 240 goals, and holds the club record of 17 hat tricks. The most goals scored by a player in a single match is five, which has been achieved by John Miller, Andy McGuigan, John Evans, Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler. Fowler also holds the club and Premiership record for the fastest hat trick from when he scored three past Arsenal in four minutes, 32 seconds in the second game of the 1994–95 season.
Steven Gerrard is Liverpool's all-time leading goalscorer in the European Cup with 21 goals. Liverpool's biggest ever victory was 11–0 against Strømsgodset I.F. in 1974, in which nine of the ten outfield players scored — a Liverpool record. Rotherham Town were the victims of Liverpool's biggest league win, losing 10–1 in 1896. This margin of victory was matched in the modern era, as Crystal Palace were defeated 9–0 at Anfield in 1989. Liverpool's heaviest defeats were against Huddersfield Town in 1935 which finished 0–8, and Birmingham City in 1954 which ended 1–9. Liverpool's 8–0 victory on November 6, 2007 against Beşiktaş JK in the Champions League is the record win in the competition.
Current squad and staff
- As of 29 January 2008.
First team players
Players out on loan
For recent transfers, see Liverpool F.C. season 2007-08.
Reserves and Academy players
- As of 11 January 2008.
|Alex Miller||First Team Coach|
|Xavi Valero||Goalkeeping Coach|
|Gary Ablett||Reserve Team Manager|
|Angel Vales||Reserve Team Coach / Head of Technical Analysis|
|Eduardo Macia||Chief Scout|
|Mark Waller||Club Doctor|
- For more details on this topic, see List of Liverpool F.C. managers.
As of 21 December 2007. Only competitive matches are counted.
|W. E. Barclay and John McKenna||February 1892||August 1896||131||80||20||31||344||158|
|Tom Watson||August 1897||May 1915||742||329||141||272||1226||1056|
|David Ashworth||December 1919||February 1923||138||70||40||28||220||118|
|Matt McQueen||February 1923||February 1928||229||93||60||76||354||307|
|George Patterson||March 1928||August 1936||366||137||85||144||665||700|
|George Kay||August 1936||January 1951||357||142||93||122||551||511|
|Don Welsh||March 1951||May 1956||232||81||58||93||387||423|
|Phil Taylor||May 1956||November 1959||150||76||32||42||294||211|
|Bill Shankly||December 1959||July 1974||783||407||198||178||1307||766|
|Bob Paisley||July 1974||July 1983||535||307||132||96||955||406|
|Joe Fagan||July 1983||May 1985||131||70||37||24||225||97|
|Kenny Dalglish||May 1985||February 1991||307||187||78||42||617||259|
|Ronnie Moran||February 1991||April 1991||10||4||1||5||20||16|
|Graeme Souness||April 1991||January 1994||157||65||47||45||248||186|
|Roy Evans||January 1994||July 1998||226||116||57||53||375||216|
|Roy Evans and Gérard Houllier||July 1998||November 1998||18||7||6||5||33||20|
|Gérard Houllier||November 1998||May 2004||307||158||75||74||516||298|
|Rafael Benítez||June 2004||Present||207||116||40||51||332||172|
- For more details on this topic, see Liverpool F.C. seasons.
Liverpool's tally of 18 Football League championships is a record for English clubs, their nearest challenger being Manchester United with 16., although Liverpool are yet to win the title in the 16 year long Premier League era. Liverpool's seven League Cup victories is a record, being two clear of Aston Villa. Liverpool achieved the League and FA Cup "Double" in 1986 and have won three trophies in one season twice - the first of League, League Cup and European Cup was achieved in 1984, and in 2001 comprising the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup..
Liverpool's total of five European Cups is an English record and the third highest total overall, after Real Madrid and AC Milan. The fifth victory in 2005 entitled Liverpool to receive the UEFA badge of honour, thus allowing them to keep the trophy permanently.
- Winners (18): 1900–01, 1905–06, 1921–22, 1922–23, 1946–47, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90
- Runners-up (11): 1898–89, 1909–10, 1968–69, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1977–78, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1988–89, 1990–91, 2001–02
- Division Two (Level 2)
- Winners (3): 1893–94, 1895–96, 1904–05, 1961–62
- Lancashire League
- Winners (1): 1892–93
- FA Cup
- Winners (7): 1965, 1974, 1986, 1989, 1992, 2001, 2006
- Runners-up (6): 1914, 1950, 1971, 1977, 1988, 1996
- League Cup
- Winners (7): 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1995, 2001, 2003
- Runners-up (3): 1978, 1987, 2005
- Community Shield
- Winners (15): 1964 (shared), 1965 (shared), 1966, 1974, 1976, 1977 (shared), 1979, 1980, 1982, 1986 (shared), 1988, 1989, 1990 (shared), 2001, 2006
- Runners-up (6): 1922, 1971, 1983, 1984, 1992, 2002
- Screen Sport Super Cup
- Winners (1): 1986
- European Cup and UEFA Champions League
- Winners (5): 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005
- Runners-up (2): 1985, 2007
- UEFA Cup
- Winners (3): 1973, 1976, 2001
- UEFA Super Cup
- Winners (3): 1977, 2001, 2005
- Runners-up (2): 1978, 1984
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
- Runners-up (1): 1966
- Intercontinental Cup and Club World Cup
- Runners-up (3): 1981, 1984, 2005