Liverpool Football Club is one of England’s most successful teams having won an array of trophies including 18 League Titles and 5 European Cups since the club was founded in 1892. As well as an extensive trophy cabinet, Liverpool FC is famous for providing spectators with entertaining attacking football and boasts one of the most passionate fanbases in sport.
Do you think you know all there is to know about the history of Liverpool Football Club? It’s time to put your knowledge to the test with our guide on the history of LFC’s road to success…
The Founding Years of Liverpool FC
The iconic history of Liverpool FC begins in 1892, a number ingrained in the famous crest. The club’s Anfield premises originally belonged to local rivals Everton FC until a dispute resulted in the blue team of Merseyside leaving to form a new ground at Goodison Park. With an empty stadium at hand, local businessman John Houlding made the decision to create a new football team… Liverpool FC! The rest, as they, is history…
The very first competitive match played by a Liverpool FC team was on September 3, 1892 where Higher Walton were handed a very comfortable 8-0 defeat. In the years to come, Liverpool were promoted to the First Division at first attempt and won their first Football League title in 1901. With more success following on and off the field, including back-to-back titles and an Anfield expansion, the club endured a more than stellar start to life.
A Club on the Edge of Greatness in the 1960s
The 1960s can be considered as the era where Liverpool truly began to rise from the ashes. Bill Shankly commenced his reign as manager of the club and it didn’t take long for supporters to appreciate his approach and ideals. After seven years away, Liverpool earned promotion to the First Division in 1964. Just a few months later the club introduced their first all red kit with Shankly symbolising the colour as meaning power and danger. It only took Liverpool two years of being in the First Division to win their first title under the leadership of Bill Shankly.
Liverpool Football Club entered their first European Cup competition in 1964, reaching the semi-finals against Inter Milan who eventually went on to beat Benfica on home turf. Liverpool reached their first European final in 1966 with the Cup Winners’ Cup but suffered an extra-time defeat to Borussia Dortmund. The BBC’s popular highlights programme Match of the Day broadcasted their first show in 1964 with Liverpool beating Arsenal 3-2 at home. Anfield was again chosen as the venue five years later for the programme’s first broadcast in colour format – Liverpool beat West Ham 2-0!
The 1970s and 1980s Were Fully of Glory
It’s this timeframe that no doubt marks the club’s most successful period to date. Heading into the 70s, Bill Shankly’s love of the game and his charismatic approach brought a fresh lease of life to the club. Liverpool’s first taste of European success came in 1973 with a victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach in the UEFA Cup. Shankly’s resignation a year later was met with shock and sadness but ushered in the Bob Paisley era where success came in many forms. Paisley is regarded as one of the country’s most successful football managers having achieved 6 League Titles, 3 European Cups and 9 domestic trophies.
Paisley oversaw the beginning of Liverpool’s dominance in England and Europe and was the only manager to win three European Cups with a single team until Real Madrid’s success in recent years. Joe Fagan took over from Paisley in 1983 and while his stint was a short one, he won the treble in his first year and is considered by many to be an underrated hero in the club’s history. In 1985, Sir Kenny Dalglish took his hero status to a whole new level by becoming one of the game’s first player managers. Nicknamed ‘The King’ by the Anfield faithful, Dalglish lead the team to further success including their 18th League Title. Following his shock resignation in the early 90s, Liverpool’s reign as the dominant team in England began to slip.
A Decline Hit the Club in the 1990s
Following the incredible success of the previous era, Liverpool Football Club hit a sharp decline in the 1990s, an effect that is still being felt to this day. The club won their 18th league title in 1990 and 19 years later the battle is still ongoing to add to this tally. Club legend Graeme Souness returned to the club to succeed Sir Kenny Dalglish as manager but his dismal reign only last three years. A long-standing member of Liverpool’s famous bootroom took over in 1994, but Roy Evan’s only success came in the form of a League Cup. Gerard Houllier joined as co-manager alongside Evans in 1998 before the Frenchman took over as the sole manager just a few months later.
The latter years of the 1990s will be best remembered for the rise of some of Liverpool’s best local talent. It didn’t take long for two of the club’s greatest strikers, Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen, to become favourites among the Anfield faithful. Jamie Carragher made his debut all the way back in 1997 and his grit and passion was long felt at the heart of defence. Of course we shouldn’t forget Captain Fantastic! Steven Gerrard made his first competitive debut in November 1998 against Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League. The rest, as they say, is history…
Joy and Despair Make up the 2000s-2020s
What better way to bring in the new millennium than with a treble win, claiming the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup under the leadership of Gerard Houllier. Despite this success, Liverpool failed to exceed expectations in the following years and Houllier was replaced by Rafa Benitez in 2004. In his debut season the Spaniard will forever be remembered for inspiring one of sporting’s greatest comebacks in Istanbul to deliver Liverpool’s fifth European Cup. Things began to turn sour at LFC following the arrival of new owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett in 2007. The relationship between Benitez and the American owners was intense from the get go and reached fever point in 2010 with the manager receiving his marching orders.
Following a dismal turn of events both on and off the pitch, an intense battle for ownership reached fever point on October 15, 2010 when Boston-based Fenway Sports Group won the right to take over. Within a matter of months, FSG re-appointed Sir Kenny Dalglish whom ultimately delivered Liverpool’s first trophy in six years. This success, however, was short-lived with the owners deciding that enough progress had not been made. In a bold move, FSG sacked a club legend in favour of Brendan Rodgers, a young and relatively inexperienced manager. After an inaugural season which showed promising signs of progress, 2013/14 almost brought Liverpool fans the league title they’ve desperately been waiting for. Ultimately, the deadly combination of Suarez and Sturridge proved not enough in getting it over the line. Suarez’s transfer to Barcelona had seemed like a long time coming but the mouthwatering fee failed to reap the rewards and subsequently led to the downhill of Rodgers’ time at the club.
Fast forward to the present and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are displaying some of the best attacking football fans have ever seen, all under the roof of a magnificent new Main Stand. The German has transformed supporters from doubters to believers by taking his team to finals in the League Cup, Europa League and Champions League. Fans will be hoping to finally clinch the long-awaited title in the final weeks of the current Premier League season, as well as the opportunity for more European success…
Now that you’ve brushed up on your history of Liverpool Football Club, we’re guessing that you’ve got an appetite to check out the world famous Anfield Stadium? Our bus tour visits some of the best sightseeing stops in Liverpool before heading to Anfield. Visit our bookings page to secure your tour of this iconic club. For all LFC City Explorer news, follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.