- Name: Liverpool Football Club
- Nickname: The Reds
- Founded: 1892
- Ground: Anfield
- Ground capacity: 45,276
The History: The Early Years 1892 - 1959
The history of Liverpool Football Club from 1892 to 1959 covers the time from the club's foundation, through their first period of success, to the appointment of Bill Shankly as manager.
Liverpool Football Club was formed on 15 March 1892 following a disagreement between the board of Everton and club president John Houlding, who owned the club's ground, Anfield. The disagreement between the two parties over rent resulted in Everton moving to Goodison Park from Anfield, which left Houlding with an empty stadium. Thus, he founded Liverpool to play in the stadium. The first match was against Rotherham Town in the Lancashire League. They won the Lancashire League in their first season and were promoted to The Football League for the following season. Liverpool consolidated their position in the Football League over the following seasons and won their first League Championship in 1901.
A further League Championship was won in 1906 and the club reached their first FA Cup final in 1914, but lost to Burnley. More success followed in the 1920s; Liverpool won successive League Championships for the first time in 1922 and 1923. Despite this success the Inter-war years were unsuccessful for Liverpool, with the club often finishing mid-table. Following the end of the Second World War in 1945, Liverpool won the first League Championship after the war in 1947. A slow decline followed, which resulted in the club's relegation to the Second Division in 1954. By the time of Bill Shankly's appointment in 1959, Liverpool had been in the Second Division for five seasons.
Liverpool's origins lie with their older, more established neighbours Everton.
Founded in 1878, Everton moved to Anfield in 1884 due to the patronage of John Houlding, a former Lord Mayor of Liverpool. Despite this Houlding had his critics, and a dispute between Everton and Houlding resulted in the formation of Liverpool. The dispute centred around Everton's home ground Anfield. Everton had entered into negotiations with John Orrell, the owner of the land at Anfield, to purchase it from him. This escalated into a dispute between Houlding and the Everton board over how the club was run and resulted in Everton moving to Goodison Park. Houlding was left with an empty ground and no team to play in it, so he decided to form a new club. He unsuccessfully tried to retain the Everton name, but was rebuked so he decided to call the team Liverpool.
Houdling applied for membership of The Football League, however the League refused to admit the club and they were forced to join the Lancashire League. Liverpool played its first match on 1 September 1892 against Rotherham Town, a match they won 7–1. Incidentally, the team Liverpool fielded against Rotherham was composed entirely of Scottish players, thus they became known as the 'team of Macs'. They had arrived following manager John McKenna's trip to Scotland to recruit players for the club. Liverpool's first match in the Lancashire League was against Higher Walton, which they won 8–0. Despite the scoreline, only 200 spectators attended the match, but as the season went on and as Liverpool continued to win their attendances increased. Approximately 2,000 people watched Liverpool defeat South Shore in their penultimate at Anfield.
Liverpool's first season was a successful one as the club won the Lancashire League on goal average from Blackpool. They also won the Liverpool District Cup, defeating Everton. The trophies that Liverpool were awarded were stolen and the club had to pay £130 to replace them. Following their success, Liverpool reapplied to be members of the Football League. The application was successful, mainly due to the resignation of Accrington Stanley and Bootle from the Second Division, which Liverpool were entered into. Following their formation Liverpool's strip had been blue and white checkered shirts, similar to their neighbours Everton. This changed in 1894 when they adopted the city's colour of red for their shirts.
The club's first match in the Football League was against Middlesbrough Ironopolis, which they won 2–0, Malcolm McVean scored Liverpool's first goal in league football. Their first season in the Football League was a success. Liverpool finished the season unbeaten in 28 matches, 22 of which they won. Their success meant they finished top of the Second Division, but as there was no automatic promotion to the First Division, they were entered into the 'Test Match system'. This was a knockout match between Liverpool and the bottom team in the First Division, they beat Newton Heath to move up to the First Division. Their stay in the division lasted a season as they finished bottom of the league, with seven wins from thirty matches. They faced Bury in the test match, which they lost 1–0, despite Bury playing most of the match with ten men after their goalkeeper was sent off. The defeat relegated Liverpool to the Second Division.
As more and more people began to watch Liverpool, a new stand was built at Anfield to accommodate them, which became known as the Main Stand. The club's stay in the Second Division was brief. Tom Watson was appointed as manager in 1896 and led Liverpool to the top of the table. They beat Small Heath and West Bromwich Albion in the test match system to earn promotion back to the First Division. The club reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time in the 1896–97 season. They were drawn against Aston Villa and with Everton in the other semi-final, there was the prospect of a first all Merseyside cup final. While Everton won their tie, Liverpool were defeated 3–0 by Villa.
During the next two seasons they consolidated their place in the Division with fifth and ninth place finishes. Liverpool's performance improved in the 1898–99 season, when the club went into the final game of the season with a realistic chance of winning their first League championship. They were level on points with Aston Villa, who they coincidentally faced at the end of the season to determine the League champions. Liverpool's wait for a league championship would continue as Villa won 5–0 to condemn them to the runners-up spot.
The club also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup during the season, where they faced Sheffield United. The tie resulted in four matches being played before either side won. The first match ended 2–2, the replay in Bolton finished 4–4, while the third match at Fallowfield Stadium was abandoned as the venue was too small and overcrowding resulted in fans spilling onto the pitch. The tie was finally decided in the fourth match at the Baseball Ground, which United won 1–0.
The next season was a disappointment with the club finishing tenth. Liverpool's wait for their first championship ended in 1901 when they won the First Dvision title. Integral to their success was captain Alex Raisbeck. The centre-half had been signed from Hibernian in 1898. He became club captain a year later and was often the focal point of the team, as he was an important defensive player and the instigator of many of Liverpool's attacks. Liverpool's triumph did not look likely in February, as they had lost eight games and conceded 31 goals.
However, in their next twelve matches, they won nine and drew three, while only conceding four goals to secure their first League title. More success did not follow as Liverpool were unable to repeat the feat; they finished 11th and 5th in the two subsequent seasons. The 1903–04 season saw the club relegated to the Second Division; like the previous relegation it was only for one season as they won the Division the following season. Liverpool's return to the First Division was successful as they became the first team to win the Second and First Division in successive seasons. They also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup where they faced Everton, but they lost 2–0 to the eventual winners.
Following the club's success in the league, the Liverpool directors erected a new stand along the Walton Breck Road. The stand became known as the Spion Kop. It was given this name by local journalist Ernest Edwards, who was the sports editor of newspapers the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo. The Spion Kop was named after a famous hill in South Africa where a local regiment had suffered heavy losses during the Boer War in 1900.
More than 300 men had died, many of them from Liverpool, as the British army attempted to capture the strategic hilltop. Liverpool endured limited success after their league victory, often finishing mid-table. They finished runners-up to Aston Villa in the 1909–10 season, which was the last for captain Raisbeck who returned to his native Scotland to play for Partick Thistle. The club reached their first FA Cup final in 1914, a match they lost 1–0 to Burnley. Four Liverpool players were implicated in the 1915 British football betting scandal. They were found guilty of conspiring with Manchester United players to fix a United win in a league match between the teams and were banned for life. Following the end of the war, the Football Association (FA) lifted the player's bans.
Inter War Years
Tom Watson left as manager in 1915, and was replaced by David Ashworth when football resumed after the war for the 1919–20 season, a season in which Liverpool finished in fourth place. Incidentally, during the season George V became the first reigning monarch to watch a League match when he saw Liverpool play Manchester City. Liverpool again finished in fourth place the following season, before the club regained the League Championship in the 1921–22 season. Liverpool were favourites to win the league towards the end of the season, but lost three of their last four games to put their chances in doubt. However, a 4–1 victory over West Bromwich Albion was enough to secure Liverpool's third League Championship. Ashworth left Liverpool midway through the following season to manage Oldham Athletic; he was replaced by former Liverpool player Matt McQueen. McQueen was initially successful, as Liverpool retained the championship, this owed much to the form of their goalkeeper Elisha Scott, who only conceded 31 goals during the season, a league record at the time. Their total of 60 points equalled the record set by West Bromwich Albion three seasons earlier.
Following their successive league victories, Liverpool's fortunes declined. This had much to with the age of their side. Some of the players had been playing before the war started and goalkeeper Scott had been at the club since 1912. They entered the 1923–24 season aiming to win a hat-trick of league titles. Yet they could only finish a disappointing 12th. They reached fourth place the following season, but this was to be their best finish until after the Second World War, as the club's form declined. Changes to the offside rule in the 1925–26 season resulted in an increase in the number of goals scored during matches. Liverpool contributed to this with big victories over the likes of Manchester United and Newcastle United, who they beat 6–3. However, despite the increase in goals they could only manage a seventh place finish.
A significant development occurred at Anfield in 1920, as the Kop was redesigned and extended to hold 30,000 spectators, all standing. At the time the Kop at Anfield was the biggest in the country, and was able to hold more spectators than some football grounds. Despite the increase in spectators, Liverpool could not repeat their earlier success. The club scored 90 goals during the 1928–29 season, striker Gordon Hodgson scored thirty of them, yet they only finished in fifth place. McQueen was unable to replicate his early success at the club and he retired in 1928 after his leg was amputated following a road accident, after he had been on a scouting assignment.
McQueen was replaced as manager by George Patterson. The club's fortunes did not improve under Patterson's leadership. Liverpool often finished mid-table and were inconsistent. In September 1930, they lost 7–0 at West Ham, yet nine days later they beat Bolton Wanderers 7–2 at Anfield. Liverpool's form continued to deteriorate and they avoided relegation in the 1933–34 season by four points. As they became a club more accustomed to finishing around the bottom of the table they were unable to hold onto their best players. Hodgson was sold to Aston Villa in 1936, and the club struggled to replace the man who scored 233 goals in 358 league games, finishing 19th in the season following his departure. Patterson resigned as manager in 1936 citing ill health. His replacement George Kaye did not fare much better initially. Liverpool narrowly avoided relegation in the 1936–37 season, and the club finished in 11th place the following two seasons. By the outbreak of the Second World War, Liverpool had become a team accustomed to finishing mid-table.
The Second World War brought about the loss of seven seasons to competitive league football in England. The first game played at Anfield after the war was against Middlesbrough, which Liverpool lost 1–0 in front of a crowd of 34,140. Despite their poor performances before the start of the war, the 1946–47 season was a successful one for Liverpool as they won the League Championship. Vital to the club's success were their attacking players. After a 5–0 defeat to Manchester United, the club bought Albert Stubbins from Newcastle United to augment the attack alongside Jack Balmer and Billy Liddell. Balmer epitomised the threat the players possessed by scoring a hat-trick in three successive matches.
These players were the catalyst behind the club's fifth League Championship, but they and the club were unable to match the achievement in the two seasons that followed. The majority of the players had been at the club before the start of the war and were unable to match their previous exploits as they finished 11th and 12th respectively. The 1949–50 season resulted in another disappointing league campaign. The season had started well as the club was unbeaten in their first nineteen matches and were top at the turn of the year. Their form declined towards the end of the season as they progressed further in the FA Cup, by the time they faced Everton in the semi-finals, they were out of contention and eventually finished 8th. They beat Everton to reach their second FA Cup final and first at Wembley against Arsenal. They were unable to win their first FA Cup; two goals from Arsenal striker Reg Lewis meant Liverpool lost the final 2–0.
Following the FA Cup final Liverpool experienced a gradual decline. Their manager George Kaye resigned through ill health and was replaced by Don Welsh in 1951. Welsh's first season did not go smoothly, as Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round by Norwich City who were in the Third Division. The following year, 61,905 spectators watched Liverpool play Wolverhampton Wanderers in the fifth round of the FA Cup, the biggest attendance ever recorded at the ground. Under Welsh's stewardship the club gradually fell down the table, before they were relegated to the Second Division in the 1953–54 season, after finishing in 22nd position. Their relegation came after fifty uninterrupted years in the top division of English football.
Liverpool's first season in the Second Division during the 1954–55 season resulted in an 11th place finish. During this season the club suffered the biggest defeat in its history, when they lost 9–1 away to Birmingham City. Although they improved to third place the following season, it was not enough for Welsh to keep his job and he was sacked at the end of the 1955–56 season. His replacement was Phil Taylor, who was a member of the Liverpool coaching staff. He signed players such as Ronnie Moran, Alan A'Court and Jimmy Melia, who would become the fulcrum of the club for seasons to come, yet Taylor was unable to guide Liverpool back to the First Division. Despite losing to non-league side Worcester City in the third round of the FA Cup in January 1959, the Liverpool board decided to persist with him. His tenure was to come to an end during the 1959–60 season. The club made a good start to the season, but their form began to tail off towards the middle of the season. After a defeat to Huddersfield Town, Taylor resigned. The man who replaced him was the manager of Huddersfield, Bill Shankly.
Shankly Gates - Anfield
Bill Shankly's widow, Ness, formally unlocked the Shankly Gates on 26th August 1982, 11 months after Shankly's passing.
Former Liverpool chairman, John Smith, Graeme Souness and Bob Paisley were among those present at the ceremony. The gates are on the Anfield Road side, next to the Hillsborough memorial. Across the Gates are the words 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.
Liverpool Football Club is the 2nd top flight football club to be based in Liverpool.
Liverpool F.C. is one of the most successful clubs in England and has won more European trophies than any other English team with five European Cups, three UEFA Cups and three UEFA Super Cups.
The club has also won eighteen League titles, seven FA Cups and a record eight League Cups.
In spite of their successful history, Liverpool are yet to win a Premier League title since its inception in 1992.
Liverpool was founded in 1892 and joined the Football League the following year.
The club has played at Anfield since its formation.
The most successful period in Liverpool's history was the 1970s and '80s when Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley led the club to eleven league titles and seven European trophies.
The club's supporters have been involved in two major tragedies.
The first was the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985, in which Liverpool fans caused a wall to collapse, killing 39 Juventus supporters and resulting in English clubs being banned from European competitions for five years.
In the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, 96 Liverpool supporters lost their lives in a crush against perimeter fencing.
Liverpool has long-standing rivalries with neighbours Everton and with Manchester United.
The team changed from red shirts and white shorts to an all-red home strip in 1964.
The club's anthem is "You'll Never Walk Alone".
For further information check out their Official website or their Fan Forum
The History: 1985 - present
Dalglish was appointed as manager after Joe Fagan resigned following the Heysel Stadium disaster, which resulted in Liverpool being banned from European competition for an indefinite period. Dalglish had the dual role of player and manager and in his first season the club won the league championship and FA Cup.
This marked the first time the club had won the competitions in the same season, thus completing their first double. They failed to retain the title the following season finishing second to neighbours Everton F.C. Dalglish reshaped the team, signing John Aldridge, John Barnes and Peter Beardsley to replace outgoing players such as Ian Rush and Sammy Lee.
The club regained the league championship, but lost the final of the FA Cup to Wimbledon F.C. to prevent a repeat of the double.
The following season saw the club involved in one of the worst disasters to occur at an English football stadium. 96 of the club's supports lost their lives on 15 April 1989, as a consequence of being crushed against perimeter fencing due to overcrowding at the Leppings Lane End of Hillsborough stadium, during an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. Liverpool subsequently won the FA Cup, defeating Everton in the final.
They again missed out on the double, as they were beaten to the league championship by Arsenal by goals scored, after the two teams finished the season tied on 76 points. Liverpool regained the league championship in the 1989–90 season to win their 18th title. Dalglish resigned the following season, as Liverpool finished second to Arsenal.
Former player Graeme Souness was appointed as manager and he won the FA Cup in his first full season in charge. Liverpool beat Sunderland 2–0 in the final. Despite this, the club finished in sixth position, the first time they had finished outside the top two since 1981. Liverpool fared no better in the 1992–93 season, again finishing sixth.
A poor start to the 1993–94 season resulted in Souness being replaced by Roy Evans midway through the season. Liverpool improved to fourth the following season and won the Football League Cup. The team improved under Evans' stewardship finishing fourth, third and fourth in the following season under his reign. They also reached the final of the FA Cup in 1996, but lost to Manchester United.
After finishing third during the 1997–98 season, Gérard Houllier was appointed co-manager alongside Evans. The arrangement lasted until November when Evans resigned. The team improved under Houllier and after finishing fourth during the 1999–2000 season, they won a unique treble of trophies the following season.
They finished second to Arsenal during the 2001–02 season, their highest league finish since 1991. The following seasons were disappointing as Liverpool were unable to improve on the previous season's exploits finishing fifth and fourth respectively. As a result Houllier was sacked at the end of the 2003–04 season.
Houllier's replacement was Rafael Benítez. Despite finishing fifth in the league, Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League for the fifth time. They defeated Italian club Milan in the final courtesy of a penalty shoot-out after being three goals behind at half-time.
Liverpool improved to third in the league the following season, and they also won the FA Cup. West Ham United were defeated in the final after another penalty shoot-out. Midway through the following season, Liverpool were bought by Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett. The club again reached the final of the UEFA Champions League against Milan, but this time they were defeated by 2–1.
The 2008–09 season saw Liverpool finish second in the league to Manchester United. Despite this, the following season was a disappointment, as the club finished in seventh place. Benítez left at the end of the season and was replaced by Roy Hodgson. At the start of the 2010–11 season, Liverpool were on the verge of bankruptcy.
The club were sold to New England Sports Ventures following a high court ruling after the club's creditors requested the club be sold. Hodgson was replaced by former manager Dalglish midway through the season. He won the Football League Cup in his second spell, but was replaced by Brendan Rodgers after finishing eighth in the 2011–12 season.
In Rodgers' first season, Liverpool finished in seventh. In the 2013–14 season, Liverpool mounted an unexpected title charge to finish second behind champions Manchester City and subsequently return to the Champions League, scoring 101 goals in the process, the most since the 106 scored in the 1895–96 season. Following a disappointing 2014-15 season, where Liverpool finished sixth in the league, and a poor start to the 2015-16 season, Brendan Rodgers was sacked in October 2015. He was replaced by Jürgen Klopp, who became the third foreign manager in Liverpool's history.
Under Klopp, they reached the Champions League final in 2017-18, losing to Real Madrid. The following season, they were Runners Up to Manchester City in the Premier League, and on 1st June 2019, clinched their 6th Champions League trophy with a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the final.
Success at a cost Dalglish became manager following the resignation of Fagan after the Heysel Stadium disaster. He started by replacing long-serving full-backs Phil Neal and Alan Kennedy with Steve Nicol and Jim Beglin. Liverpool started the 1985–86 season poorly and were ten points behind Manchester United at the end of September. They continued to stutter until the end of the season when they won eleven of their last twelve matches, as their rivals were dropping points. Liverpool needed to beat Chelsea in the last game of the season to win the league championship.
A goal from Dalglish secured the championship. The club also progressed to the final of the FA Cup, where they faced Everton. Liverpool went behind to a first half goal from Gary Lineker, but two goals from Ian Rush and a Craig Johnston goal in the second half secured a 3–1 victory. Thus the club had achieved a double of league championship and FA Cup in the same season for the first time.
At the start of the 1986–87 season, it was announced that Rush would leave the club for Italian team Juventus when the season was finished. Midway through the season Dalglish signed John Aldridge, who would replace Rush when he left. Despite his impending departure, Rush scored 40 goals during the season. It was not enough to help Liverpool retain the trophies they won the previous season, as they finished second in the league behind Everton, and were knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round by Luton Town.
The club did reach the final of the Football League Cup, but they were beaten 2–1 by Arsenal. At the end of the season Dalglish signed Peter Beardsley and John Barnes to improve their attacking options. The signings had the desired effect as Liverpool only lost two games during the league. They did not suffer defeat until their 29th match against Everton and regained the league championship.
The club had the chance to complete the double, as they reached the final of the FA Cup against Wimbledon. Despite being favourites against a club who had only become a member of The Football League eleven years previously, they lost the match 1–0.
Rush returned to Liverpool for the start of the 1988–89 season. Liverpool struggled at the start of the season and by January they were nine points behind leaders Arsenal. However, by April the teams were level on points, with Arsenal leading on goal difference. By this time, Liverpool had reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough stadium on 15 April 1989. Six minutes into the match it was abandoned; overcrowding at the Leppings Lane end of the ground resulted in the death of ninety-six people, as they were crushed against perimeter fencing.
Ninety-four fans died, in what became known as the Hillsborough disaster, that day; the 95th victim died in hospital from his injuries four days later and the 96th died nearly four years later, without regaining consciousness.
Liverpool won the replayed match 3–1 to reach the final against Everton. They led for the majority of the match courtesy of a goal from Aldrdige. Stuart McCall scored in the 89th minute to take the game into extra-time. Substitute Rush scored in the 95th minute, but McCall scored again in the 102nd minute to level the match.
Another goal from Rush two minutes later, secured a 3–2 victory for Liverpool. Once again, Liverpool had a chance to complete the double. Their last match of the season was against second placed Arsenal, who were three points behind the club. Arsenal needed to win the match by two clear goals to win the league championship, they took the lead in the 52nd minute, with the match in injury time, Michael Thomas scored to give Arsenal a 2–0 victory. The result meant Arsenal won the championship on goals scored.
Following the end of the season, an inquiry, headed by Lord Taylor was set up to establish the causes of the Hillsborough disaster. The subsequent Taylor Report, found that failure of place control was the main reason for the disaster and recommended that major stadia remove terracing and become all-seater stadia. Liverpool started the 1989–90 season in good form, which included a 9–0 victory over newly promoted Crystal Palace. Eight different players scored for the club, the only time this has occurred in English football.
The club suffered a blip in October and November when they lost four games, but they recovered to go unbeaten until a 1–0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur in March. Following the match Liverpool signed forward Ronny Rosenthal on loan from Standard Liège to boost their attacking options.
His impact was immediate, he scored seven goals in eight appearances, including a hat-trick against Charlton Athletic to help Liverpool to their eighteenth league championship. The club progressed to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, but they were unable to defend the trophy, losing 4–3 to Crystal Palace after extra time.
The History: 1959 - 1985
Liverpool were in the Second Division when Shankly arrived. He decided to overhaul the team, releasing 24 players and converting a boot storage room into a meeting place where he and his coaches discussed strategy. Shankly's appointment led to a revival in the club's fortunes, as Liverpool were promoted to the First Division after winning the Second Division in the 1961–62 season. Two seasons later the club won its first League championship since 1946–47, qualifying Liverpool to compete in Europe for the first time. The next season Liverpool won their first FA Cup. They won a further League championship in the 1965–66 season, but it was not until 1972–73 that Liverpool won another trophy, when they regained the league championship and won the UEFA Cup, their first European trophy. The following season the club won the FA Cup in what was Shankly's final year as manager. He was replaced by his assistant, Bob Paisley.
Paisley's appointment ushered in the most successful period in the club's history. Liverpool finished second in the 1974–75 season, Paisley's first in charge, and won the League championship and UEFA Cup the following season. Liverpool won the European Cup in the 1976–77 season and retained it the following season, the first English club to do so. Further success followed with successive League championships in the 1978–79 and 1979–80 seasons. The club won a third European Cup in 1981 when they beat Real Madrid 1–0. Paisley won a further two League championships before retiring at the end of the 1982–83 season, to be replaced by his assistant, Joe Fagan. During Paisley's tenure the club won 21 trophies.
Liverpool won an unprecedented treble of trophies during Fagan's first season as manager, winning the League championship for the third year in succession, the Football League Cup for the fourth year in succession and a fourth European Cup, defeating Roma. The following season was less successful as the club was involved in one of the worst disasters to occur at a football stadium. Before the start of the 1985 European Cup Final against Juventus, 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 incident became known as the Heysel Stadium disaster and resulted in the expulsion of English clubs from European competition for five years.
Shankly became manager midway through the 1959–60 season, when the club was in the Second Division. During his first season in charge Shankly gave debuts to two players: Ian Callaghan, who became the club's record appearance maker and Roger Hunt who went on to become the club's leading goal-scorer in the League. Despite their introduction Shankly's impact was not immediate, as the club finished the season in third place, outside the promotion spots. Shankly had been musing on which players to keep and which to move on, and he eventually decided that 24 players should be released; by the end of his first season they had all left the club. Shankly retained the existing back room staff, and converted a boot storage room into a meeting place where he and his coaches could discuss strategy. The "Boot Room", as it came to be known, was to be an integral part of the club's future success.
The club again finished third the following season, despite a run of 14 games without defeat; five defeats in the opening 11 matches cost Liverpool the chance of promotion. The following season new signings Ian St. John and Ron Yeats helped the club win promotion to the First Division; they won the Second Division with 62 points, and were unbeaten at their home ground Anfield all season. Liverpool were back in the First Division for the first time in eight years during the 1962–63 season. Despite an uneasy start, they began to find their feet in the division, and on the back of an unbeaten run that ended in March they had risen to fourth place. They also reached their first FA Cup semi-final since 1950, but were defeated 1–0 by Leicester City. Liverpool's form subsequently suffered, and a poor run of results including a 7–2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur saw the club finish the season in 8th place.
The following season Shankly's rebuilding of the team came to fruition. He signed Peter Thompson from Preston North End to provide the side with much needed width. The 1963–64 season started poorly, with only nine points from the first nine games. A 2–1 victory over Everton, their first since 1950, provided the impetus for Liverpool's move up the table. They amassed 47 points from their next 30 games to secure their sixth League championship. Success led to the average attendance at Anfield increasing to more than 50,000. The fans also became more vocal, and it was around this time that the fans on the Kop adopted You'll Never Walk Alone as their anthem.
Liverpool's League championship qualified them to compete in European competition for the first time, in the 1964–65 European Cup. They reached the semi-finals, but were beaten by Italian club Inter Milan. The tie was not without controversy; Shankly felt that the referee showed bias towards the Italians, as he had allowed questionable goals by the Italians to stand. Liverpool's form in the European Cup carried over into the FA Cup, in which they reached the final against Leeds United. The game was goalless for the first 90 minutes, but Liverpool took the lead in extra time courtesy of a goal by Hunt. Leeds equalised shortly afterwards, but a St. John goal secured a 2–1 victory for Liverpool and their first FA Cup triumph. Liverpool's form in cup competitions did not translate to their performance in the League, as the defence of their championship ended with the club finishing in seventh place.
Victory in the FA Cup meant Liverpool would participate in the European Cup Winners' Cup during the 1965–66 season. They went one stage further than the previous season, as they reached the final where they faced German team Borussia Dortmund. The two sides were level at 1–1 at the end of 90 minutes and the match went into extra time. Liverpool were unable to score and conceded a goal to Dortmund, who won the match 2–1, to win the Cup Winners' Cup. Their defence of the FA Cup ended in the third round, with a defeat to Chelsea. Their lack of success in cup competitions was offset, as they regained the League championship on the last day of April, when they beat Chelsea, courtesy of two goals from Hunt.
The next few seasons were not as successful for Liverpool. A return to the European Cup in the 1966–67 season ended in the second round, where they were eliminated by Dutch side Ajax 7–3 on aggregate. The League campaign was equally disappointing, with the team finishing the season in fifth place. One significant event during the season was the arrival of future team captain Emlyn Hughes from Blackpool for £65,000.
The 1967–68 season started well, with Liverpool in second place by Christmas, three points behind Manchester United. An accumulation of matches due to participation in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, FA Cup and Football League Cup impacted negatively on Liverpool's League form. They finished the season in third place behind winners Manchester City. The 59 games Liverpool played during the season, did not result in success. The furthest the club progressed in any competition was to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
The following season saw an improvement in League form, but there was no reward. Poor performances in the cup competitions meant that Liverpool had less fixture congestion than the previous season, but that did not translate into a League championship as they finished in second place, six points behind Leeds United. Shankly's team was beginning to age, and a number of players had been moved on or retired. Gerry Byrne, who had been the club's left back for a number of seasons, retired after making 273 League appearances. Shankly now had the task of replacing the players in his squad. He started the process with the purchase of Hughes and then Ray Clemence the season before, but his signings did not always work out. Tony Hateley was signed for a record of fee of £96,000 from Chelsea, but injury and poor form meant he was sold to Coventry City after a year. During the 1968–69 season Shankly signed Alun Evans for £100,000 from Wolverhampton Wanderers, a record fee for a teenager at the time. Despite a good start, Evans suffered a series of injuries that cut his career short.
The 1969–70 season was the beginning of a transitional period for Liverpool, as a number of players including Hunt, St. John and Yeats made their last appearances for the club. A sixth-round loss to Watford in the FA Cup convinced Shankly that some of his older players should be moved on. Liverpool nevertheless started the season well, and were unbeaten in their first ten League matches until a 1–0 defeat by Manchester United. But they were unable to maintain their early season form and eventually finished in fifth place. Success in the other cup competitions was not forthcoming, as Liverpool exited in the early rounds of the Football League Cup and Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
Shankly's new squad began to take shape during the 1970–71 season, with many of the young players he had signed playing in the first team. As a result, the average of the team was 22. Players such as Clemence, Larry Lloyd, Alec Lindsay and Steve Heighway, who was signed towards the end of the season, began to establish themselves in the team. John Toshack was also signed from Cardiff City to replace Hunt. Liverpool were unable to improve upon the previous season's League position, finishing in fifth place, but they had more success in cup competitions. They reached the semi-finals of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, but lost to Leeds United over two-legs. Liverpool progressed to the final of the FA Cup against Arsenal. Despite Liverpool taking the lead in extra time after a goalless 90 minutes, Arsenal won the match 2–1 to complete a League and cup double.
Before the final against Arsenal, Shankly signed Kevin Keegan from Scunthorpe United. Keegan became a key player for Liverpool and his impact was immediate, as he scored 12 minutes into his Liverpool debut. The addition of Keegan almost helped Liverpool to the League championship. They went into the final day of the season a point behind Derby County, who had already finished their campaign, but were unable to secure the victory they needed against Arsenal to win the League, finishing in third place. The 1972–73 season was when Shankly's new Liverpool team delivered, winning the League and the club's first European trophy, the UEFA Cup. They started the season well and were top of the League after a 5–0 victory over Sheffield United. They maintained that position throughout the remainder of the season, securing the League championship after a win over Leeds United on Easter Monday. It was the club's eighth League title, equalling the record held by Arsenal. Further success followed in the UEFA Cup, as the club reached the final against German team Borussia Mönchengladbach. A 3–0 victory in the first leg and a 2–0 loss in the second leg, meant Liverpool won the tie 3–2 on aggregate to win their first European trophy, and become the first English team to win the League and a European trophy in the same season.
The biggest change to Anfield in recent years occurred in 1973, as the old Main Stand was demolished and a new one constructed. The stand was officially opened by the Duke of Kent on 10 March 1973. Their triumph in the League meant Liverpool would compete in the 1973–74 European Cup. They were not as successful as the previous season and were eliminated in the second round by Yugoslav team Red Star Belgrade. Liverpool made a poor start to their League campaign, losing early on to Coventry City and Derby County, as opposed to Leeds United who won 23 points from a possible 26 to go top. Liverpool reduced the gap, but a poor end to the season, during which they won only one of their last eight matches, meant they finished second to Leeds. Despite their lack of success in other competitions, Liverpool reached the final of the FA Cup against Newcastle United, winning the match 3–0 to win the cup for the second time. Shankly bought Ray Kennedy from Arsenal at the end of the season, his last act as Liverpool manager; he resigned soon afterwards and was replaced by his assistant Bob Paisley.
Paisley's tenure began at the start of the 1974–75 season, which started well; Liverpool were unbeaten in their first six League matches and recorded their biggest ever win, when they beat Strømsgodset 11–0 in the 1974–75 European Cup Winners' Cup. Liverpool were nevertheless knocked out by Hungarian side Ferencváros on the away goals rule in the next round. The club's participation in domestic cup competitions ended early as well, exiting in the fourth round in the FA Cup and Football League Cup. Liverpool's good start to the season in the League could not be sustained and they eventually finished in second place. Paisley made some important signings during the course of the season. He signed Phil Neal, Terry McDermott and Jimmy Case, who would become regulars in the successful team that Paisley was to build.
The 1975–76 season did not start well, as Liverpool lost their first match of the season to Queens Park Rangers 2–0. Their form had not improved by mid-October, by which time they had won only six of their first twelve matches. Liverpool's form picked up in the second half of the season; a late-season run in which they dropped only one point in nine matches left them a point behind Queens Park Rangers going into the their final match of the season. Victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers would secure the League championship, as Queens Park Rangers had already finished their league campaign. The match did not start well, and Liverpool were a goal behind at half-time, but Liverpool won the match 3–1 with three second-half goals to take the League championship. Liverpool exited early from the FA Cup and League Cup but fared better in Europe, where they progressed to the final of the UEFA Cup. A 4–3 aggregate victory over Belgian team Club Brugge meant the club won the trophy for the second time.
Liverpool began the 1976–77 season in good form, losing only two of their first sixteen games in the League, a run that put them top by September. A blip during the Christmas period, which included a 5–1 defeat to Aston Villa, did not prevent Liverpool from winning their tenth League championship. Liverpool were again successful in Europe, reaching the final of the European Cup for the first time and beating Borussia Mönchengladbach 3–1 to become champions of Europe. Victory in the final of the FA Cup against Manchester United would have secured an unprecedented treble of trophies, but Liverpool lost the match 2–1.
Keegan had been sold to Hamburg for £500,000 before the start of the 1977–78 season. Kenny Dalglish, whom Paisley signed as Keegan's replacement from Celtic, would be instrumental in the club's success over the coming seasons. His impact was immediate, as he scored 20 goals in 42 league games. His most important contribution was scoring the winning goal in Liverpool's 1–0 victory over Club Brugge in the 1978 European Cup Final, as the club retained the trophy, becoming the first British team to do so. Despite their success in Europe, Liverpool were unsuccessful in domestic competitions. They finished seven points behind Nottingham Forest in the League, who were also their opponents in the 1978 Football League Cup Final. After ending goalless the match went to a replay, which Forest won 1–0.
Liverpool started the 1978–79 season in contrasting fashion. They were drawn against Nottingham Forest in the first round of the European Cup and were eliminated after a 2–0 aggregate defeat. There was also an early exit from the League Cup, as they lost 1–0 to Sheffield United in the second round. But those setbacks were offset by Liverpool's start in the League, where they won their first six games and did not lose until their twelfth, when Everton beat them 1–0. Their form continued over the season and they won the League by eight points from Nottingham Forest. Their performance in the League broke a number of records; the 68 points they gained during the season beat the 67 earned by Leeds United in the 1968–69 season. The 16 goals conceded all season was another new record.
Liverpool maintained their League form into the 1979–80 season, and retained the League championship. Early defeats to Southampton and Nottingham Forest did not set the team back, once they topped the table in January they stayed there for the remainder of the season. A 4–1 victory over Aston Villa in the penultimate game of the season secured the League championship. Key to the club's success was their home form; they were unbeaten at Anfield all season, conceding eight goals. Despite their impressive form in the League it did not translate to Europe, as Liverpool were knocked out in the first round of the European Cup by Soviet team Dinamo Tbilisi. They fared better in the FA Cup and League Cup, but were unable to progress past the semi-final stage in either competition. The 1980–81 season was a contrast to previous seasons as the club struggled in the League, but excelled in cup competitions. Despite losing eight games, the same as eventual winners Aston Villa, Liverpool drew seventeen to finish in fifth place, their worst position for sixteen years. Liverpool's form in the cups was much better; despite an early exit in the FA Cup, they reached the finals of the League Cup and European Cup. They won the League Cup for the first time, beating West Ham United 2–1 in a replay, after the first match ended in a draw. Real Madrid were their opponents in the 1981 European Cup Final, as Liverpool won the cup for the third time thanks to an Alan Kennedy goal.
Triumph and tragedy
Following their fifth-place finish in the League the previous season Liverpool were eager to regain the League championship. Their goalkeeper, Clemence, had signed for Tottenham Hotspur and been replaced by Bruce Grobbelaar. Liverpool did not perform well in their early games, losing their first match and drawing several others. Their poor form continued, and by the end of December they had won only six out of seventeen games played and were in the lower half of the League. Their form in the second half of the season improved, and a run of 11 successive wins towards the end of the season meant they won the League by four points from Ipswich Town. Liverpool retained their League championship in the 1982–83 season, winning the League by 11 points from Watford, despite a run of five defeats and two draws in their last seven games. Liverpool exited the FA Cup and European Cup in the fifth round and quarter-finals respectively, but there was success in the League Cup. A 2–1 victory over Manchester United in the final meant Liverpool won the competition for the third year in succession. At the end of the season, Paisley announced that he would be stepping down as manager; he had won six League championships, three European Cups and League Cups during his reign, the most successful manager in the club's history. He was replaced by his assistant Joe Fagan.
The 1983–84 season was one of unprecedented success for Liverpool, as they won three competitions to secure a unique treble of trophies. The club did not begin the season in good form, but by November they were top of the table and stayed there to win the League by three points from Southampton. As a result, they equalled the record of three consecutive League championships held by Huddersfield Town and Arsenal. Key to their success was striker Ian Rush, who scored 32 goals during the league campaign, including a further 13 in other competitions. Liverpool again reached the final of the League Cup where they faced Everton. A 0–0 draw in the first match at Wembley meant that the match was replayed at Maine Road the next week. A Graeme Souness goal secured a 1–0 victory and the club's fourth successive League Cup victory. Liverpool performed well in Europe, reaching the final of the European Cup. They faced Roma in their home stadium the Stadio Olimpico. A 1–1 draw after 90 minutes and extra time meant the match went to a penalty shoot-out, which Liverpool won. Alan Kennedy scoring the winning penalty after Grobbelaar had distracted Roma player Francesco Graziani, causing him to miss his own penalty.
Fagan's second season in charge was not so successful, as Liverpool finished the season without a trophy for the first time in nine years. The defence of their League championship was all but over in October, when Liverpool were in the relegation zone. The club's form picked up afterwards, but they were unable to catch Everton, and finished thirteen points behind in second place. The defence of the League Cup ended in the third round, although the club reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing to Manchester United. Liverpool reached their fifth European Cup final against Juventus, but events off the pitch would overshadow events on it. Before the start of the match Liverpool fans breached a fence separating the two sets of supporters. As the Juventus fans fled to safety, the accumulation of people against a perimeter wall caused it to collapse, killing 39 fans, most of whom were Italians. The collapse of the wall led to rioting by Juventus fans at the other end of the ground. As a result the match was delayed by two hours, but was played regardless, as it was feared the abandonment of the match would lead to further violence. Juventus won the match 1–0.
In the aftermath of the match, the blame for the disaster was laid on the Liverpool fans. UEFA official Gunter Schneider stated, "Only the English fans were responsible. Of that there is no doubt." As a result The Football Association withdrew English clubs from European competition, two days later UEFA banned English clubs for "an indeterminate period of time". A condition was added, stipulating Liverpool would serve an additional three-year ban when the ban was lifted. Fagan resigned after match, he was replaced by Dalglish, who became the club's first player-manager.
- League First Division:
- 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
- Second Division:
- 1893–94, 1895–96, 1904–05, 1961–62
- Lancashire League:
- FA Cup:
- 1964–65, 1973–74, 1985–86, 1988–89, 1991–92, 2000–01, 2005–06
- League Cup:
- 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1994–95, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2011–12
- FA Charity/Community Shield:
- 1964*, 1965*, 1966, 1974, 1976, 1977*, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1986*, 1988, 1989, 1990*, 2001, 2006
- *indicate shared title
- European Cup / UEFA Champions League:
- 1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81, 1983–84, 2004–05, 2018-19
- UEFA Cup:
- 1972–73, 1975–76, 2000–01
- UEFA Super Cup:
- 1977, 2001, 2005
Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush - possibly the finest strike partnership ever to play for Liverpool and between them they ran riot for much of the 1980's. If ever there was a player to strike fear into the hearts of Evertonians it was Rushy, and with 25 goals in 36 Merseyside Derbies, he is without doubt the single biggest pain in the backside any Everton fan over 40 will care to remember.