The silverware on display at Anfield is the most vivid proof of the domestic and European success of Liverpool Football Club. In 2005, Liverpool defeated AC Milan to win their 5th European Cup. In all those years of success right from the 1960s to the early 2000s, there have been certain things which have remained common throughout, one being the great hunger to succeed and secondly being the famous all Red Kit of the club.
In the mid-1950s Liverpool Football Club were a mediocre Second Division side but the arrival of one man would transform the club from top to bottom forever. William “Bill” Shankly became the manager of the club in 1959 having arrived from Huddersfield Town and set about in improving all aspects of the club.
Shankly started re-building the squad by buying new players and promoting the youth from within. They won the Second Division title in 1962 and in 1964, Liverpool won their first Division One title since 1947.
Bill Shankly usually used methods of psychology to train players and manage the tactics in the game. The master of psychology made one very significant change in 1964. Until 1964, Liverpool FC used to play in a red shirt and white shorts but Shankly decided to change the kit in order to intimidate the opponents, in came the famous all Red Kit with the liver bird crest on the shirt.
As then Liverpool centre-forward Ian St John mentioned in his autobiography, “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.
On November 25, 1964, Liverpool played in this kit for the first time against Belgian side Anderlecht at Anfield in the European Cup. Liverpool ran out 3-0 victors with Ian St John and Ron Yeats fittingly scoring the goals along with Roger Hunt.
Liverpool finished 7th that season in the First Division but reached the FA Cup Final for the first time since 1950. They faced Leeds United in the final at Wembley and went on to win their first FA Cup ever with the help of a 2-1 win after extra time. This was the first piece of silverware Liverpool won in their new all Red strip.
Liverpool won another two league titles, one UEFA Cup and one FA Cup in 1974, which was Shankly’s last major piece of silverware as Liverpool’s boss before stepping down from the job. His assistant, Bob Paisley took over as the Liverpool manager.
What followed was the club’s greatest spell of success and dominance never before seen in the English game. Bob Paisley guided the club to an impressive 6 league titles, 3 League Cup wins and one UEFA Cup triumph against Belgian side Club Brugge. But more importantly Paisley lead the side to three European Cups, winning the trophy in 1977 against Borussia Monchengladbach, 1978 against Club Brugge and in 1981 against Real Madrid.
Another European Cup was later won in 1984 against Italian side AS Roma under the management of Joe Fagan and then later several other trophies were won under the management of Kenny Dalglish, Gerard Houllier and under Rafael Benitez where the club won the 2005 Champions League Final against AC Milan in Istanbul, their fifth European Cup, the most won by any English Club.
Liverpool have so far won 18 League Titles, 5 European Cups, 7 FA Cups, 8 League Cups, 3 UEFA Cups and 3 UEFA Super Cups.
The players changed, the managers changed, the club owners changed but one thing has remained constant throughout the highs and the lows of the club and that is the clubs’ traditional all Red Kit. It was started as a trial which later went on to become one of the most iconic and known football kit in the world.
Liverpool Football Club has Bill Shankly to thank for this famous kit while fans would be hoping that the iconic kit will see more trophies and success under the management of Jurgen Klopp.
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