The History Of Liverpool Football Club

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Published by Chris Jenkins
17th Dec 2021
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Liverpool is one of the most famous and popular football clubs in the world. They have a huge fan base due to the success that they have achieved through the years, and this doesn’t look set to diminish any time soon.

The club is tied into the history of football as a whole in all sorts of ways and has been involved in some of the most incredible moments on and off the pitch.

But how did a team from a small docking city in the North West of England go on to become one of the biggest superpowers in world football? In this article, we’re going to take a look at the history of Liverpool football club and how they got to where they are now.

 

The Beginning

Everton FC originally played at Anfield, but due to disagreements with the club president John Houlding, they left and moved to Goodison Park. This left Houlding with a football ground but no football team to play in it.

This is why he decided to create Liverpool FC, which became an official member of the football league in 1893. It didn’t take long for Liverpool to start performing at the top level. They were promoted to the top division within a season.

They then went on to win the league title in 1901, 1906, 1922, and 1923. For years, they were one of the top clubs in England, but after WW2 things started to go downhill.

 

Post WW2 Decline And The Bill Shankly Rise

Liverpool won the league title in 1947 but then began to decline. This period of mediocrity and failure led to the club being relegated to the second division in 1954.

Bill Shankly joined the club in 1959 and employed some unorthodox but effective methods. He got rid of the whole first-team squad and was a no-nonsense manager. He also created the famous “boot room”. This was previously the club storage room, but Shankly turned it into a secret meeting place for coaches.

Many of the traditions Shankly introduced at LFC continue to this day, and he is an integral part of the club's rich history. After a few years, the club returned to the top flight of football in 1962. Two years later, they went on to win the title.

Shankly’s reign as Liverpool manager was one of the most successful and memorable managerial stints in history and informed much of the modern game. Under him, they won 3 league titles, 2 FA Cups, 4 charity shields, and 1 UEFA cup.

When speaking about his vision for the club in retrospect, Shankly said “My idea was to build Liverpool into a bastion of invincibility. Had Napoleon had that idea he would have conquered the bloody world. My idea was to build Liverpool up and up until eventually everyone would have to submit and give in”.

In many respects, he did this before passing the baton to a member of his coaching staff, Bob Paisley. In this time at the club, he had undoubtedly built the foundations for the success that would follow.

 

Bob Paisley Era

Under Bob Paisley, Liverpool’s dominance continued. He was in charge for 9 years, and during this time Liverpool managed to win 6 League titles, 3 League cups, 1 UEFA Cup, and 3 European cups.

It’s fair to say that Liverpool was one of the best football clubs in the world throughout the 70s and that Shankly’s mark remained on the club, with Bob Paisley taking them to new heights.

Another member of Shankly’s former coaching staff now sat alongside Paisley: Joe Fagan. After Paisley’s departure in 1983, Joe Fagan continued the tradition. He won the treble during his first season in charge. In fact, this saw Liverpool become the first English side to win 3 trophies during a single season.

 

Disaster Strikes

The success and glory Liverpool felt throughout the 70s and 80s was about to be blighted by a dark patch. During the European Cup final of 1985, the weight of fans in Heysel stadium resulted in a wall collapsing and killing 39 supporters. Officials allowed the match to continue despite protests from the managers.

By this point, Fagan had left and Kenny Dalglish had taken over. The success of the club continued, but all English clubs had been banned from European competitions after the Heysel disaster.

Tragedy struck again in 1989 at Hillsborough, where 97 Liverpool fans died due to a failure of police control. 94 people died that day, with a further 3 passing away from the injuries they sustained.

This terrible incident led to a review on stadium safety that has ensured further incidents such as this are not allowed to happen.

 

Struggle For Success

Liverpool legend Dalglish resigned in 1991, largely due to this disaster. He was replaced by Graeme Souness, who struggled to deliver the results that Liverpool had become famous for.

Throughout the 90s, Liverpool still fielded some amazing teams and managed to win a few domestic trophies, but their dominance was not quite the same as it once was. They challenged for the title a few times in this era but never quite got there.

 

Return To Glory

Liverpool’s fortunes began to change when Gerard Houllier took over in 1998. He guided them to a treble during his second season in charge, winning the FA Cup, the League Cup, and the UEFA Cup.

Houllier was well-liked by fans and a popular manager but had to leave in 2004 after some health concerns. He was replaced by Rafa Benitez. Benitez took Liverpool back to European glory, winning the Champions League in 2005 in one of the most incredible football matches of all time.

This success laid the foundations for the modern Liverpool team. Whilst the club continued to struggle, under Jurgen Klopp, they have found their feet and become a powerhouse once more.