After having professed my love for footy shirts and playing a Caesar-like thumbs up/thumbs down routine in my last post, I thought I might expound on that idea in more Liverpool-centric terms. Reference was made to two of our recent jerseys ranking among my favorites, which then raised the question (okay, ‘barely suggested’), where do the rest of them rank?
What, in my opinion, are the best-looking Liverpool kits of all-time?
While this is usually the sort of topic one might roll out in conjunction with the release of a new kit, that’s not the case here. Yes, the new third jersey will officially be released on August 16th, but we all already know what that abortion of a shirt looks like. So, ignoring that travesty, I’ll instead dedicate my Top Ten Liverpool Kits to the upcoming season.
This jersey, along with most of the ones from the 70’s, came close to cracking the Top Ten, but just couldn’t do it. I may actually like this kit more now than I did when Liverpool were actually wearing it. I flirted with the idea of buying it, but my friend Johnny had one and it wasn’t as impressive in person. In fact, just seeing it at pick-up games a twice a month was good enough for me.
However, Liverpool do look sharp in black (or even charcoal as this seemed to be) and I think it’s a color that could be utilized better in the years to come. Sadly, this season’s new black third kit was designed by a kindergartener on the wrong side of a sugar high.
While this top flirted with ugly (something adidas rectified with the 1991 Arsenal away shirt), its unique pattern managed to walk on the correct side of that fine line between ‘attractive’ and’ horror show’. Yet, it holds a special place in my heart (and, hence, the Top Ten) because this jersey came out about the same time I got my introduction to Liverpool Football Club through HomeTeamSports’ weekly airings of the old English First Division.
Interestingly enough, this jersey has found new life. Adidas has reissued it upon their return as Liverpool’s kit maker. Not shockingly, you can buy it here.
The 2005 Champions League winning shirt. Winning Number 5 in this jersey made it an instant classic status. Yet, my attraction to this shirt is in its simplicity; a nod to simpler kits of the past, with a splash of white (which I’ve made my peace with) which affords it a modern uniqueness.
While the grey-ness of the kit almost disqualified it, the shiny triangular patterns capture my attention (much like a curious monkey). The red and grey contrast nicely, but I’m also a sucker for the pre-Centenary badge and the old-school adidas trefoil. It stood out nicely from the red, white and yellow kits of the 80’s.
While this is a familiar white away kit, it found its way into the Top Ten by virtue of its distinct stripes. Unlike later versions, the three red stripes don’t continue run from the neck and down the sleeve, instead stopping short, only covering the shoulder area. It also features the older ‘LFC’ badge and inlaid Liverbirds in the shirt’s vertical striping.
All things being equal, I find the ‘Candy’ shirt sponsorship to be more aethestically pleasing and would probably replace this version with the 1987 away shirt, but figured the ‘Crown Paints’ era deserved some love.
(and look, a skinny Molby!)
This kit signaled the return of adidas as Liverpool’s kit manufactor and after some spotty Reebok shirts (with one exception), it was a welcome one at that. There isn’t too much to this shirt besides a sea of red with a simple white outline of the front. Hell, I even like the collar and historically I haven’t been a fan of collars on soccer shirts.
The familar three stripes are a welcome re-addition and hopefully suggest that history does, and will, indeed repeat itself. Depending on the outcome of this season, this kit could rocket up up the charts by next summer.
In my mind’s eye, this is THE Liverpool jersey. It’s harkens back the golden days with a legendary squad filled with names like Grobbleaar, Hansen, Barnes, Dalglish, Houghton, McMahon, Molby, Aldridge and Beardsley (Albeit, with one conspicious absence). It’s a classic shirt; simple and predominatly red with the proper amount of white.
But, since I have to include a picture of Rushie wearing the ‘Candy’ shirt, the 87-88 home shirt will have to share the honors with the 88-89 home shirt, which was the same except for the change in shirt sponsor.
The only yellow kit on the list and one of the classiest. The red pinstripes give it a phenomenal look as does the extra thick v-neck collar. I actually wish I owned this shirt and that is an oversight I will have to rectify in the near future.
I’d love to see a updated version of this kit. Granted, this was an Umbro design but surely they don’t have a trademark on pinstripes? Lose the thick red bands at the end of the sleeves, make it a crew-collar and you’re in business. Are you listening, adidas?
While I’d gladly pull on any of the shirts in the Top Ten, the degree of seperation between the last three was razor thin. Deciding the order of the Top Three was exceedingly operose.
That said, I love this shirt. Like the 82-83 shirt, it’s the only of its color to make the list. Unlike the yellow shirt, which had plenty of fetching cousins, this green kit has no chromatic equal. While I agree with the majority of Liverpool fans who rally against the green, I will defend this particular green shirt to The End.
When adidas introduced their Equipment line, I thought it was the coolest single thing since my Dad had turned me on to Led Zeppelin. I loved the asymmetry of three stripes on the shoulder, I loved the ‘new’ (at the time) adidas emblem, I even loved the ugly shade of green. And for the record, I (obviously) still love it all.
The shorts weren’t too shabby either. As a kid, I can’t tell you how much time I spent wishing I could afford to buy a pair while perusing the wares at my local soccer store.
I should point out, though, that in the picture above, Torben Piechnik is actually wearing the centenary (92-93) shirt, which differed from the previous year’s because of the revamped badge, the adidas emblem moving under the collar and Carlsberg replacing Candy as the shirt sponsor.
(Frustratingly enough, that’s the only color picture I could find of a Liverpool player wearing that green adidas equipment kit. It’s almost as if all photographic evidence of that kit has up and vanished. Maybe everybody else doesn’t care for it as much as me?)
I love this kit for all the same reasons as its green counterpart. But it’s red, so that gives it the edge. What an exquisite shirt.
I have a daydream that one day I’m going to come across one of these Equipment jerseys at Goodwill, which somebody would have cast aside because it’s old and ‘useless’. Sadly, that dream hasn’t become reality. I just hope it’s one with the old badge.
Despite the attachments to the fancies of my youth, this shirt (which pre-dated my fandom) etched out the red Equipment shirt for 1st place.
If its yellow companion was classy, then this shirt was fucking royalty. White pinstripes, brilliantly capped by those lines eminating from the collar? A thick v-neck collar with a thin red highlight? Gold LFC badge and Umbro emblem? This kit is an utter stroke of genius. It’s really just as simple as that.
If I had to pick one kit for Liverpool to play in for the rest of eternity, this would be it. It’s a classic, but twenty-some years later, it’s just as sharp and beautiful.
SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP KITS?
WHERE DO THESE RANK WITH YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITES?
Finding images and information of old shirts, especially the away kits, turned out to be an arduous task. Luckily, I came across some excellent sites that were life-savers when it came to my research. In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, I found many of the pictures and data on these kits from the following sites:
LFC4EVER (German site)
And, I wish I had this book in my possession when I started to write this post. But, I’ll just have to treat myself to it at a later date.