Liverpool Football Club is one of England’s most successful football teams, an accolade only rivalled by their arch nemesis in nearby Manchester. During their incredible 126 years of playing, Liverpool have won numerous trophies and formed one of the largest and passionate fanbases in the whole of sport. But do you know the timeline of how the club came to be what it is today?

Brush up on your knowledge of Liverpool FC with a quick history lesson of how the club came to be so successful…

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1892-1959 – The Early Years

The history of Liverpool Football Club begins all the way back in 1892 when Everton president John Houlding departs to form a new club. The club’s legacy kicked off with an emphatic 7-1 friendly win over Rotherham in September 1892, followed by an 8-0 victory in their first competitive match two days later.

Liverpool first adopted their famous red and white colours in 1896 and claimed their first title win in the First Division on April 29, 1901. After winning a second title just five years later, the iconic Spion Kop was formed, a stand that would later be expanded to hold 30,000 spectators in 1928. The club achieved more league success shortly after the end of World War II but in the following years a downfall had begun to set in, ultimately culminating in relegation to the Second Division.

1959-1974 – Bill Shankly Lays the Foundations

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Thursday, August 5, 2010: A statue of Liverpool’s legendary manager Bill Shankly outside Anfield. (Pic by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bill Shankly was appointed Liverpool’s new manager in 1959, a man of the people who would become a historic figure for the club and even the city. The charismatic scotsman commenced life at Anfield with a heavy defeat to Cardiff but secured promotion to the First Division in 1962. Back where they belong, it only took Shankly a further two years to guide the team to a title following a 17-year drought.

Remembered for his eloquent speeches and socialist views, Bill Shankly shared a special relationship with the supporters and repeatedly emphasised their role at being the heart and soul of the club. Shankly won 10 trophies during his time at Anfield but it was the foundations he laid that would lead to Liverpool’s dominance in the years to come.

1974-1991 – An Era of Dominance

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND. TUESDAY, MAY 3rd, 2005: Liverpool’s fans with banner reading ‘Paisley Won It 3 Times, Fagan Made It 4, Rafa Leads the Reds, Another ?por Favor?’ against Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final 2nd Leg at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite shocking the football world with his resignation, Liverpool didn’t let Bill Shankly’s departure affect them. In fact, the 1970s and 1980s saw the club experience their most successful spell and their most successful manager in Bob Paisley. Paisley oversaw an abundance of success including 6 League Titles, 3 European Cups and 9 domestic trophies.

Kop hero Kenny Dalglish, also known as ‘King Kenny’ by the Anfield faithful, was appointed as player-manager in 1985 and made an instant impact by winning the league and FA Cup in his first season. Liverpool’s attacking and entertaining football was praised by all across the sport, and they even enjoyed a spell of 37 games unbeaten.

1991-2001 – The Decline Begins

Roy Evans shouts instructions to his Liverpool side.

The shock resignation of Kenny Dalglish would spark the end of Liverpool’s dominance and the beginning of a long wait for a league title. Graeme Sourness, another of the club’s legendary players, succeeded as manager but his stay lasted just three years after a disappointing time in charge. Bootle-born Roy Evans rose from the coaching ranks to take over but after a hopeful first season, the following years failed to show signs of improvement.

Liverpool ultimately shifted their attention overseas and appointed Frenchman Gerard Houllier in the autumn of 1998. The first few years of Houllier’s reign wasn’t met with honours but did see the rise of local talent such as Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler.

2001-2015 – Joy, Despair and False Dawns

CARDIFF – MARCH 2, 2003: Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier celebrates winning the Worthington Cup during the Worthington Cup Final between Liverpool and Manchester United held on March 2, 2003 at the Millennium Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales. Liverpool won the match and final 2-0. (Photo By Phil Cole/Getty Images)

The turn of the century saw Liverpool enjoy their most successful season in a long time having achieved the treble; UEFA Cup, FA Cup & League Cup. Despite this success, following years failed to capitalize and Houllier was replaced with Rafael Benitez in 2004. It didn’t take long for Benitez to make a name for himself, achieving the incredible feat of winning Liverpool’s fifth European Cup in his first season in charge.

Benitez’s tenure was soon marred by off-the-field antics with the arrival of new owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks, which led to him being replaced by Roy Hodgson in 2010. Following a legal battle, Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool FC and would later sack Hodgson in favour for the the return of Kenny Dalglish. Dalglish brought silverware back to Anfield in the form of the League Cup but this wasn’t considered enough to save his job. His successor came close to winning the Premier League title but Brendan Rodger’s impact gradually diminished with the loss of key players.

2015 to Present – Glory Days Are Ahead


LEICESTER, ENGLAND – Saturday, September 23, 2017: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the 3-2 victory during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp’s arrival in October 2015 was met with universal excitement due to his success with German side Borussia Dortmund. The boisterous manager made an immediate impact, revitalising the supporter’s expectations and atmosphere, and earning a trip to a Europa League final. Off the field, Liverpool FC was in its strongest position in years having finalised smart commercial deals and completed a significant expansion to the Main Stand.

Fenway Sports Group have shown no lack of effort in supporting Klopp having sanctioned record-breaking transfer deals to improve the spine of the team, including stars such as Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk and Allisson Becker. Having cemented their place in Europe once more, expectations are higher than ever and there is a growing belief that they are the team ready to take the Premier League title from Manchester City this season.

Explorer the History of LFC with a Bus Tour

Are you looking for the very best way to discover the history of Liverpool Football Club while taking in the sights of a magnificent city? The LFC City Explorer tour bus is the perfect option for you to consider.

This open top bus takes you on a tour throughout the city of Liverpool, allowing you to hop on and hop off at designated stops. Beginning at the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, you will be able to visit the Shankly Museum and catch stunning views of the city from Everton Park before stopping outside the famous Anfield Stadium.

About The Author

Freelance writer and passionate Liverpool supporter from Northern Ireland. Married to the beautiful Christine. Feel free to get in touch on Twitter - YNWA.

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