When word first leaked that Warrior and not adidas would be making Liverpool's kit in coming seasons, some reacted with skepticism. After all, adidas have a long history in football—and just as importantly, a long history of supplying Liverpool kits. Warrior, on the other hand, is an offshoot of New Balance known for lacrosse and hockey equipment, and their deal with Liverpool represents their first foray into the world's most popular game. Turns out that at least for the home strip there was nothing to worry about…
* Before we get to the kit, though, there are a few quick notes to cover involving players who may find themselves wearing it next season, and first up on that front is Andy Carroll. Liverpool fans have certainly noticed his improved form and effectiveness over the past month, culminating in an appearance off the bench against Chelsea in the FA Cup final that radically changed the game and then a subsequent start against the same side in the league where he was again highly effective. Others, though, have noticed it too, and that has led to talk that he should be in Roy Hodgson's plans for this summer's European Championship.
One of the people who thinks this is teammate Glen Johnson, who rather intriguingly hints that Carroll's teammates also believe they've seen a change in the big striker's game in recent weeks:
In the last few weeks, Andy has been fantastic. He is unplayable. Chelsea have two big centre-halves and he has thrown them around. Andy looks like he is quicker and is working a lot harder.
You could see John Terry was petrified at times. Andy is a big lump but he's good on the ball and works very hard. He will scare a lot of defenders.
All in all, it doesn't sound far off what most fans would say about Carroll—right down to the implication that there's been something very different about the striker of late. In any case, on current form it does seem increasingly likely that Carroll could find himself included in England's Euro squad. And though Liverpool players and international duty can at times be a sore point for many of the club's fans, in this case it's hard to imagine anything better for Carroll's continued development than further minutes against top competition.
* If most will be pleased by the idea of Carroll heading to Poland and Ukraine this summer for the European Championships, far fewer will be happy to find that Craig Bellamy has been called up by Wales for a meaningless friendly against Mexico set to take place in the United States after the domestic season. With Wales out of the Euros and Bellamy captaining the side in the recent Gary Speed memorial match, most had assumed the 32-year-old had all but officially retired from international duty. Now, however, it appears he may end up involved in Wales' efforts to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
In today's latest breaking news from the future, Wales will not qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Though of course, since Craig Bellamy is Craig Bellamy, one can understand why he would be determined to try and make that happen even if every Liverpool fan would have preferred he spend the summer sitting on the couch with a couple of ice packs.
* Last but not least, Liverpool and Warrior have revealed the club's new home kit for the 2012-13 season, and it's exactly what we've known it would be for months—and that's hardly a bad thing. Red, red, and more red, doing away with superfluous piping and frills, replacing white with gold as the secondary colour, putting "96" on the back of the neck, and wrapping it all up with a y-neck and collar? All entirely expected and not the least bit surprising. In fact, perhaps the only aspect of the new kit that hadn't been covered previously is a subtle use of pinstriping, a choice that only adds to an already fantastic offering from a manufacturer making their debut in football.
The entire package seems an obvious throwback to the 70s and early 80s, and nowhere is this more clear than in the choice to return to the classic, unadorned liverbird as the crest. The over-designed mess currently in use dates back to the early nineties, an attempt to ensure the club's ability to enforce copyright when the liverbird itself is in the public domain. The inclusion of the club's initials at the bottom of the new-but-old crest seen on next season's Warrior kit should cover for concerns on that front while allowing a return to a logo very much like the one Liverpool wore during the club's most successful period. In any case, all most fans will be concerned about is the final product, and in this case it's a final product that's very hard to find fault with.
Whatever the club's relationship with Warrior might end up being down the road, for today all that really matters is that they've given the club its best home kit in ages—perhaps the best they've had in the Premier League era, and certainly better than anything supplied by adidas in their latest run. And they're paying the club an English record fee for the privilege to boot. All in all that's not a bad deal if you can get it.
We'll be back with any breaking news, but in the meantime, while you try to figure out where to get your own Spartan helmet and shield to go along with the new home shirt…