We’ve talked about Liverpool’s best home kits and the best change kits this week. Now, it’s on to the bad ones. The worst ones. The eyesores. The ones we’ve tried to scrub from our collective memory and forget ever existed.
Though tastes may vary, we’re pretty sure these are the worst offerings from each of Liverpool’s five kit suppliers over the years—New Balance, Warrior, Adidas, Reebok, and Umbro—but let us know if we’ve missed your least favourite edition. Or if we really got one wrong and you love one that made the list!
New Balance 2016-17 Home
Depending on your personal taste, this might not be the worst of the worst from New Balance. After all, there was that neon green one that seemed better suited as a late night cycling shirt, and the heavy use of blue in the current away kit will always get marks against from a lot of Liverpool fans even if the design is hard to fault. Still, we’re going to lean into the idea that it should be hard to make a Liverpool home kit that doesn’t work, and just how much this one didn’t work even while trying to keep it simple gets it its place on the list. From the not quite right, slightly orange shade of red to more yellow than gold detailing, the colours just seemed a little off. Add in the single-button henley collar and shoulders that often sat like they were padded and you’ve got the worst home kit New Balance put out.
Umbro 1984-85 Away
It’s all relative. Umbro’s final away offering before Adidas took over in the 80s wouldn’t be the worst from any of the other makers—given how simple they tended to keep things at the time, it’s hard to get it that wrong. Still, a little like New Balance’s worst home kit, this is one that just didn’t quite come together. Especially as it followed a series of kits that remain all-time classics—one of which we picked as our best away offering from the manufacturer—by comparison the 1984-85 edition can’t help but suffer. The switch to alternating shades of yellow made the kit look a lot lighter in motion than previous versions, and the multiple stripes of the collar brought it out of balance with the rest of the kit. Still, it’s less that it’s bad and more that it’s simply worse than its predecessors that gets it its place here.
Warrior 2012-13 Away
Oh, Warrior. Warrior, Warrior, Warrior. Tribal patterns, pixelated digital camouflage, ugly-ass colour blocking. There’s so much bad to choose from it’s hard to know quite where to start. In the end, though, we’re going to go with the diving suit. Because of just how awful it was without any of those strange, superfluous design details the company liked to tack on. And because somebody, somewhere, looked at Reebok’s black and grey eyesore from 2002-03 and decided it needed a modern update, one that stayed true to its heritage by remaining fucking awful.
Adidas 1993-1995 Home
This wasn’t so much a Liverpool FC it as an Adidas FC kit. Which, if we’re being honest, has always been a bit of a criticism of Adidas kits—that while other makers have their badge on the front to identify them, Adidas has the badge along with a few miles of stripes to go with it. In the early 90s, though, they took things to the extreme, making their stripes massive while wrapping them over one shoulder and around one thigh. Then in 1993, deciding that wasn’t enough, they wrapped their oversized stripes around each side of the torso and both thighs. Just how over the top it was might have been easier to forgive if it hadn’t also looked quite so comprehensively terrible.
Reebok 2001-02 Away
Like Warrior, Reebok has a lot of kit sins to answer for, and while their first few years in charge were solid at times—and gave us our picks for both their best home and away offerings—around the turn of the millennium things got ugly. Pick any random Reebok kit from 2000 through 2006 and chances are it’s going to be not great. At best. And amongst that sea of not great, we’re going with the weird blue and white shoulder halter kit. It was just the second Liverpool kit since the 1890s to feature blue, and we were tempted to pick the first—Reebok’s own yellow and blue offering from the year before—but even with a darker shade here, blue and white is a much more Everton combo. And beyond the colour palate, this one was uglier. That’s a combination that’s hard to beat. So. Good work, Reebok.