A club is born & Shankly arrives – Photos of Liverpool FC from 1890s-1950s

Liverpool Football Club is steeped in history, its origins dating back to the 1890s before transformational decades followed to help create the club we see today.

The football club we all know and love was formed in 1892, a period so different to the one we currently experience.

But we have the likes of John Houlding to thank for forming and persisting with Liverpool FC, a pillar of the community and, they would not have known it at the time, a soon-to-be global powerhouse.

This is where it all started.

Liverpool team group, 1892: (back row of directors, l-r) J Dermott, B Bailey, S Cooper, FC Howarth, A Nisbet, H Cooper, C Gibson, HP Ellis, L Crosthwaite (middle row of players, l-r) John McCartney, Matt McQueen, captain Andrew Hannah, goalkeeper Billy McOwen, Duncan McLean, Douglas Dick, David Henderson, trainer F Whiteway (front row, l-r) Patrick Gordon, Malcolm McVean, Joe McQue, Jim McBride, John McKenna, President John Houlding, J Ramsay, Harry Bradshaw, Jimmy Stott, Hugh McQueen - EMPICS/EMPICS Sport

And it was not long until the first top-flight title was won in 1900/01, coming after two championship-winning campaigns in the Second Division in 1893/94 and 1895/96.

Liverpool FC squad photo season 1901/02 - 1900s

The teams of the early 1900s experienced life in both the First and Second Division and picked up titles along the way, from 1905/06 they settled comfortably in the top flight until the 1950s.

Liverpool FC squad photo season 1904/05 - 1900s

BH54WY Liverpool 1905, team photo of the Football League Champions at the start of the following season. Image shot 1905. Exact date unknown. Liverpool FC squad photo season 1905/06 - 1900s

Liverpool FC squad photo season 1906/07 - 1900s

K07W72 Liverpool FC football team 1908-1909. Liverpool FC squad photo season 1908/09 - 1900s

Liverpool started the 1920s with back-to-back league titles when there were 42 games to a season.

Aren’t these images just incredible?

Liverpool team group: (back row, l-r) Dick Johnson, Tom Miller, Willie Cunningham, Jim Penman, Peter McKinney, Billy Lacey (third row, l-r) Trainer W Connell, Dick Forshaw, Harry Chambers, Elisha Scott, Harold McNaughton, Jock McNab, Billy Matthews, George Patterson (second row, l-r) Manager David Ashworth, Jackie Sheldon, Jack Bamber, Tommy Lucas, Ephraim Longworth, Donald McKinlay, Tom Bromilow, Bert Pearson, Secretary (front row, l-r) Jones, Bill Jenkinson, Lancashire Cup, Liverpool Cup, Harry Lewis, Walter Wadsworth. Liverpool FC squad photo season 1920/21 - 1920s. ( EMPICS/EMPICS Sport)

Liverpool FC squad photo 1922/23 - 1920s

And take a look at Anfield here in 1928 under construction, quite the contrast to present day.

Retro Pic: The Spion Kop, Main Stand under construction at Anfield Liverpool FC. 25th August 1928 ((PA / Alamy Media))

The 1930s were full of Reds who will forever be enshrined in club history, including Gordon Hodgson – who is Liverpool’s third all-time leading goalscorer with 241 goals from 377 appearances.

Gordon Hodgson, Liverpool

K07W1M Liverpool FC squad photo season 1935/36 - 1930s

Goalkeeper Elisha Scott made 468 appearances for the Reds and won back-to-back Division Two triumphs in 1921/22 and 1922/23 before departing in 1934.

Everton legend Dixie Dean called him the “greatest I’ve ever seen.”

Liverpool goalkeeper Elisha Scott, playing for Northern Ireland, 1933

(Please credit within piece: The Wadsworth family) Elisha Scott in action for Liverpool

It was a different time, but you could definitely envisage Alisson wearing a flat cap between the sticks!

1935 Merseyside derby

There would be only one trophy lifted throughout the 1940s, in part due to the war, but that is not to say the Reds were not without standout players.

Albert Stubbins, Willie Fagan, Jack Balmer and even future manager Bob Paisley were among them.

Albert Stubbins, Liverpool

Willie Fagan, Liverpool inside forward, 1947 (S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

Laurie Hughes, Liverpool, 1949 (C. Arno/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

Paisley played 277 games as a Red from 1946 to 1954 – he was never too far from Anfield.

Liverpool team group: (back row, l-r) Albert Stubbins, Eddie Spicer, Laurie Hughes, Cyril Sidlow, Bill Jones, Bob Paisley (front row, l-r) Jimmy Payne, Kevin Baron, Phil Taylor, Cyril Done, Billy Liddell

Bob Paisley, Liverpool (S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

Balmer made history in 1946, becoming only the third player in English football to score three consecutive hat-tricks – he scored a total of 10 goals in three games. A skilful and intelligent forward.

Liverpool's Jack Balmer runs out before the match

The 1950s were transformative for Liverpool and not always for the right reasons.

In 1953/54, the club was relegated to the Second Division, but the arrival of Bill Shankly in 1959 would change everything.

Liverpool manager Bill Shankly shows off his ball skills at Anfield (PA / Alamy Media)

Ronnie Moran may have become one of Shankly’s most trusted right-hand men, but he was first the club captain and a reliable member of the squad that the Scot inherited.

Ronnie Moran, Liverpool ( Barratts/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

As for the legendary Billy Liddell, the majority of his football with Liverpool was played before Shankly’s arrival but he was a cornerstone of the side from 1946 to 1960.

1957 - Billy Liddell scores for Liverpool against Blackburn Rovers (Image: Howard Talbot)

Billy Liddell

Liverpool ended the 1950s in the Second Division, but with Shankly at the helm, the club was only ever heading in one direction.