Back in March, we looked at the unusual kit combination Liverpool wore at Watford for three consecutive seasons in the 1980s – usual red home shirts, black shorts and yellow socks.
We mentioned in that piece how there had been a few subsequent occasions when white socks were donned – at Bolton in the FA Cup in 1993, for instance, or for some games at Portsmouth. Another trip to Fratton Park, almost 30 years ago, threw up something totally different, though.
Quite how and why black socks came to be used for the 2-0 win on February 27, 1988 is hard to say.
When Liverpool went to Aston Villa in the FA Cup in the January, the previous 86-88 away shirt was used as there were fears the grey kit would clash with Villa’s Hummel halved effort (the following two seasons, after Candy replaced Crown Paints, would see a bespoke white shirt worn at Villa Park).
While those shirts were retained, the accompanying white socks were not, it seems. Even so, Arsenal had been able to source white adidas socks for their trip to Watford in 87-88, so you’d have thought Liverpool could have done the same.
The black socks seem to have been teamwear – if they were a change set for the 86-88 away, then they remained an unused option. At Charlton – who had white socks – in 86-87, Liverpool opted for the full yellow third kit rather than white-black-red or white-black-black.
This one will have to go down as an unsolved mystery. And, for all the guff marketeers come up with in saying new strips are tributes to past alternative kit combinations, it’s unlikely that we’ll see this look again on a Liverpool team.