At the time of writing, the 2007-08 season remains the last time that Liverpool played a first-team game where red shirts were worn without forming part of an all-red kit (that’s counting this season’s first-choice home socks as red, of course).
That was just one of a few of notable kit occurrences in a ‘nearly’ season on the pitch, though one which laid the foundations for the second-placed finish of 2008-09.
Having rejoined forces with adidas in 2006, Liverpool’s home kit was unchanged and, unusually even for back then, the primary goalkeeper kit remained the same, too.
There were two new change kits, using the same palette of white, black and red. The white strip, the second choice domestically, was in the classic Liverpool alternative colourway using adidas’s Onore template, while the third – the European away – was all-black, a template known as Golpe.
As you can see, both kits had black shorts with red flashes and white adidas stripes – something of a bugbear of ours. To our mind, the best solution would have been to have had an all-white kit and an all-black kit, with options for interchanging the shorts and socks.
In 2007-08, there were white shorts available to Liverpool. In the style as the away set, they weren’t used with the white shirt however – in a friendly against Feyenoord and then early in the season at Sunderland, they appeared with the black shirt and white socks (left).
In fact, Liverpool had two sets of white shorts in the Onore template, but the other pair were for use with the new green alternative goalkeeper kit, while green shorts were on hand as well.
In September was the visit to Portsmouth. The previous season, Liverpool had worn white socks with three red stripes and the adidas logo, a reversal of the home set, but this time the new white socks, featuring the ‘LFC’ monogram, were used, meaning they appeared with all three kits that season.
The following season, 2008-09, Portsmouth would be clad in all-blue, meaning that Liverpool didn’t have to change.
The following season, Portsmouth’s last in the Premier League, Liverpool wore white shirts and black shorts, as they had done in Pompey’s first season back in the top flight, 2003-04.
Incidentally, in 1987-88, Liverpool had worn black socks on their visit to Fratton Park.
Having lost two and drawn one of their opening three Champions League games, Liverpool gave themselves hope with wins over Beşiktaş and Porto, meaning they travelled to France for their final group game, away to Olympique Marseille, knowing they would qualify as long as Porto beat the Turkish side.
Alcohol advertising is banned in France so blank shirts would have to be used – Liverpool had been subject to this as far back as the European Cup Winners’ Cup tie with Paris Saint-Germain in 1997 – but another variable to deal with was the fact that Marseille were wearing their orange and blue third kit as their European home kit.
Perhaps Liverpool only had unsponsored versions of the home goalkeeper shirt, but, whatever the reason, Pepe Reina took to the field at the Stade Vélodrome with a crudely cut patch over the Carlsberg logo. His colleagues wore the black strip.
A 4-0 win earned Liverpool a place in the knockout stages and they would end up reaching the semi-finals, losing to Chelsea after extra time at Stamford Bridge.
In the quarter-finals, they had beaten Arsenal, with a league game against the Gunners taking place in between the two European matches.
They wore all-black in the 1-1 Champions League draw at the Emirates on April 2 and then three days later in North London the white shirts were used.
That clash was the only occasion that season that the domestic away shirt featured in a mashup, with the black socks from the third kit worn in another 1-1 draw, before a 4-2 win at Anfield on April 8 secured European progression.
Liverpool finished the season in fourth place in the Premier League, seven points behind Arsenal and 11 ahead of fifth-placed Everton. In their final home game, the 1-0 win over not-yet-rich Manchester City on the penultimate weekend of the season, Liverpool gave a preview of their new kits for the 2008-09 season, with a new black goalkeeper strip featuring.