Over the years, Premier League giants Liverpool have had some iconic and much-loved shirts, with the sponsor’s name and branding often a big part of that. The most popular of these has to be Danish beer brand Carlsberg, who were emblazoned on the Reds’ shirts as they miraculously won the Champions League in 2005, and were the club’s primary shirt sponsor for some 18 years.
Liverpool have also enjoyed vast successes with bank Standard Chartered, who were the club’s sponsor for their first ever Premier League title in 2019/20, as well as their UCL triumph in 2018/19. In this article, we will be providing an overview of which brands have sponsored Liverpool’s kits over the years, before then looking into each sponsor in more detail. We will also be rating each sponsor based on how iconic they are, as well as selecting the most legendary player to wear each kit.
Liverpool Shirt Sponsors by Season
Below, we have compiled a table to show each of Liverpool’s shirt sponsors, and the years in which they appeared on the club’s famous red shirts.
- Years: 1979-1982
- Iconic Rating: 7.5
- Legendary Player: Kenny Dalglish
In 1979, Liverpool made English football history. They became the first ever team to have an official shirt sponsor, and this was none other than Hitachi, the Japanese electronics company. The idea to seek shirt sponsorship came from John Smith (whose beer business obviously wasn’t deemed good enough), the club’s chairman at the time, who wanted to provide better funding for the club.
This was because, despite being arguably the most successful football club in the world in this period, the Reds were not overburdened with cash. The deal with Hitachi supposedly cost the brand £50,000 a season, a far cry from the tens of millions that Premier League clubs now command from shirt sponsors, but enough to sufficiently balance the Merseyside club’s finances.
However, it is also worth noting that the club were only allowed to wear their Hitachi-sponsored kits in league games that were not televised, and they were also unable to wear them in FA Cup and European fixtures. On the pitch, the three seasons in which the Japanese brand sponsored the Reds were a resounding success: the club won two league titles, two League Cups and a European Cup!
- Years: 1982-1988
- Iconic Rating: 9
- Legendary Player: Ian Rush
By the time Liverpool welcomed Lancashire-based Crown Paints into the fold, shirt sponsors had quickly become the norm in English football. However, rather than simply keeping the same kits for the entirety of the sponsorship deal, as was the case with Hitachi, the six seasons under Crown Paints’ sponsorship saw the Reds sport a number of different kit designs.
The Merseyside giants also changed kit suppliers for the first time in this period, moving from Umbro to Adidas, a move that spawned some of the club’s greatest ever retro kits. This era’s shirts included the legendary white and red Adidas away strip, which was actually voted Liverpool’s most iconic away kit by This is Anfield. The paint manufacturers also oversaw continued success on the pitch, as the club lifted an impressive four league titles, a European Cup, an FA Cup and two League Cups under the player-management of “King” Kenny Dalglish. Although we could easily have picked the great Scot again, we have instead selected clinical Welshman Ian Rush, who was at his most deadly for the Reds in this period.
- Years: 1988-1992
- Iconic Rating: 8
- Legendary Player: John Barnes
Sadly, Italian brand Candy have nothing to do with sweets, and are instead domestic appliance manufacturers. Having said that, they must have given the club some very solid washing machines, as the kits from this period were some of the cleanest in English football history!
The Candy-sponsored red Adidas home shirt remains one of the most popular retro kits for Liverpool fans, and is nothing short of beautiful. The smooth, classy kit perfectly fit the legendary John Barnes, the club’s star man at the time, as the winger scored 22 and 16 league goals in 1989/90 and 1990/91 respectively. The club’s red-hot form continued in this period, as they lifted the 89/90 First Division title, and also managed to win both the 1989 and 1992 FA Cups.
- Years: 1992-2010
- Iconic Rating: 10
- Legendary Player: Steven Gerrard
For the inaugural season of the Premier League, the Reds again changed shirt sponsor. The new brand: Danish beer Carlsberg, continuing the club’s penchant for brands beginning with “C”! What followed was one of the longest and most successful sponsorship deals in football, as the beer brand were emblazoned on Liverpool’s shirts for 18 years in a period which also included some of the club’s most beautiful-looking kits.
The iconic Reebok shirt of 2005, worn whilst the club managed to pull off the near-impossible in Istanbul, remains one of the club’s best ever. Although replaced as official shirt sponsor by Standard Chartered in 2010, Carlsberg have remained one of the Merseyside club’s primary sponsors, with their current deal extended by a further five years in 2019. Although arguably the club’s most iconic sponsor, the Danish beer giants unfortunately remain the only Liverpool shirt sponsor to have not overseen a victorious league campaign.
- Years: 2010 onwards
- Iconic Rating: 9
- Legendary Player: Mohamed Salah
Although Liverpool’s long-term partnership with Carlsberg had been very successful, the club decided that it just wasn’t bringing in enough cash anymore, and they therefore decided it was time for a change. Bank Standard Chartered came in to fill the gap, agreeing a deal that was worth a reported £20 million per season, significantly more than the £14.2m that Carlsberg had been paying.
Under Standard Chartered, especially in the latter half of the 2010s, the club enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence, winning the Premier League for the first time in the 2019/2020 campaign, having finished second the season prior. This era has also seen the Reds win the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, an FA Cup, two League Cups and the UEFA Super Cup.
No player has been more instrumental in the success of the Merseyside giants than Mo Salah, who won the Premier League golden boot in 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2021/22, and has carried the team on his back at times! The club’s sponsorship deal with the bank has been extended until 2027, and is reportedly worth £50 million a season for the Reds, just a thousand times more than the original Hitachi deal was bringing in!