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Liverpool Football Club - History

Liverpool F.C. was founded after a dispute between Everton and John Houlding, the leaseholder of Anfield and Everton director. Fundamental difference emerged in how the club should be run when the club assessed the purchase of the whole of the Anfield site. Houlding was accused of motives for personal financial gain. Everton who had been playing at Anfield for eight years departed from Houlding and Anfield moving to a new stadium in Goodison Park.

Liverpool F.C. were founded by Houlding to play at the vacated Anfield. The original name was to be Everton F.C. and Athletic Grounds, Ltd., or Everton Athletic for short, but it was changed to Liverpool F.C. in June 1892 when The Football Association refused to recognise the team as Everton. The club won the Lancashire League in their first season, and successfully applied to join the Second Division for the following season. They won the league and were promoted to the First Division.

They won their first title in 1900–01, and were champions again in 1905–06. They reached their first FA Cup final in 1914 but lost 1–0 to Burnley. The club won back-to-back championships in 1921–22 and 1922–23, but after this the club did not win another trophy until 1946–47 when they won the League for a fifth time. The club reached the FA Cup final in 1950, but lost to Arsenal. Liverpool were relegated to the Second Division in the 1953–54 season. During this period they suffered a 2-1 FA Cup defeat against non-league Worcester City FC in the 1958-59 season.

Not long after this infamous result, Bill Shankly was appointed manager and released 24 players. He also converted a room at Anfield originally used for boot storage into a room where the coaches could talk strategy over tea (and other beverages). There Shankly, along with other founding Boot Room members Joe Fagan, Reuben Bennett, and Bob Paisley, started reshaping the team. Promotion to the First Division was achieved in 1961–62, and the club won the League for the first time in 17 years in 1963–64. Another League title followed in 1965–66, after the club had won their first FA Cup the previous season. The club won the League and UEFA Cup in 1972–73 and the FA Cup again a year later; after this, Shankly retired and was replaced by assistant Bob Paisley.

Paisley was even more successful than Shankly and the club won the League and UEFA Cup in 1975–76, his second season as manager. The following season they retained the League title, won the European Cup for the first time, but lost in the FA Cup final, narrowly missing out on a treble. Liverpool retained the European Cup the next season, and the season after won the League again with 68 points—a domestic record, conceding only 16 goals in 42 league matches. During the nine seasons Paisley managed the club, Liverpool won 21 trophies, including three European Cups, a UEFA Cup, six league titles and three consecutive League Cups. The only domestic trophy to elude him was the FA Cup. Paisley retired in 1983 and (as Shankly had done) handed the reins to a Boot Room veteran, assistant coach Joe Fagan.

Liverpool won three trophies in Fagan's first season in charge: the League, League Cup and European Cup, becoming the first English side to win three trophies in a season. Liverpool reached the European Cup final again in 1985. The match was against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium. Before kick-off, disaster struck: Liverpool fans breached a fence which separated the two groups of supporters and charged the Juventus fans. The resulting weight of people caused a retaining wall to collapse, killing 39 fans, mostly Italians. The match was played regardless and Liverpool lost 1–0 to Juventus. English clubs were consequently banned from participating in European competition for five years; Liverpool received a ten-year ban, which was later reduced to six years. Fourteen of their fans received convictions for involuntary manslaughter.

Fagan resigned after the disaster and Kenny Dalglish was appointed as player-manager. During his reign, the club won another three League Championships and two FA Cups, including a League and Cup "Double" in 1985–86. Liverpool's success was overshadowed by the Hillsborough Disaster: in an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989, hundreds of Liverpool fans were crushed. 94 fans died that day; the 95th victim died in hospital from his injuries four days later, and the 96th died nearly four years later without regaining consciousness. After the Hillsborough tragedy there was a governmental review of stadium safety. Known as the Taylor Report, it paved the way for legislation which required top-division teams to have all-seater stadiums. The report ruled that the main reason for the disaster was overcrowding due to a failure of police control. Dalglish cited the Hillsborough Disaster and its repercussions as the reason for his resignation in 1991.

He was replaced by former player Graeme Souness. Apart from winning the FA Cup in 1992, Souness achieved little success and was replaced by a former member of the "Boot Room", Roy Evans. Evans fared little better: a League Cup victory in 1995 was his only trophy. One highlight was a 4-3 victory over Newcastle United at Anfield on 3 April 1996, which was named in April 2003 as the Match of the Decade in the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards. Gérard Houllier was appointed as co-manager in 1998–99, but was left in sole charge after Evans resigned in November 1998. In his second season in charge Liverpool won a treble of the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup. In the 2001–02 season, during which Houllier underwent major heart surgery, Liverpool finished second behind Arsenal.

The following seasons failed to live up to expectations and Houllier was replaced by Rafael Benítez. The club finished fifth in his first season in charge but won the UEFA Champions League by beating Milan 3–2 in a penalty shootout after the match finished 3–3. The following season Liverpool finished third with 82 points—their highest total since 1988. They won the FA Cup as they had the Champions League victory the previous season, by beating West Ham United in penalty shootout after the match finished at 3–3. In 2006–07, the club's search for investment came to an end when American businessmen George Gillett and Tom Hicks became the owners of Liverpool in a deal which valued the club and its outstanding debts at £218.9 million. That season, the club reached another Champions League final, but this time they lost 2–1 to AC Milan. In the 2008-09 season Liverpool achieved their highest Premier League points total of 86 points and finished as runners up to Manchester United.