The first Liverpool Football Club founded in 1857 actually played a code similar to rugby union. They are considered to be one of the oldest rugby clubs in the world and merged with another team to form Liverpool St Helens F.C. They are however completely unrelated to the modern Liverpool F.C. and should not be confused.
Everton were founded 1878 and played at Anfield from 1884. In 1891 John Houlding, the leaseholder of Anfield, purchased the ground outright. Rent increased from £100 in 1884 to £250 by 1890. The Everton members decided to leave Anfield and moved to Goodison Park. With just three players remaining, John Houlding was left with an empty ground and no team to play in it. He therefore decided to form his own football club and on 15 March 1892, Liverpool Football Club was born. John McKenna was appointed director, and went to Scotland and where he signed thirteen professionals for the new club. The team was labelled “the team of the Macs” – with eight of the thirteen Scottish signings having a “Mc” prefix. They played their first game against Higher Walton 8-0 on 23rd September 1892 which was also the first occasion an English domestic team had fielded a side consisting entirely of foreign players.
An ambitious application to join the Football League was rejected. After a 7-1 home friendly match victory on 1 September 1892 against Rotherham Town, Liverpool kicked off life in the Lancashire League with an 8-0 win at Anfield against Higher Walton. Malcolm McVean scored the first competitive goal. Ending the first season as champions and beating Everton 1-0 in the first Merseyside derby, the 1893 Liverpool Senior Cup final at Bootle F.C., the decision of rejection was later overturned after sporadic outbreaks of minute’s silences. Liverpool were elected to the Football League alongside Woolwich Arsenal.
McVean scored the club’s first league goal in a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough Ironopolis and ended the season unbeaten and Second Division Champions, winning a test match 2-0 against Newton Heath (soon to be renamed Manchester United) and promotion to the First Division.
Upon the arrival of manager Tom Watson, a 3-time-championship-winner at Sunderland, the strip changed from blue and white quarters to the famous red and white, and in 1901 Scottish international Alex Raisbeck was the first Liverpool captain to collect the Football League championship. League champions again in 1906, when Everton also won the FA Cup, the ground capacity was increased with the building of a huge cinder bank behind the south end goal. It was christened the Spion Kop after a Boer War battle of 1900 when over 300 men of the Lancashire Regiment died, many from Liverpool.
Liverpool played their first FA Cup final, the last at Crystal Palace, and the first attended by the reigning monarch, George V, losing 0-1 to Burnley in 1914. However, the club were also involved in the 1915 British football betting scandal, one of the earliest match-fixing scandals which saw four Liverpool players banned, although the bans were rescinded in 1919. Liverpool soon bounced back; in 1921-2 and again in 1922-3, captained by England full-back Ephraim Longworth, Liverpool were champions.