The reason why every Liverpool away shirt is unique

Liverpool’s new away shirt is one of the most talked about kits this summer.

Like many new shirts in 2020 it features a bold pattern that forces some sort of (not necessarily positive!) reaction. It’s growing notoriety is also owed to the fact this is Nike’s much anticipated debut for The Reds. The switch from New Balance was a rare example of a seismic brand shift at a level of the game which can grow quite stale for extended periods.

One interesting detail picked up by many today was that the pattern on the teal away shirt appears to be random. Unlikely many patterned shirts, you’ll find certain elements of the intricate design across different areas of the shirt. So for one shirt, a lighter teal wave might be seen behind the crest, whilst on another that same wave might frame the sponsor instead. The line details, inspired by the Shankly Gates, never appear to sit in the same place either.

It’s not immediately obvious (and it’s certainly something that many people, including myself, missed at launch), but a straight comparison with more than one copy of the kit can quickly turn into a fun game of spot the difference.

What’s the reason for this randomness? Is this a deliberate decision from Nike and Liverpool, or just a happy coincidence?

This new shirt is one of a growing number of examples of shirts which are unique due to the nature of their production.

Shirts are typically cut out from a large piece of fabric, and in the case of a shirt like the 2020 Liverpool away, the pattern was created as a repeat on a large roll of fabric before the cutting stage.

By removing the need to match elements of the pattern exactly, there’s a significant reduction in wasted fabric that would typically result when cutting out the shirts from a piece of fabric. 

From a design perspective, the relative busyness of the pattern helps to keep the aesthetic fairly consistent across more than one copy of the shirt, and perhaps most excitingly of all it means that every Liverpool away shirt is unique.

Whether it’s player issue or replica, adults and kids sizes, if you own the shirt it’s highly unlikely you’d be able to find the exact same look anywhere else. 

Spare a thought for the illustrators out there like @davewi11 and @KarlThyer, who are sweating over the intricacy and randomness of the shirt. Though as Karl suggests below, that could also be a blessing in disguise!

Liverpool’s shirt isn’t the only recent design to feature this sort of randomness. Juve’s new home shirt also boasts unique stripes, again created as a result of cuts taken from a vertical repeating fabric. And you could also look to something like City’s new mosaic home shirt, or Chelsea’s stadium-inspired home shirt from 2019/20.

I’m excited by this growing trend, as the shirt industry needs to do all it can to reduce waste and increase sustainability across all areas.

However if your Liverpool shirt looks better than mine, don’t be surprised if I DM you enquiring about a trade…


For more regular insight into the world of football shirts, sign up to our weekly newsletter. You’ll get a weekly editorial from me, and the latest big updates from both our content site and our vintage shirt marketplace!

Phil Delves

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.