Chinese Liverpool fans can now get World Cup stars Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane shirts with Mandarin names
Anfield club lead the way for English Premier League sides but other clubs and sports have beat them to it
Liverpool FC have become the first English Premier League side to provide shirt printing using Chinese characters.
Chinese fans can purchase a shirt with the Chinese names for manager Jurgen Klopp, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino along with their squad number – Klopp’s name comes with the number 1.
The manager and Salah are available on both the home and away kits while the others only feature on the new purple away kit.
These shirts retail on their official Chinese website for ¥799 (US$120).
Liverpool have long looked to the Chinese market, where they now claim nearly 2.5 million followers on Sina Weibo.
Last year Liverpool released a China-only version of their kit.
It retailed for ¥179 (US$27) less than half the price of the version elsewhere in an effort to combat counterfeit kit sales.
It did not feature the New Balance logo of the official kit as the US sportswear giant does not produce it, nor does it have the crest embroidery or details such as the pinstripes in the fabric or the “96” on the back of the neck to commemorate those who died at Hillsborough.
It is no longer available via the club’s official Chinese online store.
In May 2010 the club sported a shirt featuring sponsor Carlsberg’s name written in Chinese in a Premier League game against Chelsea at Anfield but Liverpool are not the only club to do so.
Inter Milan, who are now owned by electronics giant Suning, have played matches while sporting a Chinese rendering of sponsor Pirelli for matches in at least four separate seasons, the first of which was in 2005.
They did this most recently in China in 2011 when they played AC Milan for the Italian Super Cup at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium.
Alongside the players' growing skills in Mandarin as shown above - the team will play in special jerseys featuring their names in Chinese characters on Sunday against Bordeaux. #OMFCGB #CNY pic.twitter.com/olJ8VIHWal
— Olympique Marseille (@OM_English) 16 February 2018
Paris Saint Germain and Marseille both wore kits last season that had the player’s names in Mandarin. PSG played Strasbourg and Marseille took on Bordeaux in the league and marked Chinese New Year with the move.
PSG have established an office and a number of initiatives in China, while Marseille had recently launched an official Sina Weibo page.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 21, 2015
In the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets offered jerseys with Jeremy Lin’s name and number 7 rendered in Mandarin. This was part of a wider NBA movement to mark the last Chinese New Year and engage with China, including Mandarin-language merchandise for Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Warriors, Rockets and the Washington Wizards all wore special Chinese New Year uniforms for the month of February.