The first season of the Football League began in September, 1888. Preston North End won the first championship without losing a single match and acquired the name the "invincibles". Everton finished in 8th place. They did much better the following season finishing in second, only two points behind Preston, who was once again champions.
In 1891 Houlding purchased Anfield Stadium outright and proposed increasing the rent from £100 to £250 per year. Everton, who had played at Anfield for seven years, refused to meet his demands and moved to Goodison Park.
Houlding, now established a new club called Everton Athletic to play at the Anfield Stadium. The Football Association refused to accept the name Everton Athletic and so it was changed to Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool immediately applied to join the Football League. This was rejected and so Liverpool joined the Lancashire League instead. John McKenna, became manager of the club and he recruited several players from Scotland including Tom Wylie, Andrew Hannah, Duncan McLean and John McBride.
In their first season Liverpool won the Lancashire League, and were elected to the Football League Second Division for the 1893–94 season. Liverpool had a great first season going unbeaten and winning the championship by eight points.