Jordan Henderson says Liverpool 'got it wrong from top to bottom' with their public show of support for Luis Suarez in his race row with Patrice Evra.
Suarez received an eight-match ban from the FA after he was found to have used the word 'negro' towards Evra during a match between the Reds and Manchester United in October 2011.
After the Uruguayan's suspension was announced in December, Liverpool players issued a statement defending their team-mate and warmed up for a game with Wigan wearing 'Suarez 7' T-shirts.
Henderson was then a 21-year-old in his first year with the Reds – but the club captain has now admitted that they made a mistake with their behaviour nine years ago.
Speaking to Anton Ferdinand for his ex-Sunderland team-mate's BBC documentary Football, Racism and Me, he said: 'You learn a lot from experiences. I was a young player at the time so it was something I'd never really experienced before.
'Looking back on it now, I am not sure the club or everybody deal with it in the best way.
'From a player point of view, our mindset was on Luis and how to protect him, but really we didn't really think about Patrice.
'I think that's where we got it wrong from top to bottom. If people want to point me out then I'll take full responsibility as well as a player.
'People will say, 'That's a bit late', but I suppose it's better late than never.'
The midfielder's comments come after Jamie Carragher – who was then Liverpool's vice-captain – apologised to Evra on Sky's Monday Night Football last year and said the club 'made a massive mistake'.
Henderson has spoken out strongly against racism in recent times, having seen some of his black team-mates suffer during England's Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria last year.
He added: 'People will probably look at me and say, 'Well what do you know because you haven't been racially abused?' – and I understand that.
'For me, it is just making sure that my team-mates are OK and my friends are OK and things like racism aren't acceptable.'
Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand says he regrets not speaking out at the time of his brother's race row with his England team-mate John Terry, which also occurred in October 2011.
Terry was banned by the FA for four games after calling Anton Ferdinand a 'f****** black c***', although he was cleared of racial abuse in court.
Speaking to Anton on the BBC programme which airs on Monday, Rio said: 'I was confused. I was like, "Where has this come from?".
'He was a colleague of mine who I played with for England, who I had been on many nights out with.
'I was disappointed with the way it unravelled. We (Rio and Anton) never really spoke about it.
'My first initial thing was, "Something needs to be said". But bar a few close friends and family, Mum and Dad especially, everyone else was saying, "Don't say anything, let the lawyers deal with it, let this go to court it will be sorted out".
'I felt guilty sometimes because I am your big brother and I have always been protective. I should have just come out and said it but I felt powerless.
'All I kept thinking was, "How is this happening to my brother?". I should have spoken out.'
Anton Ferdinand: Football, Racism and Me, Monday 30th November, 9pm, BBC One