I've lived on the outskirts of Liverpool for my whole life.
There is a nasty stigma surrounding scousers- some of them are the nicest people I have ever met. Yes, you have your "gangsters" but really, you get them everywhere. You just want to avoid sketchy areas- Croxteth, Norris Green etc but there really isn't any reason why you would go there anyway.
Great shopping (only thing it is lacking is a Selfridges), great night life and affordable.