Both a short edit (4:19) and a longer "video edit" (4:49) were distributed as CD singles in various territories, often with one or more unreleased tracks from the Weight sessions added; these and other outtakes were included in the 2004 release Weighting.
The video edit of "Liar" was featured in the song's music video and features a different vocal track and slightly different lyrics in the opening section. Directed by Anton Corbijn, the video itself features alternating depictions of vocalist Henry Rollins. During the song's verses, he wears glasses and a plain black T-shirt and speaks in a calm, soothing tone about trust and friendship; from one verse to the next, his arms and face become increasingly stained with black paint. For the chorus segments, he is shirtless and painted red, wildly jumping and flailing about as he screams derisively at his audience. He is also seen dressed in a Superman parody costume, a police officer uniform, and a nun's habit.
Upon release, the "Liar" video gained heavy airplay on MTV. This led to it appearing as part of the Beavis and Butt-head episode "Liar! Liar!", which aired on July 15, 1994. In the episode, Beavis becomes excited about the chorus, repeating the word "Liar!" in the same way he typically says "Fire! Fire! Fire!". Butt-head comes to the conclusion that "lying rules."
"Liar" was named the 64th best hard rock song of all time by VH1. It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. Rollins Band performed the song at the 37th Grammy Awards Ceremony.
Despite the song's popularity, Rollins himself would later reveal on BBC's HARDtalk that "Liar" was originally performed at shows as a joke with no refined chord structure and was actually recorded with the intention of being a b-side and to not even be featured on Weight. However, when the record label heard it they immediately recognized its potential to become a hit and proposed it be the lead single.