December 11, 1893
Liverpool still maintain a firm command of the position of honour in the League second division, despite the unfortunate illness and accidents to several of the team. By their victory on Saturday they amply avenged themselves upon the reorganised and strengthened Walsall team for the tight game, coupled with ill-luck, they experienced when at Walsall.
The Anfield team tried a new arrangement of the forwards, and of the many formations evolved lately, that of Saturday can be put down as being the very poorest in combination and effectiveness.
James Stott is still laid up with an injured leg, while David Henderson is under suspensory orders, and their absence let in Malcolm McVean and Harry Bradshaw. Either of the latter is qualified to take up the centre and inside left positions, but owing to some inexplicable reason the right wing was broken up, and Patrick Gordon, the best outside winger the club possesses, was delegated to fill the onerous position in the middle.
Reverting to the game, it must be stated that the home team were much too good for their opponents, and with a less capable and experienced player between the post than Jimmy Warner – the old Aston Villa player – Liverpool would have won with greater ease.
William McOwen, who has almost recovered from his illness, on the contrary had but one really good shot to negotiate, the visiting forwards being altogether unable to pierce the exceptionally strong defence of Andrew Hannah and Duncan McLean.
The game was not a pleasing one from a spectator point of view, the backs on both sides and especially the half-back division of the “Blue and Whites,” destroying the incipient attempts at any concerted movement.
In view of the approaching cup ties it behoves the Liverpool forwards to make up their minds to adopt a different style of play, or most certainly they will be the cause of an ignominious disaster ere long. More unselfishness, less indecision, combined with more careful placing and accurate shooting, will make a vast difference in the serviceableness and general utility.
As usual, praise can be bestowed on the rear-guard, the only player showing any falling off from the general high standard being McLean, whose kicking at times was weak. Matt McQueen found himself in his old position, and seemed to revel in hard work. Patrick Gordon was anything but a success in his new position, whilst Malcolm McVean did not do much good till he went outside, Harry Bradshaw and Hugh McQueen gave an improved display, the deadly centring and shooting of the latter gives great satisfaction.
The Walsall team included four new players – Warner, Billy Dunn, Sam Holmes, and Joe Lofthouse – all of whom did their share of the work in more than an average manner, but the palm must be awarded to Warner, Tom Bayley and Robert Smellie for their fearless yet finished work.
(Liverpool Mercury: December 12, 1893)
Harry Bradshaw, Liverpool (Illustrated Police Budget: November 11, 1899):