November 11, 1895
If recent events have not convinced both the committee and players of the Liverpool Club that a change will have to take place in the tactics on the field before they can qualify for the test matches, they are overlooking facts which must be taken into consideration. The season is only two months old, yet they have lost four matches, and there will have to be a great improvement in their play or they will lose several others, and this will put them out of the running.
On Saturday their play was much below First League form, and to a certain extent they were lucky in gaining two points. On paper Leicester Fosse are no great shakes, but, as Liverpool, they rather upset the opinion formed from such a source, only in the opposite direction. Out of eight matches they have lost five, and to run Liverpool so close is a good performance, and stamps them as a first-rate team.
Two out of three goals were hotly disputed, but I am convinced the ball was over the line before Jimmy Thraves cleared, as the ball was close to the post, and I could see his hand pass the upright. The third point was more difficult to decide, but the referee did not hesitate at all in giving it. To get to the play, I may say that Liverpool pressed by far the most, but they altogether failed to make the headway this advantage gave them; in fact, they exhibited about as weak a show of forward play as I have seen for a long while. Time after time they passed and re-passed, and, if anything, they were father from the goal at the finish. The worst feature about it was the weak kicks they put in at the finish, that is, if they were allowed to get one in.
Generally Leicester halves or backs came in and upset them before they got within shooting distance, and all the work was thrown away. This was the run of the game for the first quarter of an hour, during which Thraves had only one shot to stop. Then the visitors had a look-in, and discarding any fancy touches they made for goal in good style, and Matt McQueen had several shots to stop. It was from a warm attack that Davie Hannah and Jimmy Ross made off; the former sent across to Fred Geary, who scored, and so far as pressing goes Liverpool had the best of it to the interval.
The proceedings in the second half were more lively. The pressure on the visitors’ goal was nearly continuous, but they did not seem to mind it, for the defence continued to keep the upper hand of the Liverpool forwards. Like Liverpool in the first half, the forwards ultimately got away down the right, and before we knew anything was amiss the ball was sent across, McQueen ran out, missed everything, and the scores were equal. This warmed up the play a bit, and Geary soon placed his side ahead once more.
The play improved somewhat but still the home forward seldom got fairly going. Many a time they seemed to be in the way of each other, and Harry Bradshaw was jumping without, any apparent object in view. It is a pity they cannot alter their style to suit the circumstances of the case, for the close dribbling did not pay, as the Leicester men continually had the best of the argument at the finish. The third goal was shot by Tom Wilkie, who took a free-kick, and from the return scored, and in the end Liverpool won by three goals to one.
The Leicester team are a good level lot, and I am not at all sanguine that Liverpool will gain even one point at Leicester. If they had watched the Liverpool team play all season the could not have been more conversant with their weak spots. Better defence I have not seen for some time, and all the lot went about their work in a confident manner, and, to their credit be it said, they were generally successful.
The visiting forwards are a decent lot, and in Willie McArthur they have a fine centre. The ex-Bolton Wanderer fed his wings well, and the inside men ably backed his efforts. They will be a tough lot to tackle at Leicester. I think I have said enough about the Liverpool team. The forwards were disappointing all round, their style just suiting their opponents, yet they kept it up to the finish. The defence was all right on the whole, Bill Keech and Joe McQue playing well at half, and both Archie Goldie and Tom Wilkie were safe at back. McQueen made a mistake in allowing them to score for when a goalkeeper runs out he ought to make sure of either man or ball.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: November 11, 1895)