Liverpool’s super defensive triangle


Wednesday, October 18 – 1916
At this stage of the season it is customary to point to the clubs with an undefeated record. But Liverpool F.C. has a special pride in another direction. They can point you to the fact that only once this season has their defence been pierced – a marvellous performance – and one to which the club does not, but I mention the fact that the only goal scored – on the first day of the season, by Bolton Wanderers – was due to a blunder in refereeing. And who are the men standing between all types of forwards and their goal area? They form a great triangle, and they also form an object lesson in regard to cheap talent. Of course, Taylor, the goalkeeper, is not Liverpool’s player save for the war period, but no matter what clubs the men belong to, I have a spare moment for their history.
Longworth, the eldest of the trio, is a Bolton “boy.” He was actually tried by Bolton, but “turned down.” Liverpool came by his big nature in a thoroughly Watsonian manner “Owd Tom” was short of a back, and he “tapped the wires.” What football official ever had more scope for this work than the old Liverpool sec.? Tom wrote Mike Griffin, now of Barnsley, and then of Leyton, and asked him if he knew of a good back. “Longworth is the best in the Southern League,” was Griffin’s reply; and Tom soon added his testimony to Longworth’s ability. No player takes his game more seriously than “Eph.,” as his pals call him, and no player has a larger number of kicks at the ball than Ephraim.
Taylor, of course, is a local who is not a local. That is to say, he played for years for Balmoral, and was known to be a top-class goalkeeper; and although Everton once angled after him, he was allowed to go to Oldham – an unfortunate business, for there was room and need for Taylor in first-class football and by going to Oldham he was kept in the background by that steadiest of all goalkeepers Matthews. However, he is now of and in Liverpool, and his work in goal has been of the highest character. He has borne his share of the record performance that Liverpool’s defence has put up.
Lucas, the junior member, is one of the best “finds” the war session has brought us. He is awfully like Herbert Burgess, who has always been held up as a model of a full-back. What a rush there was for his signature. Everton believed they had him booked, but “scraps of paper” in that day were torn as ruthlessly as by Wilhelm in recent years. However, that’s beside the point. The point of moment is that Lucas has seen service with Eccles, and, therefore, must have been to South and Rovers’ grounds without being discovered Manchester United tried him, but he is apparently bent upon staying at Anfield. A rare judge of length, clean in kick, yet daring and dashing, Lucas promises to become an All-England player in the days of peace.
These are the three men, aided by their half-backs of course, who have put up the record, and Saturday’s game with Stockport’s sharp-shooters become very interesting, because a big crowd will want to see if a goal is to be scored against the nutty trio.
(Liverpool Echo, 18-10-1916)

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