August 28, 1922
Liverpool forwards start in brilliant form.
The League champions opened their season at Anfield in brilliant fashion, and a crowd of over 40,000 spectators had the felicity of seeing quite a big crop of goals in the match with The Arsenal. The team, unchanged from last season except for the welcome return of Johnson, almost from the outset bounded into brilliant form, and for the greater portion of the game completely overwhelmed their visitors from Highbury.
It is only fair to The Arsenal to say at the outset that owing to injuries sustained by Graham and Baker during practice the half-back line had to be reorganised and herein lay the most pronounced weakness of the side. In every department Liverpool were immeasurably the superior side, and had they not eased up during the second half an even bigger crop of goals must have come their way.
A first minute goal.
The game opened sensationally and finished in like fashion. After a minute’s play Chambers flashed the ball across to Lacey, who dropped it into the goalmouth, where Johnson took advantage of hesitancy on the part of Williamson, and four minutes later the same player again pounced again upon a partial save from a drive by Forshaw and recorded a second goal.
These two points galvanised the Liverpool forward line, and with the Arsenal defence so heavily taxed their forwards were given little opportunity to get going. Even when they spasmodically got away the half-backs lingered so far behind that any danger was adverted in easy fashion by the Liverpool defenders.
At the end of half an hour’s play Bromilow threaded his way through the defence and finished with an oblique shot that left Williamson helpless. Thus Liverpool led by three goals at the interval.
It must be not be inferred that the Arsenal forwards had been altogether out of the picture, for Boreham and Young had each levelled close-range shots that only a keeper of the ability of Scott could have prevented from entering the net.
The second period had only been a minute in progress when, from a free kick taken by Lacey, Chambers fired in a ball that flashed into the net from the underside of the crossbar, and ere five minutes had gone Boreham dashed in to score from a partial save by the Liverpool keeper.
Johnson came along with a fifth for the Anfield men, and during the absence of Whittaker, who had come into collision with Lacey, Young, from close quarters, again reduced Liverpool’s lead. The play eased up in the concluding stages, but Johnson came near recording a further point with a ball that rebounded from the face of the crossbar.
Arsenal’s old fault.
The Liverpool forwards must be commended for their splendid display. They were virile, speedy, full of resource, and eager to get goal-ward. They did not finesse for its own sake, but for advantageous positions. Hopkin and Chambers combined most effectively, giving Butler and Bradshaw many anxious moments, while Lacey and Forshaw were also clever in manoeuvring for openings which they utilised to the full.
The wings were kept well under way by Johnson, who was capable leader and an opportunist with plenty of energy. He has evidently recovered completely from his cartilage trouble and is quite himself again.
A striking fault of the Arsenal forwards was their inability to drive a ball hard and true when well within shooting range, while their general methods of making progress were often of the crude order. White was the most thrustful of the line, with Blyth a constant worker who could not, however, exact much quarter from McNab.
Bromilow’s fine display.
Liverpool had a big advantage at half back, where Bromilow’s work was the embodiment of artistry. Seldom wasting a ball, he kept it low and fed Hopkin with some delectable passes. He always gave one the impression of having more goals in his locker. McNab’s work, too, was sound, but the centre half-back position was not as strongly maintained as usual.
The Arsenal half-backs at no time were sufficiently strong to render their forwards much assistance, and the speed of the Liverpool attack allowed the defence little time for recovering. Longworth worked throughout like a Trojan, and played a masterly game. On the day’s play Arsenal were a well beaten side, but the absence of Graham and Baker was a very big loss to them.
Liverpool: Elisha Scott, Ephraim Longworth, Donald Mackinlay, John McNab, Walter Wadsworth, Tom Bromilow, William Lacey, Dick Forshaw, Dick Johnson, Harry Chambers, Fred Hopkin.
Arsenal: Tim Williamson, Frank Bradshaw, Arthur Hutchins, Jack Butler, Clem Voysey, Tom Whittaker, Jock Rutherford, Bert White, Andrew Young, Reginald Boreham, Billy Blyth.
(Source: Athletic News: August 28, 1922)