Billy Liddell for Wembley


September 14, 1942
Billy Liddell, Liverpool’s 19-year-old wing forward, will play for Scotland in the big game with England at the Empire Stadium, Wembley, on Saturday, October 10. The Scottish Football Association applied to Liverpool for Liddell’s release for this game, and Liverpool have, of course, consented.

Liddell will be playing at outside left for his country, the position in which he played when making his sensational debut for Scotland against England at Hampden Park last season. His choice comes as no surprise; in fact, it was only on Saturday that I referred to Billy as a Scottish “certainty.”

While Liddell joined the Anfield staff before the war, it was not until we came to war-time conditions that the lad really “arrived.” Since then he has proved the greatest of the many fine youngsters who have seized their opportunities during the past three years. Liddell is now a five-figure transfer fee player who will go to further successes. Billy is awaiting the call to the RAF, but he may not go for some months, and so carries on with his work in a Liverpool accountants’ office.

Liddell will serve Scotland well, never fear. He is a natural footballer who refuses to become intoxicated with success.

Hint to England
England’s main problem for the Wembley game may be centre-half for there is still a doubt about Stan Cullis, who may not be quite fit following that broken leg of last season. I wish the English selectors had joined the 17,131 at Anfield on Saturday, when Liverpool defeated Everton by the only goal in the first of the season’s ‘Derby’ games. Had they been they would not have hesitated in naming their new pivot. I refer to Tom Bush, Liverpool’s tall all-powerful pivot, the man who defied Everton frequently.

More speed than skill.
Those who went along to Anfield to contribute to the receipts of £1,049 seeking skill must have been disappointment, for here was a match which though boasting much of the peacetime favour and excitement, was curiously lacking in the delicacy of football.

Blame the occasion for this to a certain extent. These ‘Derby’ games and the blood racing through the veins and it effects players and spectators alike. Hence the super-abundance of free-kick.

Play at times was all too vigorous and protesting voices were often raised, not always against the real winners. We yearned in vain for something approaching cohesive skill and a touch of grace. Pity for the thrills was there right to the end.

A curiously – assorted Everton had a merry 25 minutes in which they were slightly the better team, but then Phil Taylor inaugurated the move which ended in George Mills hooking into the net for the only goal of the match.

Two Everton efforts came back off the bar and that was about the end of the Blues for Liverpool went on to dominate the game for the remaining 65 minutes. Twice in the closing stages they got the ball into the net, but the goals were rightly disallowed for infringement.

The Liverpool forwards had the better understanding and far more bite and their half-backs never once relinquished their grip on the individualistic Everton forwards who seemed all too small.

Tom Bush in particular, towered over them. A grand player, Bush, Harry Kaye, and Eddie Spicer, too, were keen in defence and discriminating in attack, and behind them Roy Guttridge and Ray Lambert proved rugged backs. With Alf Hobson right “on song” there was no loophole in the defence.

In attack I liked Mills better, and the Cyril Done – Phil Taylor wing was rather the more potent, just as the Mutch-Jackson wing was the better flank of the Everton attack. Young Jack Grant was rather crowded out, and Harry Jones could make little of Bush. Easily Everton’s outstanding men were Tommy Jones and George Burnett with Bentham, Cook, and Watson giving excellent service.

So far as actual football went Watson contributed more than any of the 22. However, Liverpool had that extra sense of collaboration and were generally operating with greater smoothness and potency. No not a memorable ‘Derby’ except that justice was served by the result.
(Evening Express: September 14, 1942)

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