January 15, 1943
Everton face their most important Merseyside “Derby” game of the war period tomorrow when they go to Anfield to oppose Liverpool in their return War Qualifying Competition game. Should Everton fail to win, their position will give rise to deep concern.
Last season it is true, Everton opposed Liverpool in the Cup proper, but those two ties were of no greater importance to the Blues than this meeting. The game might easily decide Everton’s Cup fate for 1943. So far the Blues have secured only two points from the three of the ten qualifying games. That, candidly, is not good enough to land them a place in the leading 32 of the 54 clubs battling for qualification,
Liverpool on the other hand, have five points from their three games, and even if they are defeated tomorrow they can still claim more than a point a match which is the safety margin. Liverpool will go out on the field, carefree, whereas Everton will be alive to the fact that another defeat might blast all their hopes.
Of course I hasten to point out that an Everton defeat tomorrow will not mean finis to cup hopes, but it will mean a desperate battle in their remaining six games –against excellent opposition. No, tomorrow is the day when Everton must effect a turn in the tide of fortune. They cannot afford to drop any more points at this stage.
Value of Lawton.
The one man who may make all the difference to the Blues in a game which should bring an attendance even exceeding the 22,370 who paid to see Liverpool beat Southport in November is Lawton. There is no greater match-winner in present-day football than Lawton. When I made my weekly pools forecast I had no definite news regarding the appearance of Lawton and gave Liverpool to win. In this case of fancy second thoughts will be best and that Everton, with Lawton and with that vital urge for points, will turn last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat into a victory. I appreciate that one player does not make a team but Everton with Lawton are an entirely different proposition to Everton without Lawton.
One must allow that despite their good win last Saturday we did not see the best of Liverpool. They missed the penetrative power of Dick Dorsett, who, however, may be back this time, and if Everton can move the ball to man and position just a shade quicker, they might upset a defence which can be drawn out of position. However, if Everton again allow Liverpool to take the initiative when it comes to going to possession or to the tackle then they will be courting disaster. Everton need to speed it up on a ground where they have always done well, in fact, for years Anfield has been a home-from-home to them.
Liverpool will only be seeking their first cup “double” but their sixth of the season, and must start out as favourites if only for the reason that they have twice defeated and drawn with Everton this season. Harry Eastham comes to make one of his rare appearances for the Reds, who still have doubts regarding the constitution of their team in all departments except gal. Everton’s doubts effect the half-back line only.
Birkett, of Haydock will be in goal for his first “Derby.” Burnett goes to Maine-road to play for Manchester United against Blackpool. Once again I ask that intending spectators will get to the ground as early as possible to help the limited staff of stewards. The kick-off is at three o’clock.
Liverpool (from): Alf Hobson, Roy Guttridge, Ray Lambert, Fred Williams, Harry Kaye, Eric Keen, Jack Pilling, Jack Balmer, Willie Fagan, Cyril Done, Harry Eastham, Fred Haydock, Michael Hulligan.
Everton (from): Wilfred Birkett, Billy Cook, Norman Greenhalgh, Joe Mercer, John Humphreys, George Curwen, Harry Jones, Stan Bentham, George Mutch, Tommy Lawton, Alex Stevenson, George Jackson.
(Source: Evening Express: January 15, 1943; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited