Manchester United’s fine play


May 10, 1943
Manchester United have set Liverpool a stiffish task for the second leg of the Lancashire Cup final at Maine Road next Saturday, for they hold a two goals lead as the result of their 3-1 victory at Anfield.

The margin is fairly wide, but not too wide if Liverpool can produce their normal form which has brought them their championship honour.

There will have to be a vast improvement in their play if they hope to win the cup. Their form was too bad to be true. I readily admit that Manchester gave a perfect example of high speed and accurate football, but I feel Liverpool can do better next time.

In Every phase of football on Saturday Manchester were the superior force. They played smooth, open Soccer, each man linking up to forge a really tip-toe team. On the other hand, Liverpool were a collection of units. One rarely saw a concerted movement by Liverpool which promised to bring the decided result. In fact, it was the poorest game I have seen them play this season.

Good play at high speed.
The United combination all too often beat the Anfield defence, but Liverpool’s main trouble was in attack. There seemed to be no purpose about the forwards. It was useless to fling the ball up the middle and trust to luck that it would go to a colleague. A pass had to be made accurately and to a point where it would be of most advantage against the sound Manchester defence. The United showed what accurate and wise passing could do, yet Liverpool refused to take a leaf out of their book and bring some semblance of combination into their play. Another big factor in the United victory was their speed. They did not wait for the ball, whereas the Liverpool men waited its arrival and all too often found a Manchester man nipping in before them.

Liverpool were never a combined force. They were slow, individualistic, and hesitant. The United swept the ball from man to man so swiftly that one began to wonder how many Manchester men were playing, for the ball seemed to be always in their possession. It was just a matter of pace, but a vital matter nevertheless.

A lot of extra work was thrown on the Liverpool halves and backs, and they could not hope to shoulder the whole burden. Liverpool may spring a surprise in the final match, but not unless there is more method brought into their play next Saturday.

Pearson, for Manchester, a grand forward, opened the score in nine minutes. Nieuwenhuys equalised with a fine goal at 38 minutes, but Bellis put the United ahead again two minute from half-time. Rowley scored their third goal after Hobson had saved magnificently from Bellis. Result: Liverpool 1, Manchester United 3. Attendance 12,117; receipts £730.

Liverpool: Alf Hobson, George Jackson, Jack Westby, Harry Kaye, Frank Rist, Jack Pilling, Berry Nieuwenhuys, Jack Balmer, Cyril Done, Willie Fagan, Michael Hulligan.
Manchester United: Mark Radcliffe, Jack Griffiths, William Roughton, Billy Walsh, Eric Eastwood, Herb Whalley, William Bryant, Johnny Morris, Jack Rowley, Stan Pearson, Alf Bellis.
Referee: Mr. J. Williams (Bolton).
(Liverpool Daily Post: May 10, 1943)

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