August 30, 1943
Liverpool, starting the season with a clear-cut 4-1 victory over Manchester City at Anfield, would have won by a considerably bigger margin but for the brilliant goalkeeping of Swift.
While Swift had occasional slicers of luck most of his saves were the result of excellent positioning, sound intuition, and his unusually long reach. Time and again he prevented what seemed certain goals and well deserved the ovations he got at the interval and the finish.
Had City been as well served in all departments as in this Liverpool’s task would have been much harder. The losers’ attack was reasonably good in its approach work, and occasionally showed flashes of brilliance, but the finishing was weak, and apart from a few shots by Thomson and Percival, Hobson was rarely tested. Indeed, City’s best scoring effort came from full back Bray and half-back McDowall.
Liverpool made swift progress in attack with half the effort of their opponents, and finished off their assaults with plenty of first-time shooting. Balmer, who got three goals, was the best forward on the field. There was a tinge of fortune about the first in six minutes, for his shot was deflected out of Swift’s reach, but his second, at the half-hour, was a brilliant individual effort, in which he tricked three opponents and then dribbled round the advancing goalkeeper, while his third, a minute from the end, was a wonderfully placed header from Liddell’s pass.
Sandwiched between these Percival got one for City and Done one for Liverpool. City’s was something of a gift, for the ball bobbed about in the home goalmouth for some minutes without anybody making a full-blooded effort to clear before Percival hooked a weak shot past the unsighted Hobson. It was an interesting and entertaining game, but not particularly exciting. Swift’s goalkeeping, Balmer’s goals and general leadership, and the half-back work of Kaye and Hughes were the features. Taylor was grand for sixty minutes and then faded out. Liddell is still below last season’s form, though he was better than last week, and Done, who found the ball running badly for him, was rarely in the picture. McDowall was brilliant for the City until he tired in the closing stages, the backs put yp quite a good show against their opponents’ speedy forwards, but Walsh was a weakness and Boothway was disappointing at centre-forward.
Liverpool: Alf Hobson, Kenneth Seddon, Jack Westby, Harry Kaye, Laurie Hughes, Jack Pilling, Billy Liddell, Phil Taylor, Jack Balmer, Cyril Done, Don Welsh, Alf Hanson.
Manchester City: Frank Swift, Harry Jackson, Jackie Bray, Billy Walsh, Eric Eastwood, Les McDowall, Jack Percival, Johnny Williamson, Jack Boothway, A. Thomson, C. Barclay.
Referee: Mr. H. Hartley (Bolton).
(Liverpool Daily Post: August 30, 1943)
Liverpool Echo sketch: August 30, 1943.