Blues and Reds clash at Goodison

October 8, 1943
The first of the big Merseyside Football League “Derby” games stands out as the premier attraction for tomorrow’s sport cards.” Everton and Liverpool will clash at Goodison Park in what should be a brilliant exhibition of football played in all the pre-war atmosphere.

This is the second meeting of the clubs this season, for they meet in a charity match in August at Anfield, when Liverpool staged one of those thrills-a-minute rallies which brought them from behind to win 5-2.

Since the first war season Liverpool have fared much the better in these local duels and last season Everton won only one match. That was the final clash – a Liverpool Cup-tie – and although the Blues won the game, Liverpool won the cup.

For practically two seasons the Reds have been on top, and if one accepts form at its face value Liverpool will be favourites for tomorrow game, for in the six weeks of the season they have secured ten points to Everton’s seven. The Reds only lapse was away to Manchester City, while Everton fell, at Manchester United and dropped single points to Blackburn Rovers and Burnley at home and Burnley away.

Evenly Matched.
One of the most intriguing factors about football, however, is that teams do not always run to form, and while Liverpool have the better record I think we shall find these teams pretty evenly matched.

Let me give you the latest team news, and you will be able to get a better line on the matter. Matt Busby cannot get away to play for Liverpool, but Jim Harley is home on leave, and is included among the back. Whether he plays or not will not be decided until just before the match when the directors confer. The remainder of the Anfield side is as announced except that Done will start at centre-forward with Don Welsh on his left.

Turning to Everton the doubt is at half-back. Joe Mercer’s military duties prevent him getting away. Jack Jones will be at right back, with Stan Bentham at right half. Grant retains his outside right position, Stevenson goes to inside left. Tommy Lawton definitely loads the forwards. I must make mention that Tommy Jones is certain to be at centre-half because Jones is the key man to the whole situation. If Tommy is on his game them I expect Everton to win. Jones will take care of the Liverpool inside-Liverpool, and with Lawton expertly fed by Stevenson, the England leader should get the chances he needs.

Burnett has been injured at work and Birkett keeps goal. Jimmy Logie is not available. Experience is on the side of Everton, but Liverpool have demonstrated times out of number that they can make up any lack of experience by sheer honesty of purpose and fighting spirit. Maybe Everton’s cleverness will be upset by the dash and quick-fire shooting of the Reds who always take the shortest cut to goal.

Anyway, this is going to be a grand match starting at three o’clock, and while I fancy Everton, I have the utmost respect for the power of Liverpool. Be there early to make sure of a good “spec” and please form orderly queens to assist the limited gate staff.

Everton: Wilf Birkett, Jack Jones, Norman Greenhalgh, Stan Bentham, Tommy Jones, A.N. Other, Jack Grant, Eddie Wainwright, Tommy Lawton, Alex Stevenson, Jimmy McIntosh.

Liverpool: Alf Hobson, Jack Westby, Jeff Gulliver (or Jim Harley), Harry Kaye, Laurie Hughes, Jack Pilling, Jack Campbell, Jack Balmer, Cyril Done, Don Welsh, Alf Hanson.
(Evening Express, 08-10-1943)

Everton changes for Liverton Derby
The meeting of Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park, tomorrow, is a tit-bit which supporters of both clubs have been eagerly anticipating. Ever since Liverpool trounced their rivals in the charity match at Anfield a couple of months ago. Everton loyalists have been waiting to see the Blues get a chance to reverse the verdict. The opportunity is here; whether it will be translated by Everton into accomplishment is another matter.

Had the Blues been able to field the side originally hoped for I should strongly have fancied their chances, but his morning’s mail brought a packet of disappointment for Mr. Theo Kelly. First came word from Cliff Britton that he couldn’t make the journey, and with Mercer in the same boat that played havoc with what promised to be an all-international half-back line.

Next came a wire from Logie, the Arsenal man, that he, too had to be counted out, and then as though that wasn’t enough, there arrived word that Burnett was hurt at work last night and might not be fit. Everton have recast their side by restoring Wainwright as partner to Grant and putting Stevenson, back in his normal place, but the ubiquitous A.N. Other figures at left half, while Birkett stands by in case Burnett is a non-starter.

Birkett did well last season in several senior games, and since then has gained confidence and experience. With these changed Everton’s chances don’t appear quite so bright as they did, but they are still good, for the defence, is sound and the attack, if the ball runs kindly, has great possibilities. The match has a very open look, and I don’t think there will be a great deal in it at the finish. Of one thing we can be sure that both sides will go all-out for victory and if the game is as good as its many war-time predecessors and the football as keen and as clean, we are in for a thrilling display.

Take No Chances
Everton must take nothing for granted –as they did at Anfield when they had a two-goal lead ten minutes from the end, and then let the Reds get five –if they want to come out on top. In backing up the attack the wing halves must remember that speed in recovery is just as vital as sixth-forward work, and that if Liverpool’s nippy line is given big open spaces in which to work something is going to happen.

This game provides Laurie Hughes with his biggest test since joining Liverpool. Will he be able to hold Lawton? If the ball is too much in the air Hughes will have the advantage; if Everton keep it on the floor and give Lawton the right type of passes the advantage will be reversed.

Everton: Birkett; Jones (Jack), Greenhalgh; Bentham, Jones (Tom), A.N. Other; Grant. Wainwright, Lawton, Stevenson and McIntosh.

Liverpool: Hobson; Westby, Gulliver; (or Harley); Kaye, Hughes, Pilling; Campbell, Balmer, Done, Welsh, Hanson.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: October 8, 1943; via © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited


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