March 29, 1945
There will be right and possibly nine internationals in the great Goodison Park send off to the Easter holiday football programme of two matches in three days. Everton include in their side against Liverpool in the second “leg” of their North War Cup first round and if Harley plays, Liverpool will have four.
The four countries will be represented by these caps, for there will be Mercer, Jackson, Lawton, and Welsh of England, Gillick, Harley and Liddell of Scotland. Stevenson, or Ireland, and Cumner of Wales.
The return to Everton of Lawton, Mercer, and Gillick is not the only bright spot for the Blues followers, for Jimmy McIntosh has been released by Preston North End – a nice gesture this – and Eddie Wainwright is coming on leave.
Gillick will be making his first appearance here for a year and, like Wainwrght, travels throughout tonight to ensure getting here in good time for a rest before the game. Gillick’s return to Merseyside is the outcome of ceaseless efforts by Secretary Mr. Theo Kelly during the past few days. As a matter of fact, Mr. Kelly is staying at Goodison Park for two nights to greet these long travellers and ensure that they get sleep and food.
I wish there was such cheerful news from Anfield, but manager Mr. George Kay states that Matt Busby is extremely doubtful and that there is still no definite word about either Nieuwenhuys or Harley. It is hard luck, but Liverpool never play better than when really up against it, so Everton have no cause for complacency even if they have ample grounds for an optimism which I share.
My own opinion is that ground advantage and their strong team will offset Liverpool’s one goal lead. In any case I take the victors to win the Cup, for I cannot spot a team in the Region capable of lowering their colours. Lawton will be happy in the reunion with Gillick, for he can be certain of the return “short ball.”
The welcome return to Joe Mercer will further co-ordinate an already strong defence, and there should be first-class service from the wings. The Everton team looks good enough to win anything.
Liverpool have their worries, but also their road to victory. This lies in the persistent exploitation of Billy Liddell, who was too often left to languish last week without the help of the winning pass. Liverpool hopes rest on the opportunism of Liddell and his inside forwards, and the solidity of Laurie Hughes and Company at half-back.
Liverpool have upset the odds many times before, and they will not surprise me if they do pull it off, but I still take Everton for the tie.
The gate will be opened at 1.30 p.m. and the paddock will be opened. Spectators are asked to get to the ground as early as possible and to what they did at Anfield – keep the orange and Lemon peel of the playing pitch.
During the interval an American visitor will give his impression of the game over a microphone – a novel touch.
Both clubs are hoping for the aid of as many of the following players as possible for Monday’s game, at Anfield which like Saturday starts at three o’clock.
Everton: George Burnett, George Jackson, Norman Greenhalgh, Jack Grant, Joe Mercer, Gordon Watson, Eddie Wainwright, Torry Gillick, Tommy Lawton, Alex Stevenson, Jimmy McIntosh.
Liverpool (from): Alf Hobson, Jim Harley, Jack Westby, Jeff Gulliver, Harry Kaye, Laurie Hughes, Jack Pilling, Berry Nieuwenhuys, Jack Campbell, Phil Taylor, Billy Liddell, Don Welsh, Horace Cumner.
(Evening Express: March 29, 1945)