April 27, 1945
Last week this time Liverpool looked comfortable favourites for the Cup at 9 to 4, but their disappointing display against Chesterfield at Anfield has changed the outlook, and Liverpool have lost their position of favourites, now being joint with Wolves at 3 to 1.
Liverpool will not grumble at that, seeing that both previous favourites – Aston Villa and Derby County – met with surprising defeats. The lengthening of Liverpool’s price will be proved justified if the Reds give us who make the long journey a repeat dose of the haphazard methods which characterised their efforts a week ago.
Liverpool reached a new low against the Town last Saturday, and because it was too bad to be true I feel pretty confident that they will go through to a convincing triumph tomorrow. Honestly, Liverpool cannot play as indifferently again. The magnitude of their task will also make Liverpool play better, for the Reds are never as good as when they are facing the odds.
The return of stars like Busby and Balmer – two of the pre-war vintage players with brain as well as foot skill – will make a world of difference, and although Manager Mr. George Kay cannot as yet give a definite team, I am hoping that Billy Liddell will be in his real position – outside left.
Liddell has been a real success at centre forward, but there is a time and place for everything, and against a defence of the Chesterfield standard Liddell’s place is not in the middle. Liddell’s penchant for beating his man on the inside is something Liverpool must have in their make-up, and the inside cut can outwit both Milburn and Kidd. Liddell can wing his way to a Liverpool success.
Chesterfield I do not regard as a dangerous side. They are brilliant in defence, but are not so good in attack. If a sharp watch is kept on Linacre, then the Liverpool defence should give nothing away, but what I want to see from Liverpool is a greater aptitude for shooting. This is where Jack Balmer will make such a difference, for Jack will “have a go.”
Snap shooting will carry Liverpool into the semi-final, and I am confident that they have the boys to do it.
Liverpool (from): Alf Hobson, Jack Westby, Jeff Gulliver, Matt Busby, Laurie Hughes, Harry Kaye, Jack Pilling, Jack Campbell, Berry Nieuwenhuys, Horace Cumner, Harry Eastham.
Chesterfield: Ray Middleton; George Milburn, Billy Kidd; Allen Pringle, Billy Whitaker, Leo Hobson; Billy Linacre, Tommy Peters, Jack Davie, Tommy Jones, Des Collins.
(Evening Express: April 27, 1945)