Billy Liddell supreme


December 3. 1945
With the deference to the all-round ability of Liverpool both individually and as a team the act cannot be denied that Billy Liddell was the player who stood supreme in the 4-1 triumph over Huddersfield Town at Anfield. A few weeks ago I described Liddell as the greatest among contemporary forwards and this latest display further convinces me that I am bang on the mark.

Quite apart from the fact that Liddell scored two goals and made goals for Willie Fagan and Jack Balmer, his general play was superlative, and I think the finest thing he did was to let go from an almost impossible position, a 25-yard shot near the end. The shot failed to score but it was one of the grandest things I have seen for ages. The Town players tried all they knew to subdue Liddell and while some of the methods angered onlookers who could blame Huddersfield? Liddell was too good for Town, and at 23 is the “wonder man” of football for no amount of praise can turn his head. Modesty is one of the secrets of his success.

Liddell’s mission was helped along by the clever and progressive work of his forward colleagues and choice feeding by Jimmy McInnes – a nice welcome-back-Jimmy and Harry Kaye. I thought Fagan the man who, more than anyone, opened up the goalway for the flying Scot. Fagan’s ball manipulation and drawing power had the Town defence running the wrong way time and again, and it speaks volumes for Fagan’s abilities as a leader when I saw that as soon as he dropped back late for foraging purposes the line tends to fall to pieces.

The game, of course, had been won by that time. Kevin Baron had quite a good match, but like Balmer at times suffered by attempting to do things before gaining complete mastery over the ball. Balmer did some of the finest things in the game and yet some of the most tantalising – a sort of bitter-sweet display. Phil Taylor’s use of the ball and grafting were of immense value against a defence which breathed easily only when the final whistle sounded.

The Liverpool defence found Huddersfield’s attack lively and precise in the opening stages when Town kept the ball on the move continually, but Laurie Hughes, Ray Lambert and Jeff Gulliver settled down to complete harmony and saved Harry Hall quite a lot of work. It was unfortunate for Hughes that his attempted clearance of a Albert Bateman shot should go awry, for the ball went off at a tangent past Hall. One of the vital things about this convincing victory in a thriller was that whereas Town were inclined to be stereotyped Liverpool varied their attacking plan continually, and the re-introduction of that effective cross-field pass was a matter of personal delight to me.

Chairman Mr. Billy McConnell was there to play host to the Huddersfield party, from which manager Mr, David Steele was missing because of “scouting” calls, and was supported by Messrs. Will Harrop, Jimmy Troop, S. Ronnie Williams, Richard Lawson Martindale, George Richards and Ralph Knowles Milne. Mr. Walter Cartwright and Manager Mr. George Kay were missing because of indisposition, but I am pleased to say that both are making fine progress towards recovery.

A word for Assistant-Secretary Mr. John Charles Rouse, who, only a few minutes after time, had the bonus all ready for paying-out and income tax deductions settled. And the players received their rewards right away. A nice “pay-as-you-earn” idea.
(Source: Evening Express: December 3, 1945)

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