December 31, 1945
Liverpool’s great rally.
Once again Liverpool demonstrated their magnificent fighting quality when they snatched victory from Everton by a ten minute drive at the end of the game, which produced two goals to offset the pair Everton had taken earlier on. It certainly appeared that the victory was in Everton’s safe keeping at eighty minutes, but one can never take things for granted where the Anfielders are concerned.
Many would have given up the ghost, but not Liverpool. There was still time if then was the ability and they proved they were endowed with the latter when Baron volleyed a ball from Fagan well beyond Burnett at eighty-one minutes. They were in the game with a chance and four minute later Liddell came along with one of his “unstoppable,” which Burnett endeavoured to turn over his bar. He almost did it but not quite.
Liverpool had once again accomplished what most of the spectators must have considered impossible – averted defeat which was starring them in the face only a few minutes previously. It was typical of the Anfielders. They have been doing the same thing all along the years.
Were they value for their half share? Emphatically yes, if only because of their determination never to say die. There was more art and craft about the Everton side, yet it must be stated that Burnett had the more difficult shots to deal with. One or two of his saves bordered on the brilliant. Nickson had no such power drives to turn aide for the Everton forwards were more inclined to dribble close in before shooting and that played into the hands of the Liverpool defenders.
The football, however, was never as good as it was on Boxing Day. The thyme and rhythm was absent due to a great extent to the sharp tackling of the Liverpool half-backs and also Everton’s misplaced belief that their short passing was what was required.
Lack of Thought
With the greasy and heavy ball more open tactics should have been employed. The number of passes which went wrong were too numerous to mention, and why did Everton keep sending out the ball to Rawlings, who was limping from the first five minutes. Yet it was he who sent across the centre, which enabled Boyes to score in 26 minutes. After that he did nothing although he was spoon fed. He was unable to respond.
There was lack of thought somewhere. Boyes was completely starved for long spells. He had previously hit the angle of the post with Nickson beaten and he and Fielding particularly the latter were in fine form. The inside left made openings by astute passes but the Liverpool defence stood solid until 56 minutes when Fielding pushed the ball through to Catterick, who ran on and for the far side of the goal, the ball squeezing inside the upright.
Fagan played cleverly throughout and was always the chief Liverpool shooter. In the first half he had Everton goal in danger more than once particularly when Burnett lost his grip of the ball. The Scot twice while on the turn, hooked the ball into goal, whereas the sure blood Liddell sliced it outside in a surprising manner. This is uncommon to Liddell who, by the way, had a heavy cold.
It was hard going for there was a lot of pull in the sticky turf, and one or two were showing signs of tried leg muscles as a result, but the game never lost its interest. There was always something going on. The newcomers to “Derby” games all had a good innings.
Priday displayed his best form since joining Liverpool. His touchline runs were a feature and one could not overlook the quiet, yet effective work of Nieuwenhuys who paid special attention to both wings.
Hughes was a Trojan for work down the middle and on the flanks. Lambert was the better back, for he was sure and sized up an attack before it came dangerous. Nickson had little to do. He was at fault in pushing out Rawlings centre to the foot of Boyes and his handling was not always confident, Baron’s goal was a full volley from Fagan’s pass and showed the true value of a “hit or miss” effort.
Burnett obviously thinking the ball was going, but started too late for it. Liddell’s goal was a Liddell goal. Need I say more?
Stevenson who only reached these shores on Christmas Day showed some of his old cleverness, but it was not a five-part attack as that which had brushed aside the Blackpool defence. Nevertheless it was a typical “Derby” encounter keen enthusiastic football and the honours to Liverpool because of their great rally.
There were 60,926 people present by far the biggest gate since before the war and only a few thousand outside a ground record.
Everton: George Burnett, George Jackson, Norman Greenhalgh, Stan Bentham, Joe Mercer, Gordon Watson, Syd Rawlings, Alex Stevenson, Harry Catterick, Wally Fielding, Wally Boyes.
Liverpool (2-3-5): Harry Nickson, Jim Harley, Ray Lambert, Fred Finney, Laurie Hughes, Bob Paisley, Billy Liddell, Kevin Baron, Willie Fagan, Berry Nieuwenhuys, Bob Priday.
Referee: Mr. George Twist.
(Liverpool Daily Post: December 31, 1945)