December 7, 1956
Liverpool’s visit to Nottingham Forest should provide a better guide to the promotion prospects of the two teams than the game against the much cut-up Sheffield United eleven a week ago.
Possibly the time may come when Liverpool will build up a sequence of sustained success both home and away. Hitherto, when they have been doing well away they have slipped up at home, and vice versa.
After fulfilling their first five away fixtures without defeat they have since taken only two points from four matches on opposing grounds.
A victory at Nottingham would, like last week’s, be of more than usual value, for anything which pegs back rival contenders might possibly prove helpful at a later stage, assuming that the always unpredictable Anfielders can put themselves back in the promotion picture.
Liverpool have been scoring well of late, having totalled 21 goals in their last seven outings. They have not had full credit in all quarters for some of their wins. They may not be an outstandingly brilliant team, but they have been getting the right results of recent weeks, and that makes up for a multitude of “sins” in the eyes of many people.
Forest are slipping.
Nottingham Forest have lost some ground during the last month or so, and have not only been deposed from the Second Division leadership, but have dropped to fifth place, being now only three points better off than Liverpool, compared with eight not long ago.
They have not won since defeating Doncaster at home on October 7, since when they have lost two games and drawn three.
The most serious decline has been in the attack, which seems recently to have lost its touch almost completely. The last five matches have yielded only two goals, while seven have been scored against Forest.
By far the most dangerous forward is the former Arsenal inside left Lishman, who has scored exactly a third of Forest’s 39 goals off his own boots and head.
The only other member of the attack to show any real scoring potential is Barrett, who netted seven times in the first three games of the season. Shortly afterwards he was taken ill and only returned to duty three weeks ago.
During Barrett’s absence Forest had signed Baily from Port Vale, so that Barrett came back as leader of the attack. He failed to add to his total in two games there, and last week was replaced by a young debutant named Edward Huddlestone. Barrett is recalled for to-morrow.
Defensively the Forest are as sound as one would expect from a side occupying a high place. Only Middlesbrough, who beat them 4-0 at the City Ground, have really overcome their rearguard. That is the solitary home defeat suffered in nine matches, though Forest have been held to a draw on three occasions.
The recent lack of success coincides with the loss through injury or right back Billy Whare, in whose place Hutchinson has deputised. Goalkeeper Bill Farmer, who like Whare is a Channel Islander, is another casualty, and the Forest net is currently guarded by Nicholson, the former Grimsby custodian.
In the corresponding match on the opening day of last season the Reds won 3-1 at Forest, two of the goals coming from A’Court. If the Liverpool outside left gives a display similar to that against Sheffield United last week and the rest of the side is up to scratch, another Liverpool win at the City Ground is not beyond hope.
Nottingham Forest: Harry Nicholson, Jack Hutchinson, Geoff Thomas, Bill Morley, Bobby McKinlay, Jack Burkitt, Peter Small, Doug Lishman, Jim Barrett, Eddie Baily, Stewart Imlach.
Liverpool: Tommy Younger, John Molyneux, Ronnie Moran, Roy Saunders, Laurie Hughes, Geoff Twentyman, Billy Liddell, Johnny Wheeler, Alan Arnell, Jimmy Melia, Alan A’Court.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: December 7, 1956; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited