Can Ray Clemence secure the goalkeeper spot?

Friday, August 2 – 1968
Over at Anfield, I believe, manager Bill Shankly has decided on ten certain positions for his side which again practically picks itself. The one spot which I feel he is leaving open until last minute is at goalkeeper, where 20-years-old Ray Clemence could come into the reckoning to take over from Tommy Lawrence, with Lawrence breathing down his neck seeking to retain his regular spot.

Clemence played brilliantly during the team’s close season games in Portugal and Las Palmas. Clearly, he has the ability to step into any First Division side with distinction and went a good deal of the way to proving just that with his display at Prenton Park on Tuesday.

Mr Shankly said subsequently that Lawrence was available as a substitute for that match if needed, although he had been suffering from a slight strain. It will be interesting to see what happens at Hull City to-night when the Reds complete their public practice stints, with a private 90-minute match to follow at Anfield next week.

Although the Liverpool side to face champions Manchester City at Anfield a week to-morrow could almost be named now – a part from the Lawrence – Clemence doubt – Mr. Shankly has made it very plain to me that he will have no hesitation in making changes if needed.

He went to some lengths in a long talk to me to praise the quality of youngsters like Ian Ross, Peter Wall, Bobby Graham, Doug Livermore – and Clemence – whom he felt had reached the stage where they could command a regular senior spot. So be prepared for changes if the manager is not satisfied with the performances of the senior players who have been automatic choices for so long.

But for the start at least I believe the Liverpool line-up will be: Lawrence or Clemence, Lawler, Wall, Smith, Yeats, Hughes, Callaghan, Hunt, Hateley, St John, Thompson. To-night’s selection at Hull could be another pointer to this.
(Liverpool Echo, 02-08-1968)

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