Friday, August 9 – 1968
Liverpool manager Bill Shankly will not commit himself to making public his team for the opening match of the season against League champions Manchester City, at Anfield, to-morrow. He has named 13 players from which selection will be made and the feature is that Tommy Lawrence, after being troubled by a thigh strain during the pre-season training, will be in goal again so that the team is very much “as you wrote.”
It was thought that Ray Clemence might have been given his first team chance but Lawrence is now fully fit and Mr. Shankly shows his faith in the man who has been a regular choice for many seasons now.
Although Geoff Strong is also included in the 13, now fit after having had a shin strain, the only conjecture about the team selection must be whether Mr. Shankly maintains the forward line-up which played so well in the friendly at Hull, where Bobby Graham took over at No 9 for the then injured Tony Hateley.
But now that Hateley has recovered from an ankle injury, he is named in the group and I believe he will play to-morrow, to face the former Everton centre half George Heslop, acting captain of City in the absence through injury of full back Tony Book.
As I am comment on Page 27 in looking ahead to the season’s prospects, Mr. Shankly had earlier said that he was prepared to bring in some of his youngsters if he thought it necessary, but he has given a vote of confidence to the established first team for this vital and fascinating opening clash against the champions.
Clemence is in the reserves team to play at Aston Villa where Liverpool take a side with a number of talented youngsters, including two boys only 16 years of age. They are former Kirkby boy John McLaughlin and ex-Bootle boy Steve Marshall, both of whom have high potential.
Turnstiles open early.
Liverpool have made arrangements to have some of the ground and paddock turnstiles open from 12:45 p.m. to-morrow to cope with early arrivals among the expected capacity crowd.
The Liverpool fans, anticipating the prospects of another great season’s football will be anxious to see how Liverpool’s experienced team mixing strength with skill will fare against one of the most exciting attacking sides in the land in Joe Mercer’s boys from Main Road.
City expect to field the team successful in last week’s Charity Shield game.
Full back and captain Tony Book is still suffering from Achilles tendon trouble, and Dave Connor deputies. With Tony Coleman still doubtful, Bobby Owen, who was playing Third Division football for Bury last season, keeps his forward place.
Liverpool: Lawrence; Lawler, Wall; (from) Smith, Yeats, Hughes, Strong; Callaghan, Hunt, Hateley, Graham, St. John, Thompson.
(Liverpool Echo, 09-08-1968)