Bill Shankly keeps cards to his chest

August 13, 1970
With less than 48 hours to go to the Big Kick-off, Liverpool are playing their cards close to their chests. With their practice matches finished and their training being wound-up, there is still no hint of the line-up Liverpool will use at Burnley.

In the practice matches against the League of Ireland, Preston and Middlesbrough, Bill Shankly shuffled his pack and tried formations both new and old. But what he has learned he intends to field at Burnley he is keeping very much to himself.

Nothing, it seems, is certain at the moment – although the picture will clear a little when he names 13 players to-morrow to make the trip to Turf Moor. Liverpool are, however, injury-free. Ron Yeats has recovered from the toe injury he received at Preston when he kicked the ground and Ian Callaghan has recovered from a sore foot he got playing on the hard Middlesbrough ground.

As Shankly prepared for the final decision, there seem to be no position which automatically fill themselves.

Big problems.
And big problems seem to bristle throughout the team. Left back: midfield: striking positions – all are in doubt.

At left back, a choice of one from at least four confronts Shankly. Should he persevere in his efforts to convert Ron Yeats or should he continue with the man who played at Middlesbrough, Ian Ross?

He might even bring Emlyn Hughes back from midfield to the position he began his career in. Or will he recall young Roy Evans who played in the No. 3 shirt on a couple of occasions last season?

For the midfield positions, Shankly has an equal number of permutations. Ian Callaghan, Emlyn Hughes, Ian Ross, Bobby Graham, Ian St. John, Doug Livermore, John McLaughlin – all could be given a chance.

In attack too, he can select from Graham, Alun Evans, Jack Witham and Peter Thompson, among others. The only man with the answers is Bill Shankly – and he intends to keep them to himself, probably until Saturday afternoon.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: August 13, 1970; via © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

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