September 1, 1970
No wonder the Kop chants “Brazil, Brazil” whenever Liverpool gain a free-kick near their opponents’ penalty area. For Liverpool are fast becoming the most feared team in the League from such dead ball situations.
Today Liverpool sit high in the First Division, once again on the heels of the pacemakers of the race for the title. They have scored eight goals to three by their opponents and have seven points to boast from five matches.
No less than six of their goals and four of their points however, have been the direct result of free-kicks. But while Liverpool must be feeling very pleased with themselves at being noblemen among the commoners when it comes to free-kicks, they must be very disturbed that they have only been able to engineer two goals from other means in seven and a half hours’ football this season.
And as if to rub it in, both goals schemed by other means than via the referee’s whistle came in the same match – against Huddersfield – when their opponents were already beaten and their defence wilting. Both came in the second half, which Liverpool opened 2-0 ahead. Both were scored by Alun Evans, one from the scheming of Tommy Smith, and the other from the work of Ian Callaghan.
Otherwise Liverpool’s goals have all come via free-kicks. This is the roll call:
Against Burnley: Goal 1 – Evans drives a loose ball into the net after Emlyn Hughes’ shot rebounds from the “wall.” Goal 2 – A touch to Hughes and he hits a long, low drive into the corner of the net.
Against Huddersfield: Goal 1 and 2 – On both occasions John McLaughlin is lurking on the edge of the penalty area as free kicks are touched back to him, to hit them low into the net.
Against Crystal Palace: Goal 1 – Bobby Graham follows up to net as Cliff Jackson drops Hughes’ free-kick.
Against West Bromwich: Goal 1 – Alun Evans, with fine opportunism, picks his spot from the edge of the area as Hughes squares the ball to him after collecting a free kick.
Dead ball situations are as much a part of the game as anything else and any goal is as valuable as the one before. But sooner or later, Liverpool’s opponents are going to cotton on to the fact that free-kicks are potentially Liverpool’s most dangerous weapon and take appropriate defensive measures.
As and when this happens, Liverpool will have to show they can also produce goals from other quarters against defence far more skilful and organised than those they have come up against so far.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: September 1, 1970; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited