August 2, 1978
No one was more surprised, or delighted than Graeme Souness when he was told to join the Liverpool squad for to-night’s game in Dublin against a League of Ireland side. Liverpool’s Scottish World Cup star was booked to fly out to Munich next Tuesday to link up with the rest of the part after seeing the club specialist for a check on his broken right thumb.
But yesterday afternoon he went to the doctor for what was expected to be no more than a “half-time” examination. Two hours later, still a little dazed, he was on the Dublin flight from Speke with the others.
He said: “The doctor decided to take off the splint which had my thumb sticking up in the air. I now have a light plaster over the hand and this won’t stop me playing. I thought this wasn’t going to happen until next Monday.
“I was very disappointed when it looked as though I would miss the first three games of the pre-season tour. I don’t want to miss any game, friendly or serious.
“This is my first full season with the club and I want to be involved in all of it. I hope this good news from the doctor is a good omen for me at the start of the practice matches.”
Manager Bob Paisley was also pleased that Souness is available from the start. He said: “He is very keen to play and has done all the training with the others.
“But I was thinking in terms of him laying in Vienna a week on Friday bit it’s much better that he gets all the match practice he can. This is the whole point of these pre-season games.”
Souness will play tonight but Mr. Paisley will not decide on his starting line-up until he checks on the condition of the Landsdowne Road pitch which is likely to be heavy after days of persistent rain here.
He said: “I will use all 13 players. Whoever starts on the subs bench will play at some stage.”
Playing five pre-season practice games instead of the normal three is such a change from routine for Liverpool that it indicates Mr. Paisley’s determination to have his players reach peak fitness earlier than usual.
In the past decade, they have been playing three or no more than four, games in their build-up to this season. But now, starting tonight, they have five matches in 12 days – a heavy programme even if they are only designed as warm-up sessions.
The Liverpool chief said: “It’s unusual for us to cover five countries in our pre-season schedule. But I look on to-night’s game as a replacement for the match we usually play at Chester behind closed doors.
“The three games next week against Basle, Bayern Munich and FC Austria involve more travelling than normal but should provide the type of training matches I am looking for. And our fifth game, a week on Monday, against Celtic for the Jock Stein Testimonial is to help an old friend, and is a match between two of the only three British clubs to have won the European Cup.
“It is a harder pre-season programme than usual, but it’s all part of the increased tempo of training we have adopted this time, because we have to be right for our Cup Final in September against Nottingham Forest in the European Cup.”
(Source: Liverpool Echo: August 2, 1978; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited