Saturday, December 29 – 1979
Match: Football League, First Division, at The Hawthorns, kick-off: 15:00.
West Bromwich Albion – Liverpool 0-2 (0-2).
Referee: Mr. A. Glason.
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Tony Godden; Brendon Batson, Gary Pendrey, John Trewick, John David Wile; Ally Robertson, Bryan Robson, John Deehan, Cyrille Regis; Gary Owen (sub, Ally Brown, 79), Peter Barnes.
Liverpool (4-4-2): Ray Clemence; Phil Neal, Alan Hansen, Phil Thompson, Alan Kennedy; Terry McDermott, Jimmy Case, Graeme Souness, Ray Kennedy; Kenny Dalglish, David Johnson (sub, Steve Heighway, 71).
The goals: 0-1 Johnson (24 min.), 0-2 Johnson (43 min.).
At a time when I was nearing wits end for something new to say about Liverpool, the answer came from an ulikely and unexpected source.
“A film should be made of them and shown repeatedly to every team in the country” said John Wile, Albion’s experienced captain.
“I’ve been playing against them for ten years now and they haven’t changed. The players are different, but they are the same football team.
“They are so professional in concentrating on the basics and doing the simple things. Funnily enough, that’s the hardest thing to get players to do. We didn’t give them a game.”
I don’t suppose the Football Association or the Football League would be far-sighted enough to sponsor a filn of the best of Liverpool. But television must have so much footage in the archives that it would be relatively simple to make a documentary that could be released to clubs, at the same time producing a programme that would make compulsive viewing.
Almost as simple, in fact, as the football which has swept Liverpool so far in front that Albion manager Ron Atkinson who believed his team might intrude on the Anfield side’s advance to another League title, admitted:
“I couldn’t see a weakness. We should have been beaten by a greater margin, and if we hadn’t stuck to it I don’t know what the score might have been.”
Certainly Liverpool could have trebled it had they been as meticulous in shooting as in the attention to detail in every other aspect of the game. Typically, they scored when it mattered most – when Albion had been misled into believing they still had a chance.
Two moves bearing the Anfield hallmark disrupted Albion’s stuttering defence in the 24th and 43rd minutes.
The aggressive streak in Kenny Dalglish, plus uncanny control in close combat, embellished them.
Dalglish wriggled free of a double challenge to lay the ball in the path of Terry McDermott, whose shot bounced of ‘keeper Tony Godden, allowing David Johnson to score easily.
When Dalglish escaped again, he found McDermott far out on the right. The cross was so devastating that Johnson drove the second goal with Albion still wondering how it happened.
From then on Liverpool were able to relax, knowing that Albion’s midfield players, formidable against most opposition, had been overwhelmed almost to the point of non-existence.
(Daily Mirror, 31-12-1979)