Saturday, August 20 – 1983
When Liverpool and Manchester United have their showdown at Wembley this afternoon there is much more at stake than the annual hand-out to charity. For once, the season’s curtain raiser matches two clubs likely to spend the next eight months wrestling for the League championship.
An estimated 45,000 United fans – the biggest invasion since the 1968 European Cup victory – will descend on London for this Charity Shield clash. They sense, no doubt, that manager Ron Atkinson has assembled a team that at last can pose a threat to Liverpool’s unquestioned domestic superiority.
Perhaps if Bob Paisley had not chosen to retire there would be less debate about a shift of power from Merseyside to Manchester. And that places Joe Fagan, Paisley’s successor at Liverpool, very much under the football searchlight.
He has a lot to live up to at Anfield, but few football managers have inherited the talent he has at his disposal. Fagan has wasted no time in making minor adjustments to the Liverpool line-up. Mike Robinson, who fought with all his muscular strength in a bid to take the FA Cup to Brighton last May, is back at Wembley in Liverpool colours. He will spearhead Liverpool’s attack, attempting to take the weight of the rapier striker of Ian Rush, with Kenny Dalglish dropping back to play just behind them.
Arthur Graham, recent signing from Leeds, appears on United’s right wing as replacement for Cup Final hero Alan Davies, who broke his leg in a pre-season friendly. That is likely to be the only change from their Cup-winning line-up.
Who wins the match is less important than the manner in which victory is achieved. If I opt for Liverpool it is in the hope that they do it with style.
(Copyright: Daily Express ‘Steve Curry’, 20-08-1983)