Thursday, May 4 – 1989
Liverpool reacted angrily yesterday as the Football League set a deadline for them to complete their fixtures. The League want to condense their final five First Division games into a 10 day spell so their Championship chase is completed by May 23.
But Liverpool, who could also be involved in the FA Cup on May 20, feel let down by the game’s hierarchy and want more time to pursue their defence of the championship. A date for the likely decider against Arsenal has still to be set as Liverpool argue their case with the League after 18 days of mourning following the FA Cup disaster.
Arsenal, now five points ahead having played one game more, and 7-4 on favourites to lift the title. Liverpool are 5-4 to retain their crown. Anfield chief executive Peter Robinson said: “We are not happy. The League have told us when they would like the matches played. I’ve suggested certain alterations. We would like to play later than May 25.”
The situation could become clearer after Sunday’s rearranged FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest. If Liverpool reach the Wembley final on May 20, the League ultimatum means they will play three crucial games in six days. Liverpool have agreed to face QPR on the Tuesday before the final but are unhappy about having to play West Ham the following Monday.
They have also said Yes to releasing skipper Ronnie Whelan, John Aldridge, Ray Houghton and Steve Staunton for the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Malta on Sunday, May 28.
The League want domestic matches completed by May 25 to aid Bobby Robson.
(Copyright: Daily Express “Barry Flatman”, 05-05-1989)