Articles

Rush: the best there is

By Ken Jones of "The Sunday Mirror"

Mark Wright wasn't going to Wembley. He was on his way to hospital with a broken leg, and Ian Rush had become Kevin Bond's responsibility.
 
Don't let the Welshman turn. Pick off his runs and be alert for his sudden surges. Concentrate. Be positive and firm in the tackle.
 
Almost an hour of that....then in the ninth minute of extra time the sort of slip that Rush is so eager to punish.
 
Wrong-footed by Jan Molby's speculative forward pass, Bond ducked into the ball and tried to reach Peter Shilton with a low header. It was a tired attempt, but even so only an outstanding finisher would have benefited.
 
"The best there is," claimed Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool's player-manager, as he recalled the moment when Rush gave his team the lead with a low drive past Peter Shilton.
 
Five minutes later Rush did it again. Taking advantage of Southampton's growing fatigue, Nicol sped forward with the ball and picked out Rush who had run intelligently wide. Shilton had all points covered but the ball was still drilled past him into the far corner.
 
It was all over then and as Dalglish looked forward to his first ever FA Cup Final he was soon to learn that Everton would be there too.
 
In the tradition of Liverpool managers Dalglish appears to be carrying on where the last man left off. "I'm only thinking about Coventry City next week," he said - clearly fancying Liverpool's chances of doing The Double. The great Bill Shankly did not manage that. Neither did Bob Paisley nor Joe Fagan. "We'll take the games as they come," added Dalglish. "And when it comes to picking the team I'll always do what I think is best for Liverpool." At 35 years old he'd survived two hours of a gruelling semi-final. "The pacemaker is working well" he smiled.
 
Beyond the fringe stood Chris Nicholl, Southampton's manager. Tall and lean, he'd said his piece and now he represented the sadness of losing so close to Wembley.
 
Nicholl couldn't complain. His team had fought hard without ever suggesting they would penetrate Liverpool's defence. They wanted to get around the flanks but Liverpool weren't about to let them.
 
A linesman's flag invariably cancelled out their attacks and Liverpool were always applying heavy pressure.
 
For a while it was Craig Johnston who threatened Southampton most with his spirited runs.

But as the game drew on, the attacks were coming from all angles.
 
Centres, shots, splendid saves from the ageless Shilton. Missed chances and - for Southampton, the tiredness coming on.
 
Whelan fired wide. Shilton stopped Dalglish.

And then it became Ian Rush's match.
 
Copyright - Sunday Mirror

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