Birthdate: 14 May 1940
Birthplace: Dailly, Scotland
Other clubs: Warrington Town (1957), Tranmere Rovers (1971-74), Chorley (1974-75)
Bought from: Warrington Town
Signed for LFC: 30.10.1957
International debut: 09.06.1963 vs. Republic of Ireland
International caps: 3/0 - 03.05.1969
Liverpool debut: 27.10.1962
Last appearance: 26.04.1971
Contract expiry: 10.11.1971
Win ratio: 51.28% W: 200 D: 98 L: 92
LFC league games/goals: 306 / 0
Total LFC games/goals: 390 / 0
Strong, brave and consistent, Lawrence was a fearless goalkeeper, even if he was affectionately dubbed "The Flying Pig" by supporters who felt he was carrying a bit too much weight! Lawrence quit working in the Rylands wire factory in Warrington and the local amateur team and signed professional forms at Liverpool on 30 October 1957, a few months after his seventeenth birthday. Lawrence had been at Anfield for five years, when he got his opportunity in Liverpool's first season in the top-flight for eight years. Jim Furnell got injured 13 games into the 1962/63 season and Lawrence grabbed his chance with both hands. He typically didn't let go of the shirt for the next eight years. Ray Clemence had to wait over two years to get the number 1 shirt off him. Lawrence only missed four League matches in six seasons as Liverpool won the first division championship twice plus the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history. Lawrence's captain at Liverpool, Ron Yeats, told LFChistory.net a priceless story about the 'keeper he played with for nine years. "Tommy Lawrence was frightened to death of Shanks. He was just a young boy. He had been there since he was 16-year-old. I’ll always remember we were playing Arsenal and we were winning 1-0 with 20 minutes to go and I thought, ‘What a good win this will be at Arsenal.’ Joe Baker hit the ball from 25 yards. I am not joking, but he stubbed his toe first and then hit the ball. It trickled by me and I went ‘It’s yours, Tommy!' Tommy was on the line and opened his legs and the bloody ball went right through him. I couldn’t believe it. They put the pressure on us for the last five minutes, but we held out. I am thinking to myself all this time, ‘When we get into that dressing room I am going to get into the bath before Shanks comes in the door.’ Little did I know that the ten players I was playing with thought the same thing. When the final whistle went... if we had sprinted that much during the game we would have won it easily. Everybody was trying to hurry into the dressing room but it wasn’t quick enough. The door opened and in came Shanks. His face was blue and I am thinking, ‘Here it goes.’ He went: ‘Where is he?’ I didn’t realise but big Tommy Lawrence was behind me. I was three inches bigger than him and didn’t know where he was. His finger went up and he said, ‘I am here, boss.’ ‘Where?’ ‘I am here, boss.’ He said, ‘Before you say anything, boss, I want to apologize to you and the lads. I should have never opened my legs to that ball.’ Shankly went, ‘it’s not your fault. It’s your f****** mother who should have never opened her legs.’"
Bill Shankly was reluctant to break up the team that had brought so much success to the club in the middle of the 1960’s but a humiliating FA Cup quarter-final defeat to second division Watford proved to be Lawrence’s penultimate appearance in the Liverpool first team. Clemence, who had made his League debut at Nottingham Forest at the end of January 1970, was picked for the next League match after the cup exit. Lawrence knew that he would have to move to get first-team football again and made the short trip across the river Mersey at the age of 31 to join Tranmere Rovers, shortly to be joined by his old Liverpool skipper Ron Yeats. Lawrence added 80 Football League appearances to his total before moving on to non-league Chorley as player-coach. Twelve months later he returned to the Rylands wire factory in Warrington as a quality controller until his retirement.
The stockily-built Scotsman was the first sweeper-keeper as Lawrence explains. "Shankly said: 'Right Tommy, you're not playing on the six yard line. When the ball's on the halfway line, you've got to be on the 18-yard line. If the ball shoots through, you've got to be out to kick it - a sort of stopper," Lawrence said. "At first I was frightened to death. We did it at Melwood a few times, then we tried at Anfield. Well, I'm standing there and the Kop is giving me some stick. 'Get back on your line!', they're all yelling. No goalkeeper did that in those days. I thought 'Oh my God'. But it worked. I'd come out and do like they do today. You didn't get sent off in those days either. So I used to bring them down. If they pushed it past me, I'd just hit them."