Birthdate: 30 July 1899
Birthplace: Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Other clubs: Vale of Clyde, Clyde (1921-23), King's Park (loan 1921-22), Cowdenbeath (1923-26), Huddersfield Town (1926-27), Hearts (1927-28), Macclesfield (1928-29), Cowdenbeath (2 / 1929-30), Mansfield Town (1930-31), Burton Town (1931), Shelbourne (1931-32), Bangor City (1932-33), Boston Town (1933-34), Ashton National (1934-35), Olympique Marseille, Zurich
Bought from: Huddersfield Town
Signed for LFC: 06.05.1927
Liverpool debut: 07.05.1927
Last appearance: 27.12.1927
Debut goal: 07.05.1927
Last goal: 05.11.1927
Contract expiry: 29.12.1927
Win ratio: 31.58% W: 6 D: 7 L: 6
Games/goals ratio: 1.27
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 3 / 2
LFC league games/goals: 19 / 15
Total LFC games/goals: 19 / 15
Cowdenbeath's Devlin was top-scorer in the Scottish League from 1924-1926 with 33 and 40 goals respectively in 68 matches and earned himself a big-money £4,200 move to Huddersfield Town in February 1926. Huddersfield had won the League Championship for two consecutive seasons and Devlin contributed to their third by scoring four goals in four games in his debut season. He scored ten goals in 28 appearances as the Terriers failed to add to their fourth consecutive title, finishing second five points behind Newcastle in 1926/27. Dick Forshaw had been controversially sold from Liverpool to Everton in March 1927 and the Reds needed a replacement. Devlin was given his Liverpool debut in the final fixture of the 1926/27 season in a visit to West Ham and scored the second goal in a 3-3 draw. He was picked for the first 15 first division matches the following year and scored 14 times, that figure included four strikes against both Bury (5-1) and Portsmouth (8-2). He then missed three matches before being recalled for a further three, in which he failed to score and Tom Reid took over as centre-forward for most of the rest of the season.
The Daily Post reported on Liverpool's 5-1 win over Bury on 31 August 1927: "When Hodgson opened his account for the evening, Liam Devlin had already scored FOUR goals in the game. One with his left, two with his right and a bullet header to round off a fine display. Could Devlin fill the boots of Forshaw? On this occasion his toes were bursting out the front of his boots. Here was a player who was ill-fitted at Huddersfield, so off he trotted to Anfield. And in just three games, he’s posed a new question. How many goals will this player score when getting service like he got tonight? Devlin takes up his position, hangs around the backs, works at will and earnestly, but does not do a jot when it comes to tracking back or helping out those behind him. He is here to score goals, not to get in others way. And if anyone gets in his way, woe betide.
There is no better centre than he who stands at attention and keeps his wing men going. And Devlin ran both Hopkin and Edmed ragged tonight. Collecting balls on the half way line, he immediately places the ball wide. Either side it matters not a jot to Liam. As the ball reaches the wing, Devlin is already in position waiting for the cross.
Send it in high, he’ll head home.
Send it in low, he’ll drive the ball home.
Send it in waist high, he’ll volley the ball home.
And by far the most bizarre, send it in behind him and he’ll overhead kick it into the goal."
Devlin, who could shoot on the run with either foot, scored well over 250 goals in his eventful career. After stints in various local amateur leagues he joined the French exodus in their newly-formed semi-professional national league. Devlin didn't stay too long at Marseille before departing to Switzerland. William's brother, Tom Devlin, played for Liverpool's reserves in the 1926/27 season and featured later for Switzerland's Zurich just like his sibling.