Liverpool v Leicester City: Classic Match
As Liverpool welccome Leicester City to Anfield this afternoon Steve Horton recalls a classic encounter between the two sides from 35 years ago...
The Reds crushed Leicester in a game that was over as a contest within the first quarter hour. Teenager Alun Evans, newly signed from Wolves was the star attraction of the game and he didn't disappoint when he registered a goal.
Still two weeks short of his 19th birthday and with just 20 league games under his belt, Evans signed at the beginning of the week for £100,000, a British record fee for a teenager. There was no time for introductions to new team mates however, as the following day they flew out to Bilbao for the first leg of a Fairs Cup tie.
When questioned at Speke Airport, Bill Shankly refused to comment on whether Evans would make his debut against Leicester. But the press was ripe with speculation that Ian St John or Bobby Graham would make way for the new signing, who Shankly had compared to his idol Tom Finney.
As Liverpool went down 2-1 to Athletic Bilbao, Evans was put through his paces at Melwood by Ronnie Moran and Joe Fagan. Then the day before the Leicester game Shankly confirmed that Evans would be in the side. His decision had been made much easier as Graham had failed to recover from an ankle injury sustained in the European tie.
Evans wore the number nine shirt and partnered Roger Hunt in attack. He was given a rapturous reception from the Kop, with one fan running onto the pitch to give him a personal welcome. Leicester then took to the field with a side containing six teenagers and looked like lambs to the slaughter. 16th in the league, they were rocked shortly before kick off when record signing Allan Clarke, a £150,000 buy from Fulham in the summer, was ruled out with a stomach strain.
It took just two minutes for Evans to make his mark when he harried a Leicester defender into conceding a corner. From the kick Leicester's Alan Woollet failed to clear and Ron Yeatsdrove the ball home from ten yards to give the Reds the lead.
A minute later it was 2-0 when Tommy Smith scored from a penalty after Hunt had been fouled by Len Glover. Shell-shocked Leicester then began to get their act together but when Gibson crossed Bell headed the ball well wide.
In the tenth minute Evans himself got on the score sheet when he latched onto a pass from Hunt, shook off the challenge of Woollet and smashed the ball past Peter Shilton. It was the moment the Kop had waited for and they exploded as their new hero celebrated in front of them with his team mates.
But the best goal of the afternoon came from Ian Callaghan in the twelfth minute. Running into space to the right of the box, he picked up a St John through ball and placed a perfect shot past Shilton that went in off the post.
Liverpool were rampant and appeared to have twice as many players in their side. Evans was chasing down every loose ball and Leicester?s cause was not helped when Nish had to go off for nine minutes of treatment for a head injury. It wasn't until the 30th minute that they got a shot on target.
Early in the second half Evans had the ball in the net again but it was ruled out for offside. Leicester plugged away but there was no way through the Reds midfield and Smith even had time to get forward, going close on one occasion. However, with such a comfortable lead and the exertions of the midweek European trip taking effect, it was no surprise that the game fizzled out.
Copyright - Steve Horton