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Liverpool take another majestic step towards lofty ambition

Another step towards their lofty ambition to win three major trophies this season was taken with surprising ease by Liverpool at Maine Road, Manchester last night. The replayed FA Cup semi-final round tie found Everton incomparably less efficient and determined than in Saturday's first meeting and they left Liverpool to meet Manchester United at Wembley on May 21.

The cast of Saturday's dramatic match remained unaltered apart from the absence of Heighway who, at the height of that tie had violently twisted his body like a length of liquorice. Latchford whom Everton hoped would be fit, was not. Conditions were substantially better, with a dry pitch and a high bouncing ball, but the game was slower to lift off, though when it did reach a high plateau of excitement there was little to choose between the two. The main difference was that Everton's part in the entertainment was here severely restricted.

Liverpool's determination not to be caught by their mistakes of the first match was clear from the beginning. They gave Everton no time to settle into a rhythm and, in particular, they quickly pushed their defenders forward in an attempt to avoid being caught by the high centres that caused them so many difficulties on Saturday. They also put a ringed fence around McKenzie whenever he approached their penalty area.

They used Fairclough wide, mainly on the left side but his roaming into the middle also worried Everton's defenders who found the pressure far greater than in the first game. Johnson's speed through the centre was another problem and twice in the first 15 minutes he stretched them to the limit linking attractively with Keegan. Clive Thomas had controlled the first half so sensitively that when, after half an hour, he ruled a controversial penalty against Everton one had to accept his obvious confidence when deciding that Pejic pushed Johnson as a high ball came down in the penalty area. It was not the most bitter of fouls, but sufficient to set Liverpool on their way.

Neal scored with a high strong kick.

For a short time Everton rallied but Liverpool's spirits were too high for them and Johnson continued to lead athletically. McDermott curled a stunning shot around the post, and only in the few minutes immediately before their second two goals did some nervous sweat break on Liverpool brows. Once just after half-time they were fortunate not to concede a penalty themselves. McKenzie won a small amount of freedom coming towards the penalty area. Clemence rushed out to meet him and raised his foot high. In delayed action McKenzie fell as if kicked. He was in the penalty area but Mr Thomas decided no contact had been made and awarded an indirect free-kick that brought no reward.

The second half was gripped with increasing firmness by this remarkably powerful Liverpool team and they might have secured their place at Wembley earlier when Buckley clearly handled the ball in the Everton penalty area, but Mr Thomas had been generous wnough to them and in any case Liverpool soon took the goals that dismissed any doubts that the earlier hairline decision had favoured them. Within a three minute period late in the game they added two more goals.

That rugged campaigner Smith who finished the game with a painful shoulder injury, provided the crucial long pass that set up the second goal. He made ground across the halfway line before sending the ball out to the left wing where, after some ferriting, Fairclough got it into the centre of the penalty area for Case, becoming the specialist in important goals, to drive in a shot.

Everton's midfield became increasingly ineffectual and it was no suprise when, from Keegan's free-kick, Kennedy had two attempts at a close shot and succeeded with the second. The dismissal of Everton was unexpectedly comfortable for their old rivals.

Copyright - The Times

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