100 Percent Football


Liverpool and Everton 100 Percent Football.

By the Pilot.

The greatest Merseyside “Derby” match for 30 years. This was the general opinion express after the thrilling struggle between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on Saturday, when Liverpool succeeded by 3-2. I have rarely witnessed a game, which has proved so entirely satisfactory. The game was contested at a “cracker” pace and in a spirit, which did credit to both sides. It was such a brilliant exposition of football that few people left the ground discussing which team should have won or whether it was a fair result. All that mattered to them was that as a football match it was 100 per cent. Some though Everton deserved a draw. Certainly their approach football was superb, but they missed golden chances when Liverpool were defending hard, and when they tried to regain lost ground later on after the Reds had forged ahead by their spirited play, they found Arthur Riley superb. And Liverpool missed chances too, but not quite like Everton, and I could not but admire the whole-hearted enthusiasm of the winners; their demon football which enabled them to chase every lose ball in a forlorn hope and turn it to good account. No one could deny the fact that Everton missed Dixie Dean, but I hasten to explain that White was by no means a poor deputy. White's feeding at centre half was missed, however, for Gee could not get direction to his passes until later in the game. A vital factor in the match was that the Liverpool wing half backs lay on Stein and Geldard in the second half and so curtailed their activities. Dean's absence is not an excuse for Everton. They need no excuse. They played brilliant football, but so did Liverpool, though by pursuing different methods. Yes, it was a mightily struggle leaving only happy memories. I must hand out the big palm to Riley. He was the man who set the seal on Liverpool's success. He had three times as many shots to deal with as Sagar, yet played without the slightest trace of an error. It had been written that Riley was no good with shots. He soon gave that he lie; in fact, his best saves were those in which he had to go full length. It was one of the greatest exhibitions of goalkeeping I have seen for a long time. Another feature was the precision of the Everton forward work. They adopted the close-passing game with the occasional far-flung pass to the wings, and the effect was seen in the speed of these accurate raids.

Lesson in Directness.

Everton had the better of the opening half and had White and Stein accepted golden opportunities they might have settled the issue. Liverpool later showed the blues that it does not pay to waste chances against the Reds and they gave the cup-holders a lesson in directness. Some people behind the goal state that Hodgson's “pile-driver” which struck the bar and bounded to the ground crossed the line, I could not see from the Press stand, but I noted particularly that not a single Liverpool player claimed or even stopped playing. What is the lesson of this game? To my mind it is that Liverpool are certainly far removed from being the “indifferent” side many people say. They are a fine eleven, and now that they have solved the outside right problem will climb to dizzy heights in the League. On this showing we may safely say that Merseyside possesses two of the finest sides in the land. I can pay no higher tribute. Who were the outstanding successes? First, but always after Riley I must mention Nieuwenhuys, the South African making his debut. He certainly captured the fancy of the “Koppites,” and I think he has only to keep his balance to gain representative honours. He is neatness personified. By no means an individualist, he adopts the easiest path, making some delightful short passes along the ground to his inside partner and next turning over a choice centre. “Nivvy” is anything but flashy, but he has a wonderful turn of speed, and this enabled the Reds to score three goals. Hanson was not one whit inferior; in fact he hardly made a single mistake. English was an intrepid, fleet-footed raider, and Hodgson lent power to constructive and finishing. The Liverpool half-backs were sound in all phases, but the backs did not approach the standard of Everton's pair among whom Cresswell was outstanding. Britton and Thomson were good Everton intermediates, and White, Johnson, and Dunn took forwards' honours though had Stein been able to shoot he might have been the forward of the day. I mentioned that it was likely this game would be decided by the wingers. It was. Two goals were scored by wingers and four came from good wing play. Nieuwenhuys Hanson, and English gained the winners' goals and White and Johnson scored for Everton.

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