A two-man game of pace and patience

by Clive White of "The Times"

The pace of Paul Walsh and the patience of Kenny Dalglish combined in one thrilling moment to deny the brave efforts of Luton Town the minimum reward in an exciting tussle at Kenilworth Road last night. Yet you could not help feeling that the gap between the two sides will be considerably greater than indicated by this match come the end of the season.


The old Merseyside rhythm was all there and never more successfully did Liverpool strike it than for the winning goal after 71 minutes. Walsh, playing against his former club, had persevered as one would expect, but got little change against the dominant figure of Paul Elliott.


Walsh had never scored against his old Charlton Athletic colleague even in training, but did the next best thing with a run of frightening pace and stamina from within his own half that tore Luton apart. At its conclusion, he played a sharp one-two with Lee before picking out Dalglish unmarked a few yards from goal. The Scot displayed the cunning patience in manoeuvring into a position where he could hoist the ball past the goalkeeper and two defenders on the line.


It was a goal ruthlessly seized after plucky Luton had hauled themselves level with the European champions. By comparison individually, they should not have been on the same field with several names of little or no reputation but Luton battled with pride.


They equalised in the 63rd minute after Liverpool had made a rare slip and forced Lawrenson into a desperate saving tackle on Stein which earned him a booking. Moss' viciously curved free-kick was juggled away for a corner by Grobbelaar and from it Moss found Donaghy, who scored with a powerful header.


It was a rare moment of inspiration for Luton who generally never looked quick enough or clever enough to surprise the Liverpool defence; though Luton moved with good urgency in midfield there was never the fluency of Liverpool, for whom Molby was again an influential force.


Once in the first half Liverpool gave a footballing version of pass-the-parcel as the ball was rapidly despatched from one red shirt to another before Walsh finally struck a drive which grazed a post. But it was not until the 47th minute that Liverpool took the lead after an untidy goalmouth incident in which Stein appeared to punch a header by Whelan away. Neal duly converted his second penalty of the season


Copyright - The Times

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