Imagination and discipline rewarded with away goal

Imagination and discipline rewarded with away goal

from "The Times"


Liverpool began their defence of the European Cup with the same kind of style which won the trophy last season. Their win over the Polish side, Lech Poznan, was their sixth consecutive away victory in Europe.


The Liverpool manager, Joe Fagan, has had his fair share of problems this season, but one would never have guessed that from the disciplined and imaginative performance of his rearranged team. Even without players who were such important members of the side which won the trophy in Rome - Rush, Johnston and Souness - as well as the latter's replacement, Molby, they showed the experience and class that has made them such a dominating force in Europe.


They had, in any case, the right man for the occasion in Scottish midfield player Wark. They signed Wark last March, but he had not previously been eligible to play for them in European competition. Wark could easily have scored two or three times in the first half. He finally succeeded in the sixty-third minute to maintain his remarkable record in European competition. While with Ipswich, he scored 15 goals in Europe.


The citizens of Poznan gave Liverpool a warm welcome packing the little stadium so that the gates were closed three hours before kick-off. Toilet paper buried the surrounds of the pitch and the teams were almost swallowed up by a shower of Argentinian-style ticker tape.

The European champions soon made it clear they would not be taking any chances and left only Walsh up field, though Dalglish, and Whelan, were always ready to come through when opportunity offered.


The opening stages were cautious, but as the game progressed so the champions gradually tightened their grip. It took a fine tackle by Adamiec to stop Whelan when Walsh put him through and Walsh himself also went close to scoring twice.


The Poles, while proving resilient, threatened only occasionally despite good work by Okonski and Jakoliewicz. Generally the Liverpool defence were well in command.

Three minutes before the interval, Liverpool created a marvellous opportunity. Hansen fed Lee in midfield, who found Wark with a lovely long centre over the defence. Wark chested the ball down perfectly and produced a fierce shot from 10 yards only to see Plesnierowicz hurl himself sideways and somehow claw the ball to safety.


At that stage Liverpool must have been pleased with their performance. The experience of playing Lee in central midfield, Souness' old position, had worked remarkably well and Nicol had proved powerful and energetic on the right flank. By now Liverpool must have been very disappointed to have nothing to show for their dominance. As always there remained the danger of a sudden breakaway which could easily have cancelled out their previous good work.


That point was emphasised in the fifty-eighth minute when Araszkieiwicz got away down the left and was brought down by Lawrenson right on the edge of the penalty area. Okonski then drove a free kick into the goalmouth where Adamiec headed powerfully against the crossbar.


In the sixty-third minute Liverpool eventually got the goal that their fine play and almost constant pressure merited. As so often in Europe last season it stemmed from a right wing corner. This one was quickly taken by Nicol and then carried on by Lee and Dalglish, who put in the cross. Wark had timed his run perfectly and rammed it into the net for his nineteenth goal in 26 European matches for Liverpool and Ipswich.


Copyright - The Times


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