Looking At Sport with… Leslie Edwards

Liverpool’s chance to atone

A chance to atone for that defeat by Nottingham Forest. That is palpably what Liverpool players want; what they will get tomorrow when Blackpool come to Anfield, is another matter. Liverpool’s trouble, as I see it, is that they are now trying too desperately to show that the Cup semi-final defeat against Leicester (and the general fall away in form which followed) was all wrong. A year ago, the team missed their way temporarily by being too anxious to prove they were good enough to take their place in Division 1.

Ordinarily, most clubs have a seasoned player (sometimes their Captain) who can calm his side’s anxiety; bring the pace of the game to the level at which things can be accomplished with certainty. Whitefoot, of Nottingham Forest, a magnificent general, is one.

Far from possessing a phlegmatic, don’t-let’s-get-fussed type, Liverpool have too many who are the reverse – anxious, hasty and so eager to put things right quickly, the side loses it’s rhythm and points.

It is a psychological failing which showed up clearly. Men like Jimmy Melia endured the worst game of his career – and everyone has one of those however good he is at other times. Thus, openings which should have produced goals produced, instead, only half-hit shots or worse. Even so, Grummitt had to play brilliantly to deny the others a point.

Blackpool minus Matthews is like strawberries without cream, but gradually Manager Suart’s side is learning to live without the Maestro and some time they must reach the point (as Liverpool did in Liddell’s case) where the big man’s absence is lost on the general competence of the team.

Blackpool won 2-1 at Anfield last season and Liverpool returned the compliment, by exactly the same score, at Bloomfield Road.

It is not expected that Ian St John’s cut forehead will keep him out of the game. Liverpool must sharpen their movements, yet play more methodically, more practically if they are to justify the high hopes their fans and this columnist have of their chances this season.

Copyright - Liverpool Echo - Transcribed by the makers of the "Walk On" film.

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