Blues Still Minus Leader
The first “all-in” promotion- and- relegation derby game between Everton and Liverpool for seven years is due tomorrow at Anfield, with the home debut of Stubbins as an additional magnet to a game which already is packed with attraction. If the weather is reasonably decent the “house full” notices (speaking figuratively) will get an airing, but should the present shocking conditions continue, the crowd is not likely to tax the accommodation. The optimist who rushes in with prophecies where Liverton games are concerned is running the risk of having to eat his words. Safest way with these “old firm” clashes is to wait and see. Anything can happen, such is the electric tension and keen desire of either side to beat their rivals. Even at the risk of putting my foot in it, however, let me say at the outset that I fancy Liverpool to win. It is now extremely unlikely that Everton will get the new man they are after in time. Negotiations have not broken down, but they are not yet at the “dotted line” stage. Who will lead the attack may not be known until just before the match. Livingstone is doubtful, but will have a test tomorrow morning.
Struggle For Mastery
Even with Jackson absent the Everton defence is still tops, thanks to the way Saunders has filled the breach, but the attack has not yet achieved the fire, swing and rhythmic combination that we expect. Experiments and reshuffling have not remedied matters and that little extra punch and bite which makes all the difference is still lacking. The game is likely to resolve itself into a struggle for mastery between Liverpool’s speedy and forceful forwards and the Everton defence. I yield to nobody in admiration for Tommy Jones. In my view he’s the finest centre half football has ever produced a master of artistry, skill and everything that makes the game worth watching. But Tommy will have to watch his step tomorrow and may have to gallop a little more than normal to hold Stubbins in check. Saunders will also have a big test against Billy Liddell. It will be his stiffest so far. If he comes out with honours even Everton need have no further worry. Nivvy and Greenhalgh are old contestants, knowing every move on the board.
I pin my faith in a Liverpool victory, not on any one man, but the fire and speed and determination of the Reds. If they can reproduce the same rip-roaring sparkling stuff that they did in the first half against Chelsea then the Everton defence is in for a hot time. I cannot see Everton serving up that kind of football. It is not in their make up to start with. They favour the more studious type of game, working the ball to advantage, whereas Liverpool, and now more especially with Stubbins, will be all for making a bee-line for goal. It should be a great game, full of thrills, and so long as it is fought out in the fine sporting spirit which characterised the war-time meetings I don’t care two hoots which side wins. Just a final reminder that you can all do your bit towards ensuring comfort and safety for everybody by coming early, tendering the exact money, moving to the centre and not closing the entrances, and obeying the requests of police and stewards. Teams; Liverpool; Sidlow; Lambert, Ramsden; Taylor, Hughes, Paisley; Nieuwenhuys, Jones (W.H.), Stubbins, Balmer, Liddell. Everton; Burnett; Saunders, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones (T.G.), Watson; Mcllhatton, Bentham, A.N. Other, Stevenson, Eglington.
If the gates are closed at Anfield those who can’t get in could do worse than cross the Park for the reserve “derby” at Goodison. There is an entrance in Bullens Road to the Paddock.
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