Reds in Excelsis

Pilot’s Log (Don Kendall)

The return to duty following injury of Jock Dodds is the one probable team move for the week-end so far as Everton and Liverpool are concerned. The constitution of the all-triumphant Liverpool side’- nine games with a defeat –depends on medical report. Everton will be at home to Portsmouth in endeavour to catch a Liverpool, who, by their wonder 4-0 win at Anfield last evening demonstrated their superiority to an extent which might have been doubled but for the sheer brilliance of Ted Sagar, the greatest goalkeeper in Britain. I express that opinion while remembering that the cool, almost causal Cyril Sidlow had conceded only one goal in ten successive games. Yet Cyril would be among the first to say to Ted. “You’re tops.” Sagar saved Everton from complete annulations during the first half of a game which pleased the palate because of its good football; thrilling goals, and sportsmanship. If you would like to know, there were nine fouls recorded against Liverpool, and seven against Everton. That in a “Derby” redounds to the credit of both clubs.

This was real football in the spirit of sport. Billy Liddell and Jack Hedley exchanged a handshake before the game, and confirmed that handshake at the end. These gestures reflected the whole trend of the struggle. Liverpool look like finishing higher than Everton, and after this game no one, would deny them their right, for here was a streamlined side whose brilliance was, to an extent dimmed by the score. But for Sagar, Liverpool would have called “game-and-rubber” before half-time, and yet Liverpool must be the first to admit that for fully 25 minutes of the second half they were a worried, but never bewildered combination, facing a fighting Everton who worked the forward switch effectively without ever getting a definite terror-laden thrust at Sidlow.

Came the shock of three goals in three minutes per Liddell (what a right foot flick that was of Balmer to make the chance); Brierley (his first-ever for Liverpool following that Taylor-Balmer-Liddell link-up), and Balmer (toe ended following a corner, and Farrell’s “bringing it down”) to supplement Stubbins rather fortunate lob –he meant to shoot –in 14 minutes, which just sneaked through. Yes a grand “Derby”, but not good forward work by Everton, who have Fielding in bed at the moment, but mighty work from a Liverpool attack (inspired by Jack Balmer, who, if ever man did played a real captain’s part. And the grafting of Fagan was as valuable to Liverpool as was the striking force of Liddell, Balmer, Stubbins, and Brierly. Yes, a great attack which so occupied the attentions of Lindley. Tommy Jones and Farrell that the three had no time to serve the ball to their forwards as they desired, I rated Tommy Jones and Laurie Hughes grand, centre half-backs, and while Lindley may not have struck his best, Farrell was as good as either Taylor or Paisley and I can think of no higher praise. There was little to choose between the backs, who all did well in a game giving Liverpool the “double” over the Toffees and seven points out of the last eight.

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