Tag Archives: Billy Liddell


On the opening day of the 1946-47 season the first league match at Anfield for seven years saw Billy Liddell and Bob Paisley make their debuts in a game that saw the Reds hanging on after being 6-0 up within an hour.

The 1939-40 season was just three game sold when fixtures were suspended after the declaration of war, with Liverpool’s final game being a 1-0 win over Chelsea before a subdued crowd of 18,000. All records from 1939-40 were officially expunged but when league football began again in 1946, the fixtures were to be the same as had been intended seven years earlier.

Liverpool went on an American tour to get to know each other again and began the domestic season with a 1-0 win at Sheffield United, followed by a 1-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough. Liddell, who had been signed from Lochgelly Violet in 1938 missed both these games through injury, but was passed fit for the Chelsea game.  Paisley was another debutant, being given an opportunity due to an injury to Eddie Spiver. Regular keeper Cyril Sidlow was also out injured and his place was taken by Charlie Ashcroft. Five of the Liverpool line-up had played in the 1939 fixture but as Chelsea’s Dick Spence was injured they fielded all new faces, including former Everton legend Tommy Lawton.

With the Middlesbrough game having been played on a Wednesday afternoon and many fans not making it due to work, this Chelsea game was the first chance many would have to see the Reds. A crowd of nearly 50,000, more than double that for the Middlesbrough game, squeezed in and many fans had to be redistributed around the ground for safety as the stifling heat made the conditions even more uncomfortable.


It took just three minutes for Liddell to get off the mark when he scored directly from a corner, the ball going in off the post. Bill Jones scored two just before the half hour mark and a minute before half time Willie Fagan made it 4-0.  Outside the ground, an estimated 5,000 fans who were locked out were following the game from the cheers of the crowd.

Soon after the restart Jack Balmer made it 5-0 and Liddell got the sixth in the 50th minute when  he weaved through Chelsea’s backs and fired the ball home. He had taken a clout on this run though and was nowhere near as effective for the rest of the game, which saw Chelsea stun the Reds with four goals in a seventeen minute spell.

Paisley came close to a debut goal when he exchanged passes with Liddell but he shot over the bar. Then with three minutes remaining Fagan calmed nerves with a seventh Reds goal, leading to a pitch invasion by many of the youths who were now spread out around the cinder track.

That nights Liverpool Echo concluded that Paisley and Liddell had ‘made a big difference’ and it so proved as the Reds went on to end the season as league champions.


Liverpool Win At Fulham As Liddell Dropped

When Liverpool went to Craven Cottage in 1958-59, the unthinkable happened as star player Billy Liddell was dropped from the side, but the Reds still returned with a victory.

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After five wins and five defeats from their opening twelve games, hopes of promotion were already diminishing for the Reds. Fulham, on the other hand, were unbeaten and flying high in the in he second promotion spot, nine points clear of Liverpool and with five wins from their opening six home fixtures.

The greatest talking point before the game was that of the team selection, as Scottish international Liddell, a virtual ever present since 1946, was sensationally left out and Louis Bimpson called up in his place. Liddell had scored nine goals from nine appearances so far that season, whilst Bimpson hadn’t featured at all and had never won the crowd over in previous appearances. Speculation about Liddell’s future intensified when he was also left out of the reserves side and manager Phil Taylor chose not to attend the game, going on a scouting mission to Grimsby instead.


Despite all the upheaval, the Reds were able to put in a resolute first half display with the defence repelling everything that was thrown at them. Reserve keeper Doug Rudham, a late replacement for Tommy Younger who had suffered a hand injury, belied his deputy status. Up front Alan A’Court was a constant threat and helped silence a previously confident home crowd. Unfortunately the other forwards, Bimpson in particular, failed to make use of his pinpoint crosses.

Liverpool upped the tempo in the second half and totally overwhelmed Fulham. The forwards played much more as a unit with Fred Morris and Jimmy Melia being very impressive, the former hitting a tremendous shot against the post. But Bimpson had a quiet game and it was clear he was not the answer to the Reds striking problems as he missed a number of chances. The ex Burscough man did get the game’s only goal however with a simple finish after A’Court had crossed in low from the left.

The win was a vital one for the Reds, who desperately needed to peg back Fulham.  With new leaders Sheffield Wednesday next up at Anfield, there was renewed optimism that a good run could be put together to get back in the promotion frame.  For that game Liddell was again left out, with the Board taking the unprecedented step of explaining his omission in the programme. Calling Liddell the greatest player the club had ever had who they hoped would have ‘many more games in the Reds jersey’ they wrote:

‘Every player in the game reaches the time where he can not satisfy without some relief. The greatest players of the game have shown the wisdom of a lighter programme of games in order that they can give their best and prolong their playing career. Our readers can be rest assured that the action taken was believed to be in the interests of the player as well as the club’

The team selection again proved justified as Liverpool came from 2-0 down to win 3-2, but there was again to be no promotion, as they finished a distant third behind Fulham and Wednesday. Liddell was used sparingly that season, and the next, eventually hanging up his boots in 1960-61 aged 38.