"Liverpool have made three wartime discoveries, players young enough to make the grade once normal times are reached again. This was proved at Anfield yesterday in a Western Regional game packing many thrills and much good football.
The star performer was Liddell, a wing forward, not yet 18. Liddell was secured from Lochgelly Violet, a Dunfermilne junior club, and played at outside-left to give a most promising display, his ball control and sense of positioning being features."
Billy scored his debut goal after only two minutes, the pick of the bunch being Matt Busby's goal (later of Man Utd fame) where he beat four men, passed to Leadbetter, received the ball again, diving headlong to place the ball into the far corner.
Billy went on to play further 15 games, scoring a total of 9 goals in the 1939-40 season. Before he made his Football League debut after World War II on 7th September 1946 he had already made 152 appearances in wartime football for Liverpool where he scored 82 goals.
Certainly if the Second World War hadn't intervened Liddell wouldn't be "only" 11th on Liverpool's list of players who have made most appearances. He could have gone as far as 2nd place, above Ray Clemence and Emlyn Hughes with 665 appearances. But who really knows? He could have got seriously injured, even though it's difficult to imagine such a strong man being vulnerable to injuries. Anyway a food for thought.
(Click on the match report for a bigger image)
"We went to Birmingham, had a pre match meal of boiled potatoes, chicken and rice pudding. It was the middle of winter, the pitch was frozen, it was hard underneath and wet on top. In those days, there were no rubber boots, so they came out with plimsolls on. They were five up in a quarter of an hour. We could not keep our feet! We lost another four in the second half and Billy Liddell’s one goal was the best of the ten! He cut through the middle and lambasted it right into the top corner of the net past the English goalkeeper Gill Merrick.
He was a very well balanced player, how he kept his balance I don’t know, he was playing centre forward, which is another reason I was able to get in the team, because he was switched from the left wing where he was scoring six goals a season, to up front where he was getting 20-30 goals every year. It was Liddellpool in those days, and while he was doing that, I was getting more experience on the wing."
Alan A'Court - Liverpool 1952-1964 (asked by LFChistory.net on the rather dubious claim to fame of being part of the side that recorded the heaviest loss in Liverpool’s history, a 9-1 defeat to Birmingham)