"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)
"Given the history of the club for much of the second half of the twentieth century it is hard to understand that for so much of an era one man carried the hopes of the fans. But as I've said before these were the LIDDELL days and we were proud at the time to call our team LIDDELLPOOL. You see as the club slid from the level of Championship Winners to Championship contenders and Cup Finalists to having what many fans believe was our worst ever team there was only one ray of hope and that was Billy Liddell. Once the rot had set in the decline was swift and as the press reports of the time would tell you only Billy Liddell kept the team afloat. Yes I know you've heard it all before, but you're going to hear it again and again until my fingers bleed. There was a time when one man did make a team and when one man was bigger than the club. When the inevitable relegation came there wasn't any transfer demand from Billy Liddell, there was just a determination to restore pride and status to a fallen club and Billy was determined to play his part.