It was a momentous occasion when Billy Liddell, rated by many older supporters as the very best player in the history of Liverpool, met the club's talisman, John Barnes, in the early 90's, at Anfield.
"John is a great winger, but his style is a lot different to mine in my day," Liddell told Liverpool's match programme from which these legendary images are. "I was a natural right-footer playing on the left wing and always had a good view of the goal when I cut inside. John is a natural left-sided player and very clever with it."
Both were Liverpool's key player at the height of their powers. Billy Liddell featured on the left wing until Liverpool were relegated in 1954 and Alan A'Court took over the left-wing position. Liddell was moved up front and scored 121 goals in 189 second division games in the following five seasons. Barnes was in mesmerising form as Liverpool annihilated the First Division in 1987/88 and played up front with Ian Rush when he won his second championship in the 1989/90 season. Barnes contributed 28 goals in 45 games when Liverpool won their eighteenth title and was second-highest scorer in the League with 22 goals, two behind Gary Lineker. In 1992 Barnes was transformed into a central midfielder following a serious hamstring injury. Billy Liddell and John Barnes played a total of 941 games and scored 336 goals for Liverpool in 1946-1960 and 1987-1997 so this was a historic meeting of two giants in the history of the club!
"The turning point of my young life came after I had been to a Youth Club dance one Saturday night. On returning home shortly before midnight I was surprised to see a light in the living-room. Normally my parents were in bed soon after ten o' clock. Both mother and father were still up and dressed, and were obviously not there to tick me off for being out so late. There was clearly something in the wind, though what it was I couldn't imagine. Certainly I was not prepared for the words which came immediately I had answered their questions about the dance. Mother could not keep silent longer. Neither could she prepare me gradually for the shock to come. Right out without any preliminaries, she asked: 'Willie, how would you like to live in Liverpool?'
I could only stand and stare. I hadn't the slightest idea what the question conveyed. Football at that moment was far from my thoughts and Liverpool had never been in them at all. When I found words at last all I could say was: 'What on earth do you mean?' Then it came out bit by bit, and as it did I realized that, at the age of sixteen-and-a-half, I was at an important crossroads in my young life."
Billy Liddell on his way to Liverpool!