During war-time, no Football League was on offer, so Liddell had to suffice to play for Liverpool in the regional league and friendlies, but also guest starred for other clubs such as Chelsea, Linfield, Cambridge Town, Toronto Scottish and Dunfermilne. This match report is from Dunfermilne Athletic's game vs East Fife on 22nd November 1944.
"Willie Liddell's presence on Athletic's team at Methil acted like a blood transfusion. Revived, reinvigorated, the East Enders made a fine come-back.
I'ts no reflection on the Athletic when I say the Liverpool and Scottish international player was the driving force behind their victory. His inclusion had a magical effect, and the depression centred over Athletic's recent displays vanished. Taking their cue from the Townhill lad, the team responded in a manner which surprised friend and foe alike...
Willie Liddell had not seen much of the ball, but with six minutes played the Liverpool player came strongly into the picture. Pouncing on a pass, he travelled goalwards with a great burst of speed and released a terrific shot. Niven could only parry the ball out, and Hood, following up, touched it into the net.
[On to second half.]
Hardly had the ball been centred when Athletic were two goals up. Hunter and Liddell interpassed, and the Liverpool flier, racing across to the inside-right position, fastened on and with a right foot drive completely beat Niven."
Part of this match report is missing, but Dunfermilne Athletic eventually went on to win 5-1, the key player being the 22-year-old Liddell.
"Last but by no means least, I come to Willie Liddell. The psychological effect which this player produced on his team-mates, was, in my opinion, an elevating one. His presence at a time when they were "down in the dumps" acted like a tonic, and the response was no half-hearted one. Space will not permit to enumerate all the strong points on Willie's game, and will content myself by saying he had that touch of class which goes to make international players."
(Click on the match report for a bigger image)
Billy was my idol when I was at school and it was fantastic to take over from him. I had so much respect for him. Great man - It's very hard to compare decades, but in the 50s, they used to call them Liddellpool. He was a god in Liverpool. I took over from him on the wing and he finished playing not long after that. Billy Liddell was incredible. When I went to my first professional football match it was Liverpool. When Billy got the ball the anticipation from the crowd was just huge. What is he going to do with it? Is he going to shoot from 30 yards or take it past people? He was wonderful. Billy played with a heavy ball on the heavy pitches. The way he used to kick the ball, wow! He was so strong!
Later I worked for the Littlewoods Pools Company Spot the ball and Billy was on the panel. Billy was the chairman and I actually took over as chairman from Billy. I got to know him and he was a really quiet and a really nice man. Terrific. He is one of those of the people who will always be remembered in Liverpool like Shankly and Paisley.
Ian Callaghan - Liverpool 1960-1978 - Quote from LFChistory's exclusive interview with Ian in 2008.