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)
"I saw him play many times. And I met him. I was there the day we were relegated to the second division. We lost to Cardiff City. We won a penalty which Billy took and it was saved by their substitute goalie, their full back. In those days there were no official substitutes allowed on the bench, so if the goalie was injured one of the original 11 had to take over. Not only was it a very expensive save for us but Billy rarely missed penalties. He must have been one of the most successful penalty takers of all time for LFC and Scotland. And that was when the ball was heavy leather with big stitches weighing a lot more than it does now."
Seamus on the great Billy Liddell