"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)
"Sir William Liddell - to bestow upon him a title he more than earned - WAS Liverpool Football Club. He was its spirit. He was also its integrity, its heart and its passion. To Reds such as my mother and father and others of the pre-Bill Shankly generation he represented a ticket to some sort of footballing respectability. The "Liddellpool" tag the club was awarded was no hype or coincidence. It was fact.
I suppose it was the reverence for him that stood out above everything else. The sheer universal respect for this truly unassuming man. Both Red and Blue alike had a mutual awe of Billy Liddell that I have only ever encountered for two other people. One was the incredible William Ralph Dean and the other was Bill Shankly himself. I think that says everything about the man."