13th title heads to Anfield

15 May 1982

On Boxing Day, 1981 a 13th league title for Liverpool looked inconceivable following an awful first half of the season which included defeats to Ipswich, Wolves and Southampton.

 The turning point came after a 3-1 loss to Man City when manager Bob Paisley decided to shuffle his pack. Most notably, he installed Graeme Souness as captain at the expense of European Cup-winning skipper Phil Thompson.

 It might not have been universally popular, but the decision proved inspired as Paisley finished the season with a fifth league title, a second League Cup and his fifth Manager of the Year award.

 This was a new look Liverpool side. With Ray Kennedy and Jimmy Case sold, and goalkeeper Ray Clemence lost to Spurs, the gaffer put his faith in youth. Bruce Grobbelaar, Ronnie Whelan, Sammy Lee and Ian Rush all given their chance to shine while Mark Lawrenson was a surprise £900,000 arrival.

 Signed from Home Farm in 1979, Whelan was given the mighty task of filling Ray Kennedy's number five shirt. The young Irishman performed admirably, however, netting 10 league goals from the left of midfield and a brace in the League Cup final win over Spurs.

 The latter led to him being dubbed the 'Milk Cup Kid' and he was also named Robinson's Barley Water Young Player of the Year.

 Whelan wasn't the only one hitting the headlines though. As was usually the case in the 1980s, Rush top scored, netting 30 goals in all competitions after being told by Paisley to be more selfish.

 A 4-0 win over eventual runners-up Ipswich and a five-goal romp over Man City proved crucial, though it was a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford that sticks in the mind.

 The Reds were battered for 60 minutes, staying in the game thanks to the heroics of Brucie between the sticks. A penalty save from Frank Stapleton was decisive, and the points were wrapped up when Craig Johnston fired home a Whelan knock-down just after the hour mark.

 The title was ultimately secured a month later in front of 48,122 fans at Anfield when Souness led his teammates out for a 3-1 win over Spurs. Lawrenson, Kenny Dalglish and Whelan were the scorers on the day and the familiar silverware handed out to the country's top dog once again took pride of place in the trophy room.