Billy Liddell

  • Date of Birth: 10/1/22
  • Birthplace: Townhill
  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Position: Forward
  • Signed 1939
  • Debut 5/1/46
  • Appearances 534
  • Goals 228
Billy Liddell profile image

Profile

Inevitably, his appearances became fewer and fewer over the next couple of years but there was still the odd flash of brilliance as the master sought to teach his apprentices.

What Dalglish went on to achieve as Liverpool manager cemented his legendary status.

His double in 1986 was followed by league titles in 1988 and 1990, with another all-Merseyside Cup triumph in 1989.

Who knows how many European trophies would have found their way back to Anfield during this period had English clubs not been barred from continental competition.

It could be argued that it took a decade for the club to fully recover from his shock resignation in February 1991, but more than 18 years later, The King was emotionally reunited with the Reds when he accepted a role at the Academy in 2009.

As well as aiding the development of Liverpool's stars of the future, Dalglish also worked in an ambassadorial role helping develop the commercial side of the business around the globe.

But in January 2011, at the age of 59, he was positioned back at the Anfield helm by new owners Fenway Sports Group almost two decades after his resignation, assuming an interim position as Reds boss following the departure of Roy Hodgson by mutual consent.

Liverpool had endured a difficult campaign until that point, but Dalglish's impact was an instant one as the team quickly ascended from the lower reaches of the table in to the top half.

Even the deadline-day departure of Fernando Torres to Chelsea could not dampen the optimism reverberating around Anfield as Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll arrived to replace the out-going Spaniard.

The Reds were once again playing with a confidence and belief - as demonstrated by their outstanding showing in a 3-1 Anfield victory over Manchester United in March - and just under four months after being appointed until the end of the season, Dalglish and his assistant Steve Clarke were handed permanent three-year deals.

Ultimately, Liverpool would narrowly miss out on Europa League qualification on the final day of the campaign as they finished in sixth place, but the progress made both on and off the pitch since the turn of the year was clear for all to see.

That summer, Dalglish brought in seven players as he attempted to restore the Reds back into contention for Champions League qualification.

However, despite a series of impressive displays in the league, Liverpool were unable to turn performances into results and finished the campaign in eighth position.

The team had no such problems in the cup competitions, though, as Dalglish steered his side to a Carling Cup success over Cardiff City at Wembley, ending the club's six-year wait for silverware and securing a return to European football for 2012-13.

Liverpool also reached the FA Cup final, where they narrowly lost out to Chelsea, however it was the league form which ultimately led to the announcement he would part company with LFC.

Dalglish departed Anfield on May 16, 2012 - just under 46 years since he first pitched up at Anfield for his trial.

He may not have decided to sign on that August afternoon in 1966, but what the King would go on to accomplish as both a player and manager for Liverpool Football Club may never be matched again.

However, time may prove that unifying the club and providing the Reds with a solid footing to move forward into a new chapter with owners Fenway Sports Group could turn out to be his greatest achievement of all.

On the pitch, Liverpool was a club in decline, and in 1954 the unthinkable occurred when the Reds suffered the indignity of relegation to the Second Division. Many players of his ability would have jumped ship but Liddell's unswerving loyalty ensured he stayed to help rebuild.

A player of great versatility, Liddell filled every outfield position at one time or another but excelled most in an attacking role. A move from inside to centre forward resulted in him notching a career best 33 goals in 1955-56 – a tally which would have been 34 had referee Mervyn Jones not controversially disallowed his late, late equaliser in an infamous FA Cup replay defeat against Manchester City. 

Ever the gentleman, Liddell – an accountant by trade - didn't complain. During the course of his illustrious career he was never booked and captained the club with distinction. One of the finest role models ever to play the game, he was the perfect club ambassador: a devout Christian who never drank, smoked or swore, he did a lot of work for charity, helped out at local boys' clubs and was a qualified Justice of the Peace. 

But while he kept on banging in goals, promotion continued to agonisingly elude Liverpool. In November 1957 Liddell achieved a major milestone when he surpassed Elisha Scott's all-time appearance record for the Reds. However, the following season he missed his first FA Cup tie for the club when he was dropped for the humiliating third round defeat at non-league Worcester City - and it signalled the beginning of the end for the ageing Liddell. 

His popularity remained as strong as ever with the fans, who campaigned for his recall, but on August 31, 1960, Billy Liddell represented the Reds' first team for the final time. It was his 537th appearance for the club – a record that remained until Ian Callaghan's 18-year stint in the 1960s and 70s.

When the forward's loyalty to the club was rewarded with a well-deserved testimonial, a crowd of almost 40,000 turned up to pay homage to a player who is still held in the highest regard over half a century since his heyday. 

It was an unfortunate fact of life that Liddell's prime did not coincide with the Shankly revolution that followed. Had it done, who knows what he'd have gone on to achieve? 

The great man is sadly no longer with us having passed away with Alzheimer's, but visit Anfield on a quiet day and old-timers will swear they can still hear the once famous roar of 'give it to Billy' ringing around the Kop. Gone but never forgotten.

Other clubs: Kingseat Juvenlies, Lochgelly Violet; Chelsea, Linfield, Cambridge Town, Toronto Scottish and Dunfermline (wartime guest)

Past Players