Reds clinch twelfth title

03 May 1980

Terry McDermott became the first player to be named PFA Player of the Year and Football Writers Footballer of the Year in the same season as Liverpool retained the title for a record-breaking 12th time.

Bob Paisley's side were once again the team to beat as the curtain was raised on the 1979-80 campaign but after a slow start, in which they won just two of their opening seven games, rival teams started to think it could be their year.

The Reds were beaten 3-2 at Southampton and also suffered a narrow 1-0 loss at Nottingham Forest as they struggled to find the form that had seen them surge to the previous season's First Division Championship.

A 4-0 win at home to Manchester City got them back on track and began a run of 10 wins from 11 league matches which also included a 2-0 success over title rivals Manchester United at Anfield.

The Reds were now in pole position to retain their crown and in early February they featured in one of the games of the season, beating Norwich City at Carrow Road.

David Fairclough was the star of the show, notching a superb hat-trick, as Liverpool clinched a sensational 5-3 victory - a magnificent triumph given that the clash was sandwiched between FA Cup and League Cup matches with Nottingham Forest.

The Reds were now on the verge of the title and a 1-0 win at home to Stoke City on April Fool's day saw them travel to Old Trafford four days later knowing that a victory would see them move nine points clear of United with just six games left.

However, despite taking the lead through Kenny Dalglish and dominating most of the play, the visitors would suffer a 2-1 defeat that would move the Red Devils to within three points of top spot.

It was very much game on, but two wins and two draws from their next four games saw Liverpool go into their home clash with Aston Villa needing three points to sew up the championship.

It was an eerie coincidence, particularly as Paisley's men had gone into a clash with the same opposition just 12 months earlier, needing victory to take the title.

Once again Liverpool settled their nerves with an early strike courtesy of David Johnson, who enjoyed his most prolific season as a Reds player, netting 21 league goals, and a total of 27 in all-competitions.

It should have been enough to set the Reds on their way to victory but an own goal from Israeli defender Avi Cohen gave Villa a lifeline and put the title back in the balance.

The hosts were in need of some inspiration and it was fitting that the man who had given the Villains hope would be the one to put the Reds back in the driving seat, with Cohen famously firing Liverpool back in front.

Johnson then added a third 17 minutes from time before an own goal from Noel Blake clinched a 4-1 victory and sealed Paisley's fourth title as Liverpool manager.