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One of the finest players of the post-war years, Scottish-born Liddell was one of Liverpool's greatest talents before the transformation in the club's fortunes under Bill Shankly. His trademarks were exhilarating pace and power, allied to an almost delicate skill.
Liddell was a winger in the old "raiding" tradition of pace, power and incisiveness, a left-winger for choice who could play just as well on the right flank: and eventually became a successful centre forward.
From Townhill, near Dunfermline, Billy was the eldest of the six children of a coal miner who was determined that his sony would not go down the pits. Billy's first club was Kingseat Juniors. He was spotted, as a fifteen year old playing for the Lochgelly Violet club, by Matt Busby, then a half-back with Liverpool. Busby had been due to play golf with his former colleague at Manchester City, Alex Herd. But Herd did not appear. Instead, Busby went with the manager of Hamilton Academicals, Willie McAndrew, to look at the young Liddell.
Hamilton could not offer Billy the part-time job on which his father insisted, Busby therefore recommended him to Liverpool who signed him in 1939.
He was capped 28 times for Scotland and was (with Stanley Matthews) the only player to be called up to represent the Great Britain sides in both 1947 and 1955. He was a special nightmare to Alf Ramsey, when Ramsey was Tottenham and England's right-back. "I always knew I was in for a hectic afternoon when I was marking Billy," Ramsey said. "The only way to try to hold him was to beat him to possession of the ball. Once he had it, he was difficult to stop."
He retired in 1961, having scored 229 goals in 537 appearances for Liverpool. Despite the club's subsequent success, Liddell is still considered by many to have been the greatest player ever to have represented the club.
After retirement he became a youth worker, lay preacher and justice of the peace. He died on 3 July 2001. In November 2004, forty years after he kicked his last ball for the Reds, the club unveiled a plaque to Liddell inside the Kop by the entrance to the club's museum. Among those present was Ian Callaghan, the man who eventually replaced Liddell in the Liverpool side.