THE 1982-83 season was not a vintage campaign and even Liverpool’s players, weary at the end of a gruelling league programme, had to admit that “the champagne tasted sour” after a lack-lustre finale.
Liverpool were champions by an 11-point margin, newly-promoted Watford were the surprise runners-up. Bob Paisley’s team failed to win any of their last seven league matches, but still managed to be comfortably ahead of their nearest challengers.
Paisley added Middlesbrough’s promising striker David Hodgson to his squad, paying £ 450,000. He started well at Anfield, scoring four times in his first half dozen games, but with Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish now forming a lethal and telepathic partnership, the tall front-man’s opportunities were limited.
Liverpool remained unbeaten in the league until the beginning of October when Ipswich Town beat them 1-0 at Portman Road. Manchester United were keeping pace with them, however, and within a few weeks, Liverpool had dropped to fifth and United were on top.
Liverpool returned to the leadership and cemented their position with a 5-0 win at Goodison Park, home of their rivals, Everton. Ian Rush scored four times and the victory put the Reds two points clear of second-placed Manchester City.
They ended 1982 with a six-point lead at the summit, Nottingham Forest now moving into contention. Nobody could match Liverpool’s consistency in the league, although Brighton & Hove Albion beat them in the FA Cup at Anfield and Polish side Widzew Lodz knocked them out of the European Cup in the third round.
At the time of their European exit, Liverpool had built a formidable 14-point lead over second-placed Watford and 18 ahead of Manchester United. The general feeling was that the title race was already over and this may have been why Liverpool started to get more careless.
That said, they beat Manchester United 2-1 in the Football League Cup final, coming from behind to win in extra time, courtesy of a Ronnie Whelan goal. United were now in second position, but were trailing Liverpool by 16 points. On April 9, Liverpool won 3-0 against Swansea to maintain their strong lead at the top, but with seven games to go, it proved to be their last of the season.
A 0-0 draw at Coventry extended Liverpool’s margin to 17, but a few days later, Southampton beat them 3-2 at the Dell. Although Watford were in second place, only Manchester United could deny Liverpool the championship, but their chance almost went when they lost at Everton.
On April 23, Liverpool needed a point in their game at home to Norwich to clinch the title. Norwich won 2-0 as Liverpool froze on the big occasion. Frustratingly for Bob Paisley, who had announced his retirement, they were beaten again at Tottenham, but as United could only draw at Norwich, it meant that Liverpool were champions. Two more defeats in three games, with a home draw with Aston Villa in between, brought the season down in rather disappointing style. The final game of the Paisley era came at Watford, the shock runners-up in 1982-83, with Liverpool losing 2-1.
Liverpool’s regular team in 1982-83 was: Bruce Grobelaar; Phil Neal, Alan Kennedy; Mark Lawrenson, Alan Hansen, Phil Thompson; Craig Johnston, Ronnie Whelan, Sammy Lee, Graeme Souness; David Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush.
Bruce Grobbelaar (25): Joined Liverpool in March 1981 from Vancouver Whitecaps, costing the club £ 250,000. A flamboyant goalkeeper, occasionally prone to bizarre mistakes, he became something of a folk hero at Liverpool. Born in Durban, South Africa, he was a Zimbabwean international.
Phil Neal (32): One of the most decorated players in English football history, winning 50 England caps and countless honours with Liverpool. Cost the club just £ 66,000 when he joined from Northampton Town in 1974.
Alan Kennedy (28): Surprisingly only won two England caps in his career, but could console himself with the fact that he scored two European Cup-winning goals, in 1981 and 1984. Joined Liverpool from Newcastle in 1978 solving the club’s “left back problem”. A fine attacking full back.
Phil Thompson (29): A local lad who realised a boyhood dream in becoming Liverpool captain in 1979. A consistent central defender, he won 42 caps for England.
Alan Hansen (27): Signed from Patrick Thistle in 1977 for a £ 100,000 fee, Hansen established himself in the Liverpool defence in his second season at Anfield and proved to be an excellent reader of the game. He won 26 caps for Scotland and was later named Liverpool’s club captain.
Mark Lawrenson (25): Joined Liverpool in August 1981 from Brighton for a £900,000 fee. Played for Preston North End earlier in his career and won 39 caps for the Republic of Ireland. A tough tackler, he was also a very skilful and fast defender.
Ronnie Whelan (21): A hard-working and consistent midfield player who was signed from Irish club Home Farm in 1979 for £ 35,000. Dublin-born, Whelan was being courted for some time by a number of English clubs, including Manchester United. He developed a reputation for being the man for the big occasion and won 53 caps for Ireland in his long career.
Graeme Souness (29): Signed by Liverpool midway through the 1977-78 season from Middlesbrough for £350,000. Edinburgh-born Souness had started out with Tottenham, but failed to make the first-team breakthrough at White Hart Lane. A tough, skilful player who won 54 caps for Scotland. His Liverpool career ended in 1984 when he moved to Sampdoria in Italy for £ 650,000.
Sammy Lee (24): Strong-running stocky young midfielder who became a popular figure with the Kop at Liverpool. A local lad, he made his debut for Liverpool in 1977-78, but had to wait until 1980-81 to become a regular first team player. Won 14 England caps.
Craig Johnston (22): South African-born Australian who joined Liverpool from Middlesbrough in March 1981 for £ 650,000. A busy, skilful midfielder who had an eye for goal. He was capped at under-21 level by England.
Kenny Dalglish (32): Named both FWA and PFA Player of the Year in 1982-83. Dalglish arrived from Celtic in August 1977 and became one of the club’s most popular and celebrated players, winning over 100 caps for Scotland and becoming player-manager in 1985, leading Liverpool to the coveted “double”.
Ian Rush (21): Arrived at Anfield from Chester in March 1980, costing Liverpool £300,000. Became one of the most prolific goalscorers in the history of the game and in two spells with Liverpool, netted 346 goals for the club. After an excellent campaign in 1982-83, he was named PFA Young Player of the Year.
David Hodgson (22): Joined Liverpool in the summer of 1982 from Middlesbrough, costing the club £ 450,000. A member of England successful under-21 squad in 1982, he was tipped to earn full honours, but never fulfilled his early promise.
Football League Appearances
|Dalglish, K||42||Kennedy, A||42||Rush, I||34|
|Fairclough, D||3+5||Lawrenson, M||40||Souness, G||41|
|Grobbelaar, B||42||Lee, S||40||Thompson, P||24|
|Hansen, A||34||McDermott, T||0+2||Whelan, R||26+2|
|Hodgson, D||20+3||Neal, P||42|
|Johnston, C||20+3||Nicol, S||2+2|
Goalscorers: Rush 24, Dalglish 18, Souness 9, Neal 8, Johnston 7, Lawrenson 5, Hodgson 4, Fairclough 3, Kennedy 3, Lee 3, Whelan 2, Own Goal 1 Total: 87
Football League Results
|Aug 28||West Bromwich A||Home||W||2-0||Lee, Neal (pen)||35,652|
|Aug 31||Birmingham City||Away||D||0-0||–||20,176|
|Sept 4||Arsenal||Away||W||2-0||Hodgson, Neal||36,429|
|Sept 7||Nottingham Forest||Home||W||4-3||Hodgson 2, Souness, Rush||27,145|
|Sept 11||Luton Town||Home||D||3-3||Souness, Rush, Johnston||33,694|
|Sept 18||Swansea City||Away||W||3-0||Rush 2, Johnston||20,322|
|Sept 25||Southampton||Home||W||5-0||Whelan 2, Souness, Lawrenson 2||32,996|
|Oct 2||Ipswich Town||Away||L||0-1||–||24,342|
|Oct 9||West Ham United||Away||L||1-3||Souness||32,500|
|Oct 16||Manchester United||Home||D||0-0||–||40,853|
|Oct 23||Stoke City||Away||D||1-1||Lawrenson||29,411|
|Oct 30||Brighton & Hove A||Home||W||3-1||Lawrenson, Dalglish 2||27,929|
|Nov 6||Everton||Away||W||5-0||Rush 4, Lawrenson||52,741|
|Nov 13||Coventry City||Home||W||4-0||Dalglish, Rush 3||27,870|
|Nov 20||Notts County||Away||W||2-1||Johnston, Dalglish||16,914|
|Nov 27||Tottenham Hotspur||Home||W||3-0||Neal (pen), Dalglish 2||40,691|
|Dec 4||Norwich City||Away||L||0-1||–||22,909|
|Dec 11||Watford||Home||W||3-1||Rush, Neal (2 pens)||36,690|
|Dec 18||Aston Villa||Away||W||4-2||Hodgson, Dalglish, Kennedy, Rush||34,568|
|Dec 27||Manchester City||Home||W||5-2||Dalglish 3, Neal, Rush||44,644|
|Jan 1||Notts County||Home||W||5-1||Rush 3, Dalglish 2||33,643|
|Jan 3||Arsenal||Home||W||3-1||Rush, Souness, Dalglish||37,713|
|Jan 15||West Bromwich A||Away||W||1-0||Rush||24,560|
|Jan 22||Birmingham City||Home||W||1-0||Neal||30,986|
|Feb 5||Luton Town||Away||W||3-1||Rush, Kennedy, Souness||18,434|
|Feb 12||Ipswich Town||Home||W||1-0||Dalglish||34,976|
|Feb 26||Manchester United||Away||D||1-1||Dalglish||57,397|
|Mar 5||Stoke City||Home||W||5-1||Dalglish 2, Neal, Johnston, Souness||30,020|
|Mar 12||West Ham United||Home||W||3-0||Own goal, Lee, Rush||28,511|
|Mar 22||Brighton & Hove A||Away||D||2-2||Rush 2||25,030|
|Apr 4||Manchester City||Away||W||4-0||Souness, Fairclough 2, Kennedy||35,647|
|Apr 9||Swansea City||Home||W||3-0||Rush, Lee, Fairclough||30,010|
|Apr 12||Coventry City||Away||D||0-0||–||14,821|
|Apr 16||Southampton||Away||L||2-3||Dalglish, Johnston||23,578|
|Apr 23||Norwich City||Home||L||0-2||–||37,022|
|Apr 30||Tottenham Hotspur||Away||L||0-2||–||44,907|
|May 2||Nottingham Forest||Away||L||0-1||–||25,107|
|May 7||Aston Villa||Home||D||1-1||Johnston||39,939|
FA Cup: Round Five
Football League Cup: Winners
European Cup: Round Three
Average home attendance: 34,758