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Contest of legends in Anfield FA Cup clash

Sport | Published:

February 2, 1952 was a cold day in the north-west of England but that did not deter some 61,905 hardy souls who packed into Anfield.

They were there for a 2.45pm kick-off to get Liverpool's FA Cup fourth round tie under way against Wolves – to get the game done and dusted some five years before floodlights were introduced at the home of the Reds.

Yet it was Wolves who were caught cold, as they were set up to counter the attacking threat of legendary Liverpool winger Billy Liddell on the left.

However, Liverpool manager Don Welsh sprang a surprise on the Wolves defence, which included the great Billy Wright.

Welsh played Scotland international Liddell through the middle as a striker. His tactic worked and Liddell caused big problems for the Wolves defence which led to another famous name – a certain Bob Paisley – and Cyril Done giving the Reds an early two-goal lead.

A Wolves strike through the great Jimmy Mullen in the second half made it 2-1 to give the boys in gold some hope, but it was not enough and Wolves were dumped out of that year's FA Cup.

This was the last time Wolves played an FA Cup tie at Anfield. Indeed, so far it is their only tie at Anfield in the competition.

Should Liverpool negotiate their way through a third round replay at fourth tier Plymouth Argyle next Wednesday evening, the tie is one that already has the old gold and black army salivating.

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Thousands are already crossing their fingers at the prospect of up to 9,000 Wolves fans making the trip up the M6 to Anfield.

If that is to be, and if Wolves are to progress in the world's oldest knockout competition, they will be hoping the outcome this time is more successful.

However, if history is any guide, grabbing a draw at Anfield and setting up a replay at Molineux could prove more advantageous – Wolves' home Cup record against Liverpool is pretty successful.

Liverpool were beaten 2-0 back in 1896; walloped 4-1 thanks to goals from Burton, Dorsett, McIntosh and Wescott in front of 61,305 fans just before the the outbreak of war in 1939; beaten again in 1949 thanks to Dunn, Mullen and Smyth goals, this time watched by just under 55,000 supporters.

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Wolves' sole home FA Cup reversal to Liverpool came way back in 1923, a 2-0 defeat. So let's pray for a replay...

Oh, and should the FA Cup provide a shock next week and Plymouth defy the odds to go through, supporters will not have to cast their minds back too far for the previous time Wolves travelled to Devon in the Cup – the third round in 2006.

Leon Clarke scored the only goal of the game at Home Park to set up a clash against Manchester United in the fourth round which saw Wolves exit on the back of a 3-0 defeat at Molineux.

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