With the FA Cup Third Round out of the way, the secon weekend of 1981 was time for the league campaign to get back under way, and it’s worth taking a moment to remind ourselves of how tight things were as hostilities in the league resumed. Here’s the top ten in the First Division, as the clubs resumed their fixtures in the new year.


Liverpool led the table, but only on goals scored from Aston Villa and with Ipswich Town in third place in the table, a point behind the top two but with two games in hand on the two sides above them. Liverpool and Ipswich, however, were still involved in both European competitions and the FA Cup, whilst Villa’s exit at Portman Road in the Third Round of the competition meant that they could, in the most literal possible sense, “concentrate on the league.” Meanwhile, even at this point in the season and with only two points for a win, even supporters of clubs down to getting towards the middle of the table could, perhaps, convince themselves that a spectacular run could yet see their club propel itself towards the top of the table.

It was, then, as good a time as any for Aston Villa to take on Liverpool at Aston Villa at Villa Park in front of the Match Of The Day cameras. We have extended highlights of this match, the only one from this weekend that we were able to locate (and apologies for the quality of the picture), with commentary from the eminently imitable David Coleman.

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