As mentioned nearer the start of this series, at the start of the 1970s it felt as though, if there was one Merseyside club that might go on to dominate the decade, it may be Everton rather than Liverpool. Everton ended the 1969/70 season as the champions of England, but by the end of the 1970s it felt quite firmly as if they were in the shadow of their neighbours. Perhaps, though, the 1980s would be different. After all, Liverpool had only won the 1979/80 Football League Championship by the skin of their teeth and, as of the 24th January 1981, they were struggling to hold onto the title in the face of prolonged challenges from both Aston Villa and Ipswich Town.
The two Merseyside giants were drawn to play each other in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup. For Liverpool, this was perhaps one of the less important legs of the club’s challenges on four different counts – the league title, the European Cup, the FA Cup and the League Cup were all still up for grabs – whilst for Everton this was a golden opportunity to eclipse their local rivals and take a step closer to a first major trophy since that league title eleven years earlier. We have three other matches from this round, as well. The new Manchester City manger John Bond took on his old club as Norwich City travelled to Maine Road, while fast-rising Watford were at home against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Finally, we have a replay. Exeter City may have only been mid-table in the Third Division, but they drew their first match against First Division strugglers Leicester City at Filbert Street and we have the goals from their replay at St James Park.
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