Even in the vast expanse of the old Wembley, the gap between both sets of substitute benches was only a few feet wide. Slightly enough to fit another column of chairs had the powers that be chosen to do so. Very close confines for today’s generation of animated managers. On the night no touchline clashes were observed. The two managers would exchange heated words only after the tie had ended, unsatisfied with each other’s approach.
Both of them were legends in their own right, each having already lifted the European Cup. Liverpool’s Bob Paisley had triumphed most recently, overseeing his side’s 3:1 win in the ‘77 final vs Mönchengladbach. The summer brought the challenge of replacing Kevin Keegan who made the £500.000 move to Hamburg. Keegan may not have gotten on the scoresheet in the final, but he was Liverpool’s top goalscorer in the EC with four goals, and for the season overall, netting 20 times in all competitions.
Enter Kenny Dalglish, a then 26-year old striker of slight stature, joining for £440.000 from Celtic, having scored 167 goals in 322 matches for the Bhoys. Dalglish proved an instant success. Though not blessed with blinding pace, Dalglish relied on his superior anticipation and finishing skills. He bagged 31 goals across all competitions in his inaugural season at Anfield.
Had he been a bit sharper in the first few minutes of this match, the 92.500 in attendance would have seen quite a different game.