The Special Connection: Liverpool & Preston

Stephen Killen
Read Time:3 Minute, 49 Second

Liverpool are set to sign Ben Davies from Preston North End for £1.6 million.

The 25-year-old looks set to solve the Reds defensive woes with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and makeshift defender Fabinho injured.

These frailties have been well publicised and with no senior centre-backs to play West Ham, the reality looked bleak for Jürgen Klopp’s side.

They made no issue of this as they ran out 3-1 winners at the London Stadium with Mohamed Salah and Georginio Wijnaldum seeing off the in-form Hammers.

There is a very special relationship the two sides share and it isn’t only the 40-minute drive down the M6 that links the two.

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Batting for Both Sides

As Davies looks likely to become the latest player to leave Deepdale for Anfield, it would only be right to look back who played for the Reds and the Lilywhites.

The £2 million fee that will be paid will be the most Liverpool have spent on a player from Preston North End.

Jimmy Rose to Liverpool

We go back to the year 1894, the year that the first battery-operated telephone switchboard was installed in Lexington, Massachusetts.

It is also the same year that Jimmy Rose swapped Preston’s Invincibles for William Barclay’s Liverpool becoming the first player to make the switch from North End to the Reds.

The Scotsman arrived on Merseyside for a club record fee of £75.

Also known as The Joker, Rose once scored seven goals in Preston’s 26-0 win over Hyde.

He captained Liverpool to the 1895/96 English Second Division and spent three years at the club.

Dave Wilson to Liverpool

Although he didn’t know it at the time, Dave Wilson became the last player to swap Deepdale for Anfield in 1967.

He joined Liverpool for £20,000, however, he failed to make much of an impact on Merseyside.

Making just a lone substitute appearance before moving back to Preston for £16,000 (£4,000) less than he signed for.

He went on to enjoy another 111 appearances at Deepdale winning the old English Third Division at the beginning of the 70’s.

Neil Mellor to Preston

Neil Mellor was the last Red to move from Anfield to Deepdale in 2006 for £500,000.

You may remember him for famously teeing up Steven Gerrard against Olympiakos and scoring a brilliant winner against Arsenal.

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Previous Results

With the way the world works, it’ll be likely Davies will return to Deepdale or Preston will be drawn against Liverpool in a domestic cup competition.

However, there have only been five competitive matches (friendlies not included) between the two North West club in 59 years.

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Liverpool have won just two, their last win came in the FA Cup in January 2009.

The Reds sailed into the Fourth Round of the FA Cup thanks to goals from Albert Riera and Fernando Torres in a 2-0 win over Alan Irvine’s side.

The Special Connection

The Special Connection between the two are through one man.

That man is Bill Shankly, the former Liverpool manager who put the Reds on a global and domestic stage.

For Preston North End, he signed for the Lilywhites in 1933 and went on to make 297 appearances for them winning the FA Cup in 1938.

Loved by both sets of fans, Liverpool iconically have Bill Shankly’s statue outside of Anfield.

Preston named their stand the ‘Bill Shankly Kop’ after the Scotsman in 1990.

The Bill Shankly Kop at Preston North End’s Deepdale

Obviously Shanks had a long and illustrious managerial career with Liverpool, one that moulded the club we know and love till this day.

The former-Reds manager was the man behind having Gerry and the Pacemakers You’ll Never Walk Alone played at Anfield, a mantra the reigning Premier League champions live by to this day.

Under Shankly’s premiership, he took charge of 783 matches and led Liverpool to three League Championships, one English Second Division, two FA Cup’s and one UEFA Cup.

Liverpool is not only a club. It’s an institution. And my aim was to bring the people close to the club and the team and for them to be accepted as a part of it.

Ben Davies joining reaffirms a somewhat forgotten connection between the two clubs but an emotional connection which will never be forgotten thanks to the legend that was Bill Shankly.

Read more by Stephen Killen.

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Liverpool Boss Klopp Reacts to Davies Transfer

Liverpool have completed the transfer of Preston central defender Ben Davies. The English defender has signed with the Premier League Champions for £1.6 million. Liverpool agreed to pay £500,000 up front with the rest being add-ons. In addition to this, Preston have inserted a 20% sell on clause. In an […]

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