Leeds United saw Liverpool game called off 52 years ago in eerily similar circumstances after Covid postponement

Leeds United saw a game postponed with Liverpool over 52 years ago in eerily similar circumstances to today's Covid blank.

By Joe Urquhart
Sunday, 26th December 2021, 6:00 am
Leeds United's players celebrate at Anfield following their capture of the First Division crown in 1969. Pic: Varley Picture Agency
Leeds United's players celebrate at Anfield following their capture of the First Division crown in 1969. Pic: Varley Picture Agency

Marcelo Bielsa's side have seen this afternoon's Boxing Day Premier League clash at Anfield called off due to a number of Covid cases within the Elland Road camp.

United were unable to field a competitive line-up due to the virus, injuries and other illness for the scheduled visit to Merseyside.

In 1969, though, Leeds also saw their Division One clash fall victim to a rearrangement due to an influenza outbreak in the squad.

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As discovered by Leeds History - via the British Newspaper Archive - in March of the 1968-69 campaign, United were due to take on the Reds in league action.

"The English League today sanctioned the postponement of Liverpool' s vital home game with league leaders Leeds United on Saturday as Leeds have eight players on the sick list with influenza," the report states.

"Thus, quickly following their wasted journey to Newcastle for a match cancelled yesterday through wintery weather, Liverpool have another blank day at a time when they had hoped to strengthen their challenge for the leadership.

"For Leeds, the postponement will be very welcome. They had to go to Hungary this week without Jackie Charlton, Paul Reaney and Mike O'Grady while others in the team were not 100 per cent fit in yesterday's Fairs Cup game, which Ujpest Dosza won 2-0, and the tie 3-0 on aggregate.

"The players went straight to bed afterwards to ensure maximum fitness for Saturday if the league match had been fulfilled."

The rearranged game between Leeds and Liverpool that season was the famous night the Whites claimed Division One glory on Merseyside.

After the game was postponed until April, Don Revie's charges required just a point to secure the top flight title at Anfield against their title rivals.

They did so with a 0-0 draw which resulted in the club winning the First Division for the very first time in their history under the legendary Leeds boss.