Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies vs Birmingham City

 Liverpool’s final game before a two month break for the European Championships sees us welcome Birmingham City to Widnes’ Halton Stadium tomorrow evening. Birmingham have had a poor start to the season by their standards while Liverpool have enjoyed an incredible first half exceeding most expectations.

 Birmingham currently lie 5th in the FAWSL table with just one win out of their 5 league games and have failed to find the net in 2 of those. Their last outing seen them beaten 2-0 at home by second in the table Bristol Academy. During the transfer window they lost striker Eni Aluko to Chelsea and are without two first team players Karen Carney and Rachel Unitt through injury. With Aluko gone and Carney out Birmingham have looked to England striker Rachel Williams to provide their goals and she has not disappointed hitting 7 in 10 games. Most if not all of the blues goal threat comes from Williams and the majority of their attacking play comes down the right through Kirsty Linnett. Blues keeper Hourihan will undoubtedly be kept busy throughout the 90 minutes. Birmingham have already qualified for the 2013/14 Champions League however they really need to target a win against us if they want to qualify again and break into the top four of Chelsea-Arsenal-Bristol-Liverpool.

 While Birmingham have scored 11 goals in 10 games this season, our goal crazy reds have scored 27 in 11. Natasha Dowie of course is top scorer with 9 goals but 14 of the 27 have come from midfield showing the diversity in our team. Interesting that with Dowie contributing 9 goals (2 more than Blues striker Williams) we are not over-reliant on her to provide the goals – as Birmingham seem to be with Williams. When Williams has an off day for Birmingham they suffer, the Everton game a perfect example of this. Liverpool have scored at least once in every game played thus far this season and average just under 2 and a half goals per game. While our attack is clearly in top form our defence is a strong foundation to build upon, Whitney Engen and Gemma Bonner forging a brilliant partnership in the centre of defence and we were very unlucky to concede during the midweek derby on the counter attack. Matt Beard has said this week midfielder Katrin Omarsdottir will miss this weekends game through the hamstring injury picked up on international duty so Jess Holbrook will likely start again.

 Liverpool’s first game after the break will be against Arsenal, this is the rearranged home fixture from earlier this season and will be played on Sunday 4th August @ 2pm KO. Also that week on Wednesday 7th August will be our Continental Cup semi final against Lincoln, again at Halton Stadium, 7:30pm KO.

 Thanks for reading, after the Birmingham game I will of course have a match report up and within the next couple of weeks hope to have a mid season review up! Please keep following on twitter @LFCLadiesFans – despite being no Liverpool games to follow we will be bringing you updates on our players at the Euros!

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