Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies vs Arsenal Ladies

 After what seems a very long 8 weeks, Liverpool Ladies are finally back in action on Saturday night. In the first football match to be screened live on BT Sport we take on Arsenal Ladies at Halton Stadium, Widnes.

 Arsenal had a slow start to their league campaign with a couple of postponements due to their run in both the Champions League and FA Cup. Unfortunately for them this means that their fixture list for the second half of the season is a little more congested than ours.

 We have played Arsenal twice this season, losing one and winning one. First of all early in the season we faced the Gunners in The FA Cup at Anfield, a semi final in which we were narrowly beaten. A couple of weeks later we played Arsenal in the league at the Emirates, causing an upset as the Ladies ran riot with a 4-0 win – this being Arsenal’s first league defeat in almost 2 years.

 Since this defeat Arsenal have returned to their unbeaten ways, although they came close to losing away at Lincoln with only a Steph Houghton wonder strike saving them at the end. They have won each of their last 3 games, including home and away against Bristol Academy and Chelsea. In those games Arsenal have scored 9 goals but conceded 5 and the last time they kept a clean sheet was back in April against Birmingham City – 9 games ago.

 Over the summer Jennifer Beattie and Rebecca Spencer have left Arsenal, who have replaced the pair with young Scottish duo Emma Mitchell and Caroline Weir. Jayne Ludlow announced her retirement after spending 13 years with the club while they have been bolstered by the return of Katie Chapman. Kelly Smith may also feature, she made her return from injury for England during Euro 2013 and Steph Houghton should also now be fully fit, after picking up a slight injury in the last Arsenal Ladies game Houghton played in all 3 England games at the Euros.

 Liverpool have also been making waves in the transfer market this summer with a number of new and exciting signings. New Zealand international Sarah Gregorius joins us from the German league and we have signed Chelsea Ladies forward Kate Longhurst, alongside two England Under 19 internationals – Ellie Stewart and Katie Zelem. Leaving the club is striker Lillie Fenlon-Billson, Billson has joined Lincoln Ladies where hopefully she will see more first team action. There has also been rumours of other players moving on but as yet these are unconfirmed.

 Liverpool have been in fantastic form so far this season, topping the league table on goal difference. We have won 5 out of 6 league games scoring 17 goals – 11 in our last 3 – conceding just 6. There were many highlights over the first half of our season, most notably the 4-0 win at the Emirates and the 4-1 derby win away at Everton. As the season has progressed we have gotten better and better, the fitness levels of our players pushing us ahead of the other clubs. We also proved strength in depth with the brilliant Lucy Bronze stepping in on a number of occasions at centre back and Jess Holbrook doing a fine job in place of Katrin Omarsdottir in the final two league games of the season. These performances, along with the new signings, must give manager Matt Beard a welcome selection headache.

 As mentioned earlier Arsenal seen a number of games early in their season postponed; while Liverpool have played 6 times, Arsenal have 2 games in hand with 4 games played. If Liverpool can take 3 points from Arsenal on Saturday it could be a massive blow to Arsenal’s title chances. At the moment the league is looking like a 3 horse race, with ourselves, Arsenal and Bristol Academy. Everton and Chelsea also sit in 3rd and 4th place respectively and, given a good run of results, could mount an attack on the top 2. There is currently an 8 point gap between Liverpool and Arsenal and a 6 point gap between us and Everton, who lie in 3rd with the same number of games played. Liverpool also have to play Bristol twice in two games that will be crucial to the second half of our season.

 Liverpool v Arsenal kicks off 7:00pm this Saturday 3rd August. The club have announced this week that any supporter with tickets to Steven Gerrard’s testimonial that same day at Anfield will be granted free entry to our game. Anfield season ticket holders also have free entry to this game along with all other Liverpool Ladies home games. Alternatively tickets are priced just £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions which you can purchase there on the night.

 If you have missed any Ladies news over the break I have been doing a weekly reds round up and you can find the links to each of these below. These will now cease until the end of the season, at least for now – I’ll see how it goes!

Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 1
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 2
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 3
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 4
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 5
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 6
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 7 – will be online this Friday.

 Here is also a link to the mid season review I posted, thanks to everyone who has read this so far it is by far the most read post on this blog!

Mid Season Review

 During the break I have started providing Liverpool website This Is Anfield with monthly updates on the Ladies. You can find the first two articles below if you fancy a bit more extra reading!

LFC Ladies June Round Up: Top of the League
LFC Ladies July Round Up: Euros and New Signings

Follow This Is Anfield on Twitter and like their Facebook page!

Finally just want to say a massive thank you to everybody who reads these blogs, follows @LFCLadiesFans on twitter, This Is Anfield for giving me to opportunity to bring the Ladies news to a wider audience and Antoine over at Empire of the Kop for allowing me to promote the Arsenal game on his site.

Hope to see you at Halton during the second half of the season!


Reds Weekly Round Up! Week 6

 Following a relatively quiet start to the week, on Wednesday came BT Sport’s announcement of which games would be getting screened live on TV and after a couple of days of rumours, Liverpool confirmed the signings of 4 new players.

  • Iceland faced Euro 2013 host nation Sweden in their Quarter Final on Sunday, crashing out of the competition with a 4-0 defeat. Liverpool’s Katrin Omarsdottir missed the game through a re-occurrence of the hamstring injury that kept her out of our derby victory in June.

    Iceland’s Euro exit seen the end of LFC players involvement in the tournament, Germany beat Sweden in an exhilarating semi final on Wednesday evening and Norway squeezed past Denmark last night on penalties. The final will be shown on BBC3, 4PM Sunday.

  • On Tuesday Lincoln Ladies announced they have signed Liverpool forward Lillie Fenlon-Billson. I am disappointed to see Lillie leave, she was a great option to have but found opportunities limited this season – her only goal and start of our campaign coming in the FA Cup against Sunderland.

    This blog has a list of all FAWSL signings so far over the summer break, the Liverpool Ladies they have listed as out are as yet unconfirmed by the club.

  • After a few days of rumour and speculation, following Louise Fors’ blog, on Wednesday Liverpool Ladies announced the signings of 4 new players. Two forwards, New Zealand international Sarah Gregorius who has 17 international goals in 41 caps and represented New Zealand during last summer’s Olympics. Chelsea striker Kate Longhurst has also joined the reds, Kate has worked with manager Matt Beard before whilst both at Chelsea and will offer a different dimension up front. Along with these two signings we have captured the talents of two promising young players, Ellie Stewart from neighbours Everton and Katie Zelem from Manchester United’s Centre of Excellence. The young duo have been called up to the England Euro Under 19 squad which will be taking place in Wales in August. 

    Welcome to our new signings and good luck to those players leaving Liverpool, YNWA. 

  • BT Sport announced on Wednesday that they will be screening 3 Liverpool Ladies games live. Starting with our first game back against Arsenal which has seen the fixture moved forward by a day and will now kick off at 7:30pm  Saturday 3rd August. This happens to be the same day as Steven Gerrard’s testimonial at Anfield and any supporters who have tickets to that match can get into our game at Halton free of charge!

    The other two of our games to be shown on BT Sport is our top of the table clash against Bristol Academy on 10th  August and the home derby on 12th September.

 Thanks for reading this weeks weekly round up! In the next week I will have the Arsenal game preview up online and as there has been rumours of more new signings keep an eye on the Ladies official twitter!

Reds Weekly Round Up! Week 5

 This time last week England were about to play their first Euro 2013 game vs Spain. Even with my reservations about the squad I had high hopes for this tournament and am greatly disappointed to be writing this round up in the wake of England’s elimination last night. Despite this, this week’s weekly round up does contain a couple of positive pieces so do read on!

  •  Starting last Friday and pre-England at the Euros, reds duo Natasha Dowie and Amanda Da Costa put in an appearance at Media City in Manchester at an FA girls football festival ahead of England game against Spain.

     Natasha was back in Manchester again a few days later on Wednesday alongside Arsenal’s Kim Little as part of BBC3’s Match of the Day panel. You can watch this on BBC Iplayer here.

  • Another reds duo representing the club in the past week has been goalkeeper Danielle Gibbons and defender Sam Chappell. They have been part of Team GB at the World University Games in Russia. We last left off as Team GB had their semi final coming up, they beat Brazil 1-0 (highlights can be found here) to set up a final against Mexico. That final was played on Monday evening and GB twice fell behind before drawing level and running riot in the last 10 minutes. Team GB deservedly collecting their goal medals after a 6-2 victory.

    Highlights of the gold medal game are on this link here. Congratulations to the Liverpool Ladies & the rest of Team GB!

  • Fara Williams took part in a Vauxhall twitter Q & A on Sunday. All of Fara’s answers are on the Vauxhall website here: Fara Williams Twitter Takeover
  • Katrin Omarsdottir and Iceland had picked up a point already at the Euros this time last week, following on from this on Sunday they were beaten 3-0 by a German side that had struggled to find the net in their previous game vs Holland. Iceland then faced Holland themselves, beating the dutch 1-0 ensuring their progression to the quarter final despite placing 3rd in their group and dumping Holland out in the meantime. Katrin played the full second half against Germany yet was an unused substitute in the Holland game.

    Read a match report & view photos from the Germany game here, same for the Holland game here.

    Iceland will play Sweden in the quarter finals this Sunday.

  • Last Friday night England went behind twice against a strong Spanish side, twice drawing level before an injury time goal meant Spain took all 3 points. On Tuesday night we went into the Russia game knowing we needed to secure a win, again we fell behind and only after the introduction of Toni Duggan and Kelly Smith did England equalise, this time in injury time ourselves, through a well taken Duggan strike. Duggan’s goal offered England a life line, a win against France would see us through in 3rd place while a draw would quite literally see us or Denmark pulled out of a hat for a place in the quarter finals. 

     Hope Powell made 3 changes to the side that drew with Russia, changing the formation to a 4-4-2, Duggan replaced Jill Scott to partner Ellen White up front, Karen Carney replaced the injured Rachel Yankey while Laura Bassett was dropped for Sophie Bradley. England went behind early in the first half and were lucky to go in at half time just a goal down. After the break England needed inspiration from somewhere, Kelly Smith and Jill Scott were brought on but unable to stop France scoring twice more, while Jess Clarke was brought on at 3-0 down with ten minutes to go. England’s Euro 2013 campaign was over with just a point taken from a possible 9.

     It’s disappointing as a Liverpool supporter to not see either Gemma Bonner or Lucy Bronze given a chance in any of the 3 games. Going into the tournament 3 of England’s preferred back 4 were injured. Bonner and Bronze were both in fantastic form pre-Euro’s and it would have been nice to see them get some minutes on the pitch. Fara Williams was another red in great form yet was played in a position higher than the one she occupies for Liverpool. Another disappointment came post-match in an interview with England captain Casey Stoney who commented that players have ‘got to work harder at clubs’. In response to this I would like to again point out that Natasha Dowie, the leagues leading goalscorer and arguably most in-form attacking player, was left at home despite an incredible work rate and goals to games ratio this season.
 I could also verge slightly off topic and say how disappointing it was not to see Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs at all during the tournament – along with others – but this is a Liverpool Ladies blog so we’ll keep that to ourselves! Best of luck to Katrin & Iceland in their QF on Sunday.

 Thanks for reading this weeks round up, to end on a more upbeat note it is now only a couple of weeks until our reds will be back in FAWSL action, 16 days to be precise – not that I’m counting down or anything!

Reds Weekly Round Up! Week 4

 The last week has been a busy one in the world of Women’s Football, Team GB have played four fixtures in Universiade, Caroline Charlton and ACF Torino played their final league games of the season and we have the latest from Euro 2013.

  • First up then Team GB played their first World University Games match last Friday, easing to a 2-0 victory over Brazil. Next for the girls they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Japan meaning they had to win the final game against Estonia to progress to the Quarter Finals. Liverpool Ladies’ Sam Chappell started the final group game as GB beat the Estonians 5-1 to set up a quarter final tie with Ireland. That game took place yesterday with GB racing 3-0 ahead at half time and the game finishing a resounding 8 – 0. The Semi Final will take place in the next few days.

    For more information on Team GB at the WUG please follow this link.

  • Katie Brusell, on loan at Ottawa Fury, scored in one of two games for the Fury this week. On Sunday afternoon Ottawa Fury welcomed Quebec City Amiral for a league game which aided fundraising for ‘Think Pink’, Katie started this game and despite playing well (read the match report here) the Fury were beaten 1-0. In their second game this week against league leaders Laval Comets the teams went in level at half time with no goals scored, Brusell was brought on after the break and almost straight away put Ottawa up 1-0. They were unable to hold onto the lead with the Comets equalising shortly after and scoring a winner in injury time.
  • ACF Torino, sporting 3 Liverpool girls, had their final two league games this season in the last week. On Sunday Torino were beaten 2-1 by Lancaster Inferno, this meant they missed out on a spot in this years play offs. Torino faced the same opposition again a few days later in their final league game this time (after a break in play because of the weather – see picture below!) the game finished goalless.
  • The latest copy of She Kicks magazine dropped through my letterbox this week and I was pleasantly surprised to see an interview with Liverpool striker Natasha Dowie in there! Natasha talks about making the decision to leave Everton for Liverpool and her disappointment in missing out on a place in the Euros squad. Also within the magazine is an interesting comparison between Dowie and the other league strikers with lots of stats if you like that sort of thing!

    Buy your copy here: She Kicks online shop

  • On Monday evening The Women’s Football Show was back with it’s second offering, previewing the Euros. None of the England sections featured Liverpool players however when previewing Group B, reds midfielder Katrin Omarsdottir popped up with some great footage shot at Anfield and a short interview in which she talks about her qualities (er… everything!) and Iceland’s chances.

    Here is the link to watch the full show on BBC iplayer, if you wish to just watch the Katrin part go to 30:37!

  • Onto the Euros then! After what felt like ages building up to the tournament it finally kicked off in Sweden on Wednesday, the first game was Italy – Finland and ended in a goalless draw. Up to the hosts Sweden then to provide the first entertainment of the Euros so far, their first game against Denmark finished 1 – 1 with the Swedes having 2 penalties saved.

    Katrin and Iceland faced Norway in their Euro 2013 opener last night. Katrin started the game on the bench, coming on after 83 minutes shortly after her introduction Iceland were correctly awarded a penalty and Vidarsdottir coolly slotted home. Iceland finished the game strongly but were unable to find a winner, the final result being Norway 1 – 1 Iceland.

  • England have their first game of the tournament tonight against Spain. The game kicks off at 7:30pm and you can watch it on either BBC3 (UK viewers) or Eurosport. If you are unable to follow the game on TV for any reason, twitter should also be a good source. I’ll be missing the second half so will also be relying on twitter for news!

    A couple of England supporters are currently at/ heading out to Sweden, below are a couple of blogs that will be getting updated from the tournament. If anyone reading this also has a blog they will like me to link to send me a message via twitter!

    It’s Game Day
    Girls on the Ball

    FATV have uploaded a number of videos from the England camp this week, you can find an interview with Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner below as well as a training video from a camera strapped to Fara Williams chest!

  • There have been a number of fixture changes to the second half of the season, most notably the final game vs  Bristol Academy has moved from 15th September to 29th September. Check out the official site for all remaining fixtures.
  • Ahead of the England game tonight Liverpool duo Natasha Dowie and Amanda DaCosta will be at Media City in Manchester. The FA are holding a ‘Girls Football Festival’ starting from 12pm and ending on the final whistle. For more information follow this link.

    Natasha also took part in BBC Five Live’s Euro Preview last night, answering questions on current support for Women’s Football in the UK, the impact of foreign players on the league and why she was left out of the England squad! You have 7 days to listen to the show from this link here. It is well worth a listen.

    “Maybe the other strikers fit into the England team better, when I get my chance hopefully I’ll take it”

  • Whitney Engen’s USA have announced a new friendly vs Mexico on 3rd September. The game will be played at RFK Stadium, Washington DC and is once again in the middle of our domestic dates – we have Birmingham on the 1st and Doncaster on the 4th.

Thanks for reading! @LFCLadiesFans

Reds Weekly Round Up! Week 3

 This week seen my first Monthly Round Up go online for This Is Anfield, you can read that here. I will also be continuing these Weekly Round Up’s on this blog as it gives me the opportunity to go slightly more in depth with news of our on-loan players and those in international action.

  •  First up this week is once again Caroline Charlton and ACF Torino, following a couple of disappointing results Torino bounced back this week with a 2-1 victory over Philadelphia Fever. This result keeps them in contention for a play off spot. Caroline once again started the game along with the two other Liverpool girls over in Maryland Amie Fleming and Sophie Jones. There is a match report here and you can view the video highlights below.

  • Hannah Keryakoplis was back with the Wales Under 19 squad, following her recent involvement with the Senior side. Wales faced Russia’s senior team on Monday, Hannah started the game but was subbed out at half time. The final score was Wales U19 0 – 6 Russia.

  • Following last years Olympics this summer sees the World University Games which are being held in Kazan, Russia. Great Britain has a women’s football team over there which includes two Liverpool players, goalkeeper Danielle Gibbons and defender Sam Chappell. Great Britain’s first game is today (5/7) against Brazil. Two players from the squad are writing blogs whilst there, here are the links to those: Bristol Academy’s Grace McCatty & Naomi Cole of Chelsea.

  • Finally this week, today saw England take on Euro 2013 host nation Sweden in the final game before the tournament begins next week. Fara Williams started and played the full game while disappointingly Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze were unused substitutes. England’s defence faced a torrid 90 minutes as Sweden played a high pressure game constantly pressing. Ellen White put England ahead before Sweden scored two goals either side of half time to beat the Lionesses 4-1. The video highlights for this game are not up yet, for now here is a match report from the game.
 That concludes this weeks round up then, next week will of course see Euro 2013 get underway. Katrin Omarsdottir and Iceland play their first fixture against Norway on Thursday while England play Spain a week today. On Monday evening there will be a show on BBC1 previewing the tournament.
 Thanks for reading. @LFCLadiesFans