Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies vs Chelsea Ladies

 Liverpool Ladies go into this game on the back of a thrilling 4-3 victory away at Bristol Academy, Gemma Bonner with the crucial winner minutes from time to ensure our return to the top of the table. Sitting top for now, once again on goal difference, every game left is now important with Arsenal having closed the gap between us to 5 points and they have 2 games in hand.

 Like Liverpool, Chelsea have been in the process of rebuilding their team over the past two transfer windows. However unlike Liverpool, Chelsea have found it hard to click. After beating us 2-1 in May, Chelsea lost the remaining 5 games of the first half of the season. Returning after the break, having made an impressive signing with World Cup winner Yuki Ogimi, they won their first fixture back against Doncaster Belles but a week later fell to a 2-0 defeat to Lincoln Ladies. This has left them well off the pace in the league, they have played one more game than us yet sit 8 points behind.
 Chelsea’s points return is disappointing given the attacking talent they have at their disposal. Swedish international Sofia Jakobsson is the blues top scorer with 6 goals in 13 games, while England’s Eni Aluko is just behind with 5 goals. Welsh striker Helen Ward has been a mainstay in the Chelsea side since the inception of the Women’s Super League, last season she scored 9 goals while this season has found the back of the net just 3 times.
 In our last two fixtures against Chelsea we have won one and lost one. The loss being the 2-1 defeat in the league, with their 2nd goal coming after an unnoticed foul on Whitney Engen in the build up. The win came a week later in the Continental Cup – a convincing 4-0 victory with the leagues top scorer Natasha Dowie scoring twice.
 Following a disappointing start to the second half of the season after defeats to Arsenal and Lincoln, the momentum we had built up with 4 straight wins before the break was halted. During the Bristol game last Saturday we raced 3-1 ahead, goals from Louise Fors, Nicole Rolser and Katrin Omarsdottir, before the Vixens scored twice in 2 minutes to level the score. Searching for a winner, the chance fell to centre back Gemma Bonner who fired an incredible strike past the hapless Siobhan Chamberlain to secure 3 points.
 Despite Chelsea’s lack of wins this season they are not a side to be taken lightly and will be desperate to add to their points tally in the 5 games they have left.
 The game will be played at Liverpool’s Halton Stadium with a 7:15pm kick off. Tickets are £5 adults, £2.50 concessions and Anfield season ticket holder get in free. It is not televised but you can follow match updates through the official clubs twitters, alongside @LFCLadiesFans and @Girlsontheball will also be there.
 Also, this week I did an interview with the Official LFC magazine, very grateful for that opportunity – I answered questions on Women’s Football in general and of course the Liverpool Ladies. You will be able to read this after Amanda Da Costa’s diary in the next issue. I hope I did ok!

 Thanks for reading!

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