Since Liverpool Ladies last stepped out, Arsenal Ladies have played out two goal-less draws to hand advantage in the title race back to the red half of Merseyside. Liverpool go into the final two games of the season knowing that winning both will see them crowned Women’s Super League Champions and guarantee Champions League football in 2014.
That said, the opponents the reds are due to take on in those two games are no easy task. First this Thursday our neighbours Everton pay a visit to Halton Stadium, Widnes while on the final day Bristol Academy will arrive for a game that could be a title decider.
This will be the 3rd derby of the 2013 season, back in March the two teams fought to a 1-1 draw during the first competitive fixture of the campaign. A bitterly cold night in Widnes saw a cagey affair in which Louise Fors opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Nikita Parris grabbed an equaliser, giving Everton a share of the points in the Continental Cup tie.
The next time the sides met was back in June shortly before the European Championship induced break. After a scrappy opening Nicole Rolser put the reds ahead but again Everton were able to get a goal back through their captain Jill Scott.
This time however Liverpool managed to pull themselves back in front, Louise Fors again scoring a derby goal to make it 2-1. Corina Schroder then scored her first – and to date only – Liverpool goal before Natasha Dowie added a fourth minutes from time.
A shaky start to the second half of the season for Liverpool seen a home defeat in the league to Arsenal Ladies and an exit from the Continental Cup against Lincoln Ladies on penalties. Despite this Liverpool have gone on to win their last 5 matches, two thrilling yet narrow 4-3’s versus Bristol Academy and Chelsea Ladies. A 4-2 victory away at Birmingham City and two games against Doncaster Belles to conclude the 5 with a total of 11 goals scored and 0 conceded.
In the last 5 games Liverpool have scored 23 goals, conceding 8. While in the last 3 they have scored 11 and conceded just 2.
Amongst the goals of course is brilliant striker Natasha Dowie. This week Dowie earned an overdue but well deserved call up to the England squad ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers later this month. Captain Gemma Bonner has also received a call up following her fine form and after winning the league’s August Goal of the Month, alongside Suarez-esqe (according to the WSL highlights commentator!) Lucy Bronze and Fara Williams.
Liverpool’s two wide players Nicole Rolser and Louise Fors have been fantastic all season and have 20 goals between them. The duo are a constant attacking threat constantly switching wings and running rings around opposition defences.
Goalkeeper Rachael Laws was dropped after the Cup defeat to Lincoln but after being recalled to the side a couple of games later, Laws put out a great performance last week against Doncaster to keep her second clean sheet in her last 3 starts.
Everton Ladies have played 6 games this side of the season, winning just the once against Chelsea at home. In their first game back they were narrowly beaten 3-2 at home by Bristol Academy, the blues were very unlucky not to take at least a point from the games and at times displayed great attacking movement.
Two heavy defeats followed to Arsenal before the Chelsea win lifted the Blues spirits. Last week they lost 2-1 away to Birmingham and at the weekend were held at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium to a 1-1 draw.
Despite the poor run Everton have only failed to scored in 2 of the last 6 games and boast the services of England forward Toni Duggan up front.
Recently they have lost excellent young keeper Lizzie Durack as she has left to go to college in the USA. No. 1 Rachel Brown-Finnis suffered an injury during the pre-match warm up at Birmingham meaning new signing Megan Walsh made her debut between the posts.
With Everton looking to end their poor run and Liverpool spurred on by the fact winning this game puts them another step closer to the league title, as well as the small matter this is a Merseyside derby, this should be a great game between two sides both capable of winning and scoring goals.
The game kicks off at 7:30pm at Halton Stadium, Widnes. Anfield ST holders have free entry to this and all Liverpool Ladies home games, alternatively Adult tickets are £5 and Concessions £2.50.
The game is also live on BT Sport for anyone who can’t make it!
Thanks for reading, make sure you follow @LFCLadiesFans for updates during the games.