The first Merseyside derby of the 2014 season sees Liverpool Ladies host Everton Ladies in The FA Cup Quarter-Final. Liverpool reached the semi-finals of last years competition and this year are hoping to progress even further in the cups.
So far this season Liverpool have played 3 competitive matches, winning 2 and drawing 1, scoring 3 and conceding 0. In their opening 3 games last season the reds had conceded twice, Libby Stout appears to be the biggest difference at the back for Liverpool. Stout commands her box well and never shirks away from a challenge – even if it means, as last Sunday, colliding with the attacker.
|Natasha Dowie vs Chelsea|
Last Sunday Liverpool Ladies were away at Chelsea, Libby Stout‘s aforementioned collision with Yuki Ogimi forcing a substitution in the second half with the more than capable Danielle Gibbons replacing her. Gibbons had been one of the stand-out performers for the development squad over the winter break, alongside Ashley Hodson who also got her chance in the first team against Chelsea – coming on in the first half to replace the injured Kate Longhurst.
Natasha Dowie is once again the reds top scorer, with 2 goals to her name – a tap-in away at Sunderland and a fine finish at home against Manchester City in the league opener. The reds striker also scored 3 in 4 pre-season appearances, giving a strike rate of 5 goals in 7 games in 2014 and picking up exactly where she left off last season.
Gemma Davison is also proving to be an inspired signing for the reds, working well in midfield alongside Amanda DaCosta in creating chances both for herself and for others. Davison hit the post in a dominating opening spell for Liverpool against Chelsea last weekend. Fara Williams and Katrin Omarsdottir also continue to develop their midfield partnership, both sit a little deeper than the attacking front four but being a crucial part to Liverpool’s attack.
In defence Lucy Bronze and Gemma Bonner are the preferred centre back pairing, with confident solid displays against both Manchester City and Chelsea. Tough tackling Becky Easton has started 2 games out of 3 at right-back, while attacking left-back Corina Schroder has also picked up where she left off last season pressing high up the pitch.
|Corina Schroder scores vs Everton|
Corina Schroder scored her first and only Liverpool goal in the 4-1 win away at Everton last season, the German defender also played a big role in the return fixture with a perfect cross into the box for Dowie to get on the end of and put the reds in front.
Between the 2012 and 2013 season Everton lost 4 of their best players to the red half of Merseyside, with Natasha Dowie, Fara Williams, Becky Easton and Lucy Bronze all making the switch. Following the end of the 2013 campaign, captain Jill Scott and star striker Toni Duggan also departed for WSL newcomers Manchester City.
That said, Everton are still left with a predominantly young but talented squad. Nikita Parris scored a wonder goal in the derby last September and will likely lead the blues attack on Saturday evening. New captain Michelle Hinnigan grabbed herself a goal in the last round of The FA Cup away at Cardiff, while ex-Liverpool duo Kelly and Vicky Jones also remain at Everton.
|Everton captain Michelle Hinnigan|
The winner of this tie will face an away trip to either Notts County or Portsmouth for the semi-final on Sunday 11th May.
The game has been moved to Saturday evening, kicking off at 7pm at the Select Stadium, Widnes.
Entry is priced at £5 adults, £2.50 concessions. If you are a Liverpool Ladies season ticket holder, season tickets also cover entry to all home cup games.
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