Tonight Liverpool Ladies fell to a 2-1 defeat away at Manchester City Women. This being a Continental Cup game means Liverpool have now won 1, drawn 1 and lost 1 of their opening group games.
The set-up at City means supporters paying on the day have to go to a box office to purchase tickets, the printers broke leaving queues of people waiting for tickets minutes before kick-off.
|Finally pitch-side! Or as close as can be!|
Liverpool lined up with the same side who beat Sunderland Ladies 6-0 in the game before the international break and it was the reds who had the first chance of the game; Amanda Da Costa finding Claudia Walker but her shot went over the cross bar.
Manchester City sought to quickly regain position, pressing high up the pitch. Within 5 minutes City had the start they wanted, good build up play around the 18-yard box with Toni Duggan‘s header leading to a cross being cleared only as far as Abbie McManus who finished fantastically well from 30 yards.
Following the goal Liverpool were quick to compose themselves, unlike when they went behind against Everton were they seemed to become frustrated. Natasha Dowie forced Steph Houghton into a clearance, Corina Schroder finding Da Costa with the throw but she couldn’t find a red shirt.
Gemma Davison continued to impress going forward, working mainly from the right wing Davison also cut across the box in one impressive run but again the final ball couldn’t get through. Davison was then involved in the equaliser minutes later; Corina Schroder put a good cross into the box that just missed Natasha Dowie, it came out to Davison on the other side who put it back in and this time Dowie put it in the back of the net.
Katrin Omarsdottir almost put Liverpool in front, Steph Houghton blocking the Icelandic’s strike. Claudia Walker‘s rebound was also blocked by the England captain.
For the remainder of the first half, play was end-to-end. Dowie clearing from a City corner for Walker to chase but Bardsley got there first. Liverpool then won a corner which was headed on by Gemma Bonner, cleared by City but Bonner got back quickly to the half-way line to win back possession; the referee deeming that she had however fouled Jill Scott and awarding the blues a free kick.
Out for the second half, Manchester City began as they had the first. Looking to attack and catch the Liverpool defence out, Izzy Christianson putting them back in front shortly after the restart.
Liverpool seemed to be lacking the fluid movement they had displayed against Sunderland just a week and a half ago, credit must be given to the City defence who put in a great performance.
Liverpool playing a high line at the back meant in the second half City managed to catch us a number of times on the counter attack, Izzy Christianson beating Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze at one point but Libby Stout – on her return to the first team – bravely came out to brilliantly save from the striker.
Another player returning to the Liverpool side was Martha Harris, who replaced Walker on the hour. Harris was immediately involved in the action with a shot on goal headed towards the top corner but punched away by Karen Bardsley. Ashley Hodson also made an appearance, after two starts for the development squad in the last week, to add some much needed fresh legs to the Liverpool side.
For all Liverpool’s possession and hard work on the wings, Corina Schroder linking well with Claudia Walker and Becky Easton pressing high up the pitch to support Gemma Davison, they couldn’t break the defence down.
|Katie Zelem should be returning from injury soon|
Manchester City were arguably the better team on the night, although Liverpool are disappointed with their performance there are positives with some play tonight – in particular the build up to Natasha Dowie‘s goal, youth players again playing with maturity and both Libby Stout and Martha Harris returning to the team.
With Katie Zelem and Kate Longhurst both due to return in the coming weeks, Lucy Staniforth and Nicole Rolser of course out with long-term injuries, Liverpool should soon be back to full strength.
POTM: Becky Easton
XI: Stout, Easton (Hodson), Bonner (C), Bronze, Schroder, Omarsdottir, Williams, Davison, Walker (Harris), Da Costa, Dowie
Next up we are away at Notts County in the league on Sunday 18th May, kick off is at 2pm.
Thanks for reading,