Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies v Birmingham City

 Six weeks after kicking off the 2014 campaign away at Sunderland Ladies, Liverpool Ladies host Birmingham City in the final game before the mid season break.

 It has been a tough opening for Liverpool, losing 3 players before a ball had been kicked and then missing each of Amanda DaCosta, Libby Stout, Martha Harris and Kate Longhurst for one or more games has tested the reds.

 Having said that the players injury-free have more than stood up to the task, Liverpool’s back line in particular coming under heavy pressure at Notts County and Chelsea away – Lucy Bronze and Gemma Bonner‘s centre back partnership grows every game, while Corina Schroder and Becky Easton have been solid at left and right back respectively.

 Gemma Davison has been the catalyst to the majority of Liverpool’s attacking movement, her pace blinding defences. At the last home game at Select Stadium, supporters were treated to a master class in attack from Davison as she opened her Liverpool goals account and provided an assist minutes later.

 Natasha Dowie remains the reds primary goal threat, with 6 goals to her name already this season and 25 in 29 appearances overall in a Liverpool shirt.

 The game against Birmingham will be only the fourth league game, with 5 of the 9 opening games being cup ties. Liverpool remain unbeaten in the league and are also the only WSL side yet to concede a league goal.

 Despite being tipped by many to be candidates for relegation, Birmingham have proved their doubters wrong so far this season and come into this game sitting top of the Women’s Super League. On their last two outings they have beaten both Chelsea Ladies and Arsenal Ladies, scoring 4 goals and conceding 1.

 Kirsty Linnett is the blues top scorer, with 3 goals in 7 games. Remi Allen and Jo Potter, both recently receiving England call-ups, have 2 in 7 each while former reds striker Hannah Keryakoplis has scored one goal so far this year.

 Alongside their 2 wins and a draw so far in the league, Birmingham also progressed to the Champions League semi-finals. The first leg in Birmingham saw a brilliant performance from the blues as they held on to a 0-0 draw against players like Marta and Christen Press, their luck ran out in the second leg a week later; 3 late goals defeating the blues and destroying their hopes of reaching the final.

 Liverpool’s average home attendance so far this season is 892. Down on last years high of 965 however if they get a gate greater than 431 tomorrow night, this average will rise to 1,000+ (WSL games).

 Kick off is 6:30pm, Select Stadium, Widnes. £5 entry for adults on the gate, £2.50 concessions.

 Two things to finish off; first I am putting the finishing touches to my 2014 mid season review, the voting for Player of the Season so far has been a battle between both Becky Easton and Gemma Davison – one player has just pulled ahead of the other so if you haven’t voted yet either tweet me or message/ comment on facebook! Libby Stout and Gemma Bonner are also fighting it out for 3rd place.

 Finally last night I went to watch the development squad in their derby as, for a second time in one week, they defeated Everton Ladies 2-1. This was the 5th development game I’ve gotten to over the course of their season, many players there at the beginning of their season are now with the first team so getting to these games is a brilliant way of seeing the future talent at the club.

 As well as the players who have already made the step up, there are many more deserving of an opportunity. Beth Donoghue has been in fantastic form over the last few weeks, netting 3 of the 4 goals scored against Everton this week, while Olivia Wild and Shannon Beckwith also continue to impress at right back and centre back.

 The development squad have one final home game left this year, on Sunday 25th May at 2pm they will take on Aston Villa at Select Stadium so if you don’t have any plans get down and support the girls! All games are free entry.

 Thanks for reading, mid season review will be up on Monday 26th May! Including: Fixtures & Results, Attendances & Goals, WSL, The FA Cup, Continental Cup, ‘… of the Season so far’ Awards and Development Squad.

 @LFCladiesfans

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