Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies v Arsenal Ladies

 36 days after being held to a 1-1 draw by Birmingham City, Liverpool Ladies will resume their title defence with a home tie against Arsenal Ladies.

 Since then a number of players have featured for England, with Fara Williams equalling the all-time caps record and looking likely to break it during the August friendly with Sweden. Lucy Bronze and Natasha Dowie also featured for the senior national side as they beat both Belarus and Ukraine, while Martha Harris and Ellie Stewart were with the U23s as they beat Sweden and lost to Norway.

 Before the break Liverpool were hit by a number of injuries to first-team players, the break perhaps coming at the perfect time to give these players time to recover. Katie Zelem has been given the all-clear following surgery on her collar bone while Kate Longhurst made her return during the Birmingham game. Martha Harris and Katrin Omarsdottir also missed games through injury while Matt Beard noted Corina Schroder and Fara Williams had been playing although not fully fit.
 Liverpool have so far made one summer signing, with Denmark’s Nina Pedersen joining after completing her education in the USA. Pedersen will bolster the reds impressive defence going into the second half of the season, joining up with a back four that has kept 6 clean sheets out of 8 appearances prior to the break.
 The reds are also graced with talent throughout the ranks at the club, the day after the Birmingham draw saw the development squad put in a brilliant performance over Aston Villa – winning 4-1. While a week later the U17s won The FA Youth Cup in Milton Keynes with a 1-0 victory over Everton Ladies.
 The youngsters performances have clearly been noted by the club, in the image below (posted by Lucy Bronze on twitter) alongside the familiar faces you can see a number of players from both teams. 
 On the far right is creative midfielder Mollie Green who in April made the step up from the U17s to the development squad, scoring 3 goals in 6 appearances. To her right is Vicky Rumsey, a solid central midfielder who reads the game well and made 15 appearances for the development squad last season. The player in front of these two is Emilie Revitt, an attacking left-back who is also a Wales U19 international. The final youth player in the picture who has yet to feature for the first team is the U17s central defender Rachel Robinson, who is in the light blue training top on the left of the photo and has also already comfortably stepped up to the development squad alongside Green.
 In 2013 the first team Liverpool faced following the mid-season break was also Arsenal Ladies, the reds unexpectedly falling to a 3-0 defeat with Jordan Nobbs in unstoppable form. For the first and only time since beginning this blog, the POTM was awarded to a player on the opposing team. 
 A back injury has prevented Nobbs from making an appearance yet this season for an Arsenal side that sit at the bottom of the league, luckily for them she has returned to full training and is likely to make her return in this game.
 Arsenal are bottom of the table on just 1 point following 3 losses and a draw, despite winning The FA Cup on Sunday 1st June the gunners also find themselves without a manager coming into this game – having yet to replace Shelley Kerr who announced her resignation in May.
 Last season seen two high scoring games between the two teams, Liverpool announcing their intent on challenging at the top of the league with an emphatic 4-0 victory at the Emirates only to have their title hopes dented by the aforementioned 3-0 defeat. 
 The game kicks off at 12:15pm on Sunday 29th June at Select Stadium, Widnes. The game is also live on BT Sport and is followed by Everton Ladies v Chelsea Ladies at 3:15pm at the same ground. Buying a ticket here will cover you for both games, while also entering into a prize draw to win a signed shirt by the Liverpool Ladies squad! As always those who have an Anfield season ticket are guaranteed free entry.
 Finally I just want to say thank you to everyone who read and shared my 2014 Mid-Season Review, it has become the most read post on the blog with over 1,000 views! A quick recap on how the votes went from the first 9 games of the season:
 Player of the Season so far: Becky Easton
 Young Player of the Season so far: Claudia Walker
 Goal of the Season so far: Natasha Dowie‘s 2nd vs Sunderland Ladies (6-0)
 Performance of the Season so far: Liverpool Ladies 6 – 0 Sunderland Ladies
 Disappointment of the Season so far: The Great Injury Crisis of 2014
 Thanks for reading,

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