Liverpool Ladies fell to their first defeat of the Women’s Super League this afternoon to an Arsenal Ladies side determined to lift themselves from the bottom of the league.
Liverpool were boosted by Kate Longhurst and Katie Zelem returning from injury, the latter making her competitive début for the reds and impressing – holding her own in midfield with an eye for a good pass.
|Katie Zelem returned from injury|
Unfortunately for Liverpool despite the return of a number of players to full fitness, goalkeeper Libby Stout missed out with a leg injury while Katrin Omarsdottir will also be out for 3 weeks.
In place of Stout in goal was Danielle Gibbons, who has already deputised for the No.1 this season. Gibbons stood strong between the posts, with a string of saves in the first half – particularly doing well to tip a goal bound Danielle Carter effort over and saving well from Kelly Smith. In front of Gibbons was the centre-back pairing of Becky Easton and Gemma Bonner, with Lucy Bronze moving out to right-back and Corina Schroder at left-back.
A scrappy opening with neither team managing to get a grasp on the game seen chances at both ends, Natasha Dowie heading over Corina Schroder‘s cross and a crunching Easton tackle at the other end seeing off an early Arsenal attack. Amanda DaCosta also seen a header go wide of the post from a corner.
Lucy Bronze was the stand out player yet again for Liverpool, the PFA Player of the Year revelling back on the right foraging forward and sending balls into the box. Bronze went closest to opening the scoring after cutting in from the wing and curling a shot towards the goal, gunners keeper Emma Byrne had to stretch to tip the strike over the bar.
|POTM: Lucy Bronze|
Back out for the second-half, early on it looked as though Liverpool would be the team to break the deadlock. Amanda DaCosta unable to control a Lucy Bronze cross in time to shoot before being dispossessed and Katie Zelem with a shot on target.
Unfortunately for Liverpool they were to concede their first goal from open play in the league, Rachel Yankey’s corner being bundled over the line by Casey Stoney.
After going a goal behind Matt Beard made two changes, with Claudia Walker and débutante Nina Frausing replacing Katie Zelem and Kate Longhurst. Walker made an immediate impact, chasing every ball and adding some much needed fresh legs to the Liverpool attack. The two substitutes created an opening minutes after coming on, Frausing sending a cross to Walker who’s shot was blocked by the defender.
Martha Harris was also a late substitute, replacing Amanda DaCosta and also finding herself thrown straight into action sending brilliant cross into the box – Byrne got there to collect just before Walker.
It’s always disappointing to lose a game, but there are positives to take from today’s game; Katie Zelem‘s return from injury, Danielle Gibbons‘ performance in goal and an outstanding individual performance from Lucy Bronze. Liverpool just couldn’t find the breakthrough that they needed to break down the Arsenal defence but they will bounce back.
|Liverpool celebrate at their last home game vs Birmingham|
XI: Gibbons, Bronze, Easton, Bonner (C), Schroder, Williams, DaCosta (Harris), Davison, Zelem (Walker), Longhurst (Frausing), Dowie
POTM: Lucy Bronze
One Liverpool player was on the winning team today, it was announced yesterday that Megan Alexander is to spend 3 months on loan at WSL2’s Oxford WFC and the reds left-back helped the side to their first win of the season – 2-1 away at Durham.
Next up for Liverpool Ladies they too will make the trip to Durham in the Continental Cup next Sunday, the next home game will be on Saturday 12th July vs Doncaster Belles.