MATCH PREVIEW: Manchester City v Liverpool Ladies

 This Sunday Liverpool Ladies will make the short trip to Manchester to take on Manchester City Women for the third time this season.

 Liverpool opened their season with a 1-0 victory over the league newcomers through a Natasha Dowie strike, however fell to a 2-1 defeat in the Continental Cup tie at the Etihad in May.

 That loss came in the middle of a tough run for Liverpool Ladies; 8 games stretched over 2 months saw just the 1 win, with 3 defeats and 4 draws. However following the defeat to Arsenal Ladies on 29th June, Liverpool have won each of their last 4 games – scoring 14 goals and conceding 4.

 Starting with a thumping 7-1 win away in the Cup at Durham WFC, the reds then fought Doncaster Belles and Everton Ladies to the final whistle in respective 3-2 and 1-0 victories. Last weekend saw a 3-1 win over last season’s runners-up, Bristol Academy with manager Matt Beard citing the win as the reds best performance this season.

 The reds will be without Martha Harris, Katie Zelem and Ellie Stewart who will be away with England U20s in Canada for the World Cup. They could however be boosted by the return of Claudia Walker, who returns from the U19 Euros in Norway having both captained England during the opening game and scoring their only goal of the competition.

 Katrin Omarsdottir made her first start since the mid-season break away at Bristol, capping her performance with a goal – her 3rd in as many games against the Vixens.

 Gemma Bonner also doubled her goals tally for the season with a header from close range, while Gemma Davison netted a well-taken strike volleying home from a corner.

 Liverpool captain Bonner earned a well-deserved recall this week to the England squad ahead of their friendly against Sweden next weekend, she joins Lucy Bronze, Natasha Dowie and Fara Williams in the 23-woman squad. Davison somehow missed out on the final squad yet again, despite Mark Sampson being in attendance at the Bristol game last weekend. Fara Williams is in line to become the most capped England player of all-time, should Williams feature against Sweden she will bypass Rachel Yankey and collect her 130th international cap.

 Manchester City also find themselves affected by the U20 World Cup, they will be without Natasha Flint who has scored City’s only goal in their last two matches.

 Toni Duggan is their top scorer, the winter signing from Everton has bagged herself 7 goals in 14 appearances so far. Both Isabel Christianson and Abbie McManus have scored their only goals for Man City against Liverpool.

 Last time out City lost away to Chelsea Ladies, a tough away trip as Liverpool found back in April. They lost captain Steph Houghton to a head injury in the first-half and she could be a doubt for Sunday.

 So far this season Manchester City have been beaten by Bristol, Doncaster Belles, Chelsea and Birmingham, all teams that Liverpool have avoided defeat to making this an important game for both sides.

 Currently Liverpool sit 3 points ahead of Manchester City in 3rd place, 2 points behind 2nd placed Chelsea. A win here would extend the gap between the top 3 and the rest of the table.

 Manchester City play at the Etihad Stadium, tickets on the gate cost £6 adults and £3 concessions. The game will kick off 2pm this Sunday 27th July.

 Again apologies for no tweets during the game against Bristol – I was in London! -, make sure you’re following on Sunday for updates throughout the 90 minutes. The link to my twitter is below!

 To finish off on a non-game related note, this week I visited Anfield and had to stop off to pay a visit to our WSL trophy. It was great to see it displayed in the museum alongside all the fantastic memorabilia gathered there – including Natasha Dowie‘s boots from last season!


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