MATCH PREVIEW: Birmingham City vs Liverpool Ladies

 On Sunday Liverpool Ladies will travel to Birmingham City for their penultimate away fixture of the 2014 season. The game will be shown live on BT Sport and kick off at 12pm.

 Liverpool currently sit 2 points behind Birmingham, with the same number of games played, a win at the weekend would place the reds back in the Champions League places.

 With Liverpool on 19 points, Birmingham on 21 and Chelsea Ladies up in first on 23, the top of the league going into the final 3 games is extremely tight and despite the league title being in the Londoners hands, it could still go to any of the top 3 clubs.

 Going into this crucial tie against Birmingham, Liverpool have picked up 4 wins and a draw in their last 6 league games while the blues have lost 2 and drawn 1. Both teams drew with Everton in their last outing; Liverpool held to a 2-2 in a ferociously fast Merseyside derby that seen Natasha Dowie and Kate Longhurst give the reds the lead before Nikita Parris draw Everton level.

 In stark contrast to the derby, Birmingham’s draw with Everton ended goalless with neither side creating much in the way of clear cut chances in the first half. Jo Potter picking up an injury and forcing the blues into a substitution seemingly affected their ability to close down in midfield, struggling to break Everton down and looking – aside from Karen Carney – uninspired.

 Potter is likely to be fit for the weekend after featuring and scoring during England’s 10-0 win over Montenegro midweek. Liverpool also had 4 players feature in the Lionesses final World Cup qualifier, Gemma Bonner started along with Fara Williams, who captained the side on the day and Lucy Bronze – who scored. Natasha Dowie was a second half substitute who also had the ball in the back of the net, this goal was pulled back and a penalty given as the defender had handled the ball on the line.

 The fact that Liverpool are still up and challenging towards the top of the league table is a testament to the squad, the injuries the team has found themselves plagued with throughout the campaign no doubt have caused disruption and at times Liverpool have struggled – scoring an average of 1 goal a game in the league. Winning each of the remaining 3 games would see Liverpool qualify for the 2015/16 Champions League, while Chelsea could still drop points as they face relegation threatened Notts County and Everton a final game away at Continental Cup finalists Manchester City.

 Liverpool’s goal shortage has been mirrored throughout the league, Chelsea themselves have scored only 6 more than the reigning champions total of 11 while Birmingham have 15 overall. Last season the reds plundered 46 goals – a new league record – while Chelsea and Birmingham scored 20 and 16 goals respectively all season.

 With 3 games remaining Liverpool’s Natasha Dowie will be on the hunt for more goals as she looks to power the reds back to the top of the league and retain her Golden Boot title. Dowie currently has 2 league goals to her name (9 in all competitions), Karen Carney has 4.

 This week tickets for Liverpool’s Champions League debut went on sale, you can purchase the tickets here: Liverpool Ladies v Linkoping LFC (please note all season ticket holders must buy tickets for this game)

 Also this Sunday, Liverpool Ladies Development Squad kick off their 2014/15 campaign away at reigning champions Sunderland Ladies. Managed by U17 FA Youth Cup winning coach Matty Campbell the young reds have a number of returning players alongside promoted players from the cup winning side. For a full season preview featuring every returning and leaving player, follow the link below!

 Liverpool Ladies Development Squad: Season Preview 2014/15

 Finally, this week I was proud to have the opportunity to have my blog featured on one of my University lecturer’s websites. You can read the piece here: You’ll Never Walk Alone: Sports Journalism & Social Media

 Thanks for reading!

 @LFCladiesfans

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