Tonight seen Liverpool Ladies take on Everton Ladies in their fourth pre-season friendly, Natasha Dowie scored the only goal of the game in the second-half as she captained the reds in Gemma Bonner’s absence.
Liverpool were without a number of first-team players with England U23 trio Satara Murray, Ashley Hodson and Martha Harris unavailable for selection having arrived back from La Manga earlier today, Katie Zelem and Mollie Green with England U19s, captain Gemma Bonner and Fara Williams both with the seniors at the Cyrpus Cup and Katrin Omarsdottir away with Iceland at the Algarve Cup.
|Mike Price / Liverpool Echo|
This gave an opportunity to more development squad players to make the step up to the first-team with Kess Elmore making her debut during the second-half and Olivia Fuller amongst the substitutes.
Starting in goal for Liverpool was no.1 Libby Stout, making her first start of 2015. Ingrid Ryland retained her place at right-back, Becky Easton and Emilie Revitt in the centre of defence and Corina Schroder on the left. Hannah Dale played in the centre of midfield with an attacking front five ahead of her in Asisat Oshoala, Nicole Rolser, Line Smorsgard, Kate Longhurst and Natasha Dowie ahead of her.
Everton also had a number of players away on international duty, most notably their two recent acquisitions from Liverpool with Claudia Walker and Ellie Stewart both away with England. Megan Alexander did start however for the blues, putting in an impressive shift at left-back and playing an important part at the back.
Getting the action underway, Everton passed straight back to their defence before lobbing a long ball forward for their striker to chase but the assistant referees flag was up for offside.
|Mike Walsh / Liverpool Echo|
It was in fact the blues who looked sharper of the two teams during the opening stages, despite this Liverpool had a couple of early chances; first Natasha Dowie held the ball well, backing into the Everton defender to play in Kate Longhurst on the left – Longhurst crossed to Smorsgard and the ball went out for a corner. A good delivery from Corina Schroder met the head of Longhurst but the header was blocked, Emilie Revitt sent the ball back forwards seconds later for Line Smorsgard to send an audacious effort inches away from the top right corner.
Everton soon turned the pressure on the reds, Libby Stout collecting the first cross which was sent back in and cleared by Ingrid Ryland for an Everton corner. Despite having three consecutive the toffees could not create a clear goal scoring opportunity and the ball was eventually well headed away by Becky Easton.
Liverpool were attempting to try and play the ball around and patiently build up their attack, Line Smorsgard enjoyed her best performance in a Liverpool shirt and was constantly moving linking the midfield to the attack, drawing fouls and being unlucky not to find herself on the score sheet – particularly during the first 30 minutes.
|Mike Walsh / Liverpool Echo|
It was then the reds turn to have a couple of corners in quick succession, Hannah Dale is the set piece extraordinaire for the development squad and again proved to be impressive from dead ball situations tonight; Dale’s first corner was sent out for another after Oshoala seen a shot blocked and the second almost fell kindly to Natasha Dowie.
Captain for the night Dowie and Liverpool would have to wait until the second-half to open the scoring, Liverpool coming out for the second 30 minutes with a renewed energy and Maz Pacheco coming of for Corina Schroder at left-back.
Liverpool crept closer and closer to opening the scoring with Dowie at the heart of every attack, a powerful charge from Smorsgard ended with a through ball to Dowie on the edge of the area – the defender just getting there to clear. The reds no.9 then showcased her skills out wide, taking on the Everton centre-back and getting the better of her to send a cross in – this went straight across the face of goal, falling to Pacheco who won a corner from which Dowie saw a shot saved from close range.
Nicole Rolser was also denied the chance to open the scoring when ex-Liverpool defender Megan Alexander got back to clear her goal bound strike off the line.
Natasha Dowie finally opened the scoring for Liverpool on 42 minutes, a great ball into the box from Hannah Dale first connected with Asisat Oshoala but fell to Dowie; her first header blocked and falling to her feet, from which she made no mistake within the 6-yard box and continued her pleasing trend of scoring against her former club.
|Mike Walsh / Liverpool Echo|
The goal would be the only strike of the game, as Liverpool comfortably seen out the victory with Becky Easton providing a solid display at centre-back alongside Emilie Revitt. Kess Elmore was introduced as a substitute during the second-half, coming on for Hannah Dale.
While there would be no more goals, Liverpool did provide supporters with a wonderful passage of play. Oshoala dummied Ingrid Ryland’s forward pass, this reached Natasha Dowie on the half way line who tapped the ball back into the path of Oshoala. Rolser made the run forward on the right wing, Oshoala playing her in, getting 25 yards out from goal herself and receiving the return pass but seeing her shot blocked by the defence.
The final action of the game seen a speculative long-range effort from an Everton midfielder sail over Libby Stout’s crossbar.
Kess Elmore was introduced as a substitute during the second-half, coming on for Hannah Dale.
XI Stout, Ryland, Easton, Revitt, Schroder (Pacheco), Dale (Elmore), Oshoala, Rolser, Smorsgard, Longhurst, Dowie (C)
POTM: Becky Easton
Next up for Liverpool Ladies they welcome Doncaster Belles to Select Stadium next Saturday 14th March, 7pm kick off for their final pre-season friendly before beginning the campaign with a yet-to-be-drawn FA Cup tie on Sunday 22nd March.
Over the next couple of weeks a number of Liverpool players will be involved in international action, you can follow the results with this blog here which will be updated as games are played.