Liverpool Ladies face Chelsea Ladies tomorrow afternoon at Staines Town FC in a 2pm kick off for their first away game of the 2015 FAWSL campaign.
The Reds have won one and lost one of their opening games, which places them in mid-table and 3 points behind their hosts Chelsea who sit top after winning 2 out of 2.
It has been over 2 weeks since Liverpool were last in action, the 2-1 home win over Birmingham City showcasing the talents of new signing Asisat Oshoala who scored a well-taken volley to open the scoring and then set up the second.
Matt Beard had shaken things up in his starting 11 with Becky Easton playing in defensive midfield, this move gave Liverpool the muscle in midfield they had been missing in previous games and the Reds looked altogether a more solid unit, constantly pressing and frustrating Birmingham.
Liverpool are almost close to having a full-strength team, Ashley Hodson is currently the only first team player missing through injury having had a recent knee injury. Hodson is expected to be back for the second half of the season while both Katrin Omarsdottir and Lucy Staniforth completed 45 minutes each of game time in the Development Squad’s recent fixtures.
This away tie has proved to be a tough one for Liverpool over the last 2 seasons, a hard-earned draw last season with half the first team injured and losing 2-1 the previous year. At home however Liverpool have picked up 3 points in 2013 and 2014, last season beating Chelsea to the league title on goal difference.
It seems almost frivolous to talk about the game as a potential title decider, yet with both sides aiming for the league title again it is certainly a 6-pointer – as last season proves every point and every goal could matter come the end of the campaign.
Q Chelsea Ladies are the only team in the league to have won both their opening matches, does this give them a head start in the title race?
A Definitely! When the league is only 14 games long, every point is invaluable (as we can see from last year being so close)! It’s great to have a 2 point lead already, after just 2 games. We know there’s a long, long way until the end of the season and (literally) anything could happen, but it’s just to be leading rather than chasing from the off.
Q There has also been a couple of good results in the Cup (Chelsea will face Manchester City in The FA Cup semi-final on Monday 4th May), what has been most crucial to the Blues success so far in 2015?
A Last year’s heartbreak has clearly had an effect on the team. We’ve approached each game with just 10% more grit and, added to the talent we’ve already got, it’s working really well for us. Throw in the experience of Niamh Fahey, Gemma Davison and Hedvig Lindahl, we look the strongest we ever have.
Q Liverpool supporters will be more than familiar with Gemma Davison after a successful season on Merseyside last year and has been in fine goalscoring form since her winter transfer, aside from her who are your key players?
A Obviously I can’t overlook Eni Aluko or Ji So Yun – two great attacking players recently nominated for PFA Player of the Year – but I think a player to look out for is Millie Bright. She’s only 21 and new to the squad, but is an absolute tank and has made the centre back position her own. She’s mature beyond her years and is one to watch going forward as well as today!
Q Finally, what is your score prediction for the game?
A 3-1 to the Blues!
Needless to say I disagree with this prediction and am going with 2-1 to Liverpool! Tomorrow promises to be a great tie between two talented and improved sides, tickets are £5 on the gate for adults, £3 concessions.
For any Liverpool supporters travelling to watch the game, leave plenty of time for travel as there is some other game going on in London around the same time which may have a few people headed the same way!