MATCH REPORT: Liverpool Ladies 0 – 4 Chelsea Ladies

 Liverpool Ladies suffered a heavy home league defeat to Chelsea Ladies in front of a 1000+ strong crowd in Widnes; PFA Player of the Year Ji So-Yun scored twice and England’s Eni Aluko and Fran Kirby bagged a goal each.

 The Reds lined up in a 3-5-2 formation – Natasha Dowie given a partner up front in Line Smorsgard and Katie Zelem playing just behind them. Lucy Staniforth and Katrin Omarsdottir completed the midfield line-up with Ingrid Ryland at left-wing-back and Rosie White on the right.

 Libby Started started in goal behind the back 3 of Martha Harris, Satara Murray and Gemma Bonner.

 The formation gave Liverpool a lot of width in contrast to the narrow Chelsea set-up, Ryland and White both consistently finding themselves with a lot of space on the wings – Ryland in particular impressing out wide and with the Reds first real chance of the game after Staniforth’s ball picked her out on the wing, the Norwegian beat Hannah Blundell to unleash a strike from outside the box but hitting the woodwork.

 With the effort coming midway through the first half, this saw the beginning of a short period of time wherein Liverpool were on top and had Chelsea pinned around their own box.

  Just moments after Ryland hit the post, Liverpool had Chelsea rattled again; White winning a corner after seeing her cross blocked and sending the set piece towards Bonner who’s header also crashed off the frame of the goal. Murray sent the rebound back out to White, who played a one-two with Staniforth before sending another cross into the box but this was cleared.

 The visiting team had temporarily been reduced to 10 after Niamh Fahey was forced to leave to pitch for stitches after a clash with Dowie, but Liverpool were unable to capitalize on the slight advantage and would be left cursing the crossbar as Chelsea took the lead.

 Aluko had initially been forced away by Bonner but Davison on the opposite wing had better luck, crossing to So-Yun who controlled the ball well at the edge of the 6-yard box and finished past Stout to make it 1-0.

  Stout then denied Kirby from going through on goal after a well-timed run eluded the defence, the no.1 with a sliding challenge outside of her area.

 This was followed by a wonderful solo effort from Zelem, who went on a driving run through the centre of the pitch to shoot from 30 yards – striking the ball cleanly dipping towards the top corner and Swedish international Hedvig Lindahl punching it out for a corner.

 Liverpool were pressing for an equaliser as Bonner pressed high up the pitch to receive a long ball from Staniforth by the corner flag, the captain’s cross deflected out for a throw from which White was unable to put the ball inside the box.

 5 minutes before half-time, Chelsea doubled their lead after Aluko cut the ball back to the waiting Kirby who made no mistakes from 6 yards out.

 Liverpool had made a change at the break as Maz Pacheco came on for Ryland, this bringing no change in formation.

 The lop-sided scoreline going into the second-half barely told the story of the game, Liverpool had had an abundance of activity in and around the box with numerous corners yet had been unlucky with hitting the post twice and perhaps just not being as clinical as the Londoners.

 Less than 10 minutes after half-time, Chelsea got the killer 3rd goal when Aluko pounced on a back pass to put herself on the score sheet after getting the earlier assist for Kirby.

 Before this Liverpool had continued to get the ball forward, Bonner’s forward pass looking for Dowie and then Smorsgard with a neat cross from the outside of her boot.

 The Reds refused to give up and at 3-0 White was unlucky not to pull a goal back after an excellent run from Harris, cutting in from the right to tee up the New Zealander for a strike that went inches wide.

 Both Ashley Hodson and Asisat Oshoala took to the pitch replacing Staniforth and Smorsgard, the latter making her return from a 2-month injury lay off and looking bright – a nice pull back and looping cross into the box looking for fellow substitute Hodson but caught by Lindahl.

 It would finish 4-0, Chelsea firmly placing themselves back at the top of the league table with one game to play – So Yun had opened the scoring and finished it with Davison once again providing the cross.

 Into injury time at the end of the 90 minutes, Stout was caught by Borges with the Reds keeper going down clutching her shoulder and requiring treatment on the pitch. With a number of important games coming up from next week, Liverpool will be hoping Stout’s injury wasn’t serious

 Full-time: Liverpool Ladies 0 – 4 Chelsea Ladies

LIVERPOOL XI Stout, Bonner (C), Murray, Harris, White, Omarsdottir, Staniforth, Ryland (Pacheco), Zelem, Smorsgard, Dowie



 Matt Beard is set to leave Liverpool Ladies at the end of the 2015 season and join Boston Breakers in the NWSL.

 Matt has managed Liverpool Ladies for 3 years, taking over in August 2012 to oversee the final games of the 2012 season but unable to prevent the Reds from finishing bottom of the league for the second year running.

 That winter Liverpool were transformed, with almost an entire new starting 11 joining the club – goalkeeper Sarah Quantrill had joined mid-season.

 England international Fara Williams arrived from Everton, along with Becky Easton, Natasha Dowie and Lucy Bronze while Gemma Bonner followed Beard from his former club Chelsea and was appointed team captain. Whitney Engen also signed up alongside fellow American Amanda Da Costa and soon-to-be regulars Corina Schroder, Nicole Rolser, Katrin Omarsdottir and Louise Fors arrived from Europe.

 At the beginning of 2013, Beard targeted a top 4 finish from his new-look side allowing time for them to settle as a team yet Liverpool started the season strongly and began to sweep their opposition aside with ease – a famous 4-0 win over an unbeaten for almost 2 years Arsenal Ladies side was followed by a 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea and 4-1 wins over both Everton and Birmingham.

 By the mid-season break Liverpool were top of the league on goal difference, had exited The FA Cup in the semi-finals to Arsenal but through to the semis of the Continental Cup. More players arrived during the summer transfer window – now fan-favourite Kate Longhurst, New Zealand’s Sara Gregorius, England youth internationals Ellie Stewart and Katie Zelem and on-loan keeper Rachael Laws.

 A tough run of games followed the break, a league defeat to Arsenal preceded a cup exit to Lincoln on penalties however the next 2 games would define the season, beating title challengers Bristol and Chelsea 4-3 in battling performances.

 In the Bristol game Liverpool raced 3-1 ahead before Bristol pulled it back to 3-3 – Gemma Bonner popping up minutes from time with a 40-yard screamer to take all 3 points. While at home against Chelsea, the opposite happened; Liverpool fell 2-0 behind in the opening 20 minutes. Goals either side of half-time from Williams and Rolser would make it 2-2 but the Reds would go behind again from an own goal. Natasha Dowie has been a key player for Beard over the years and was instrumental in Liverpool stealing the win here, scoring a header to make it 3-3 and then setting up Rolser for the winning goal.

 From here on, Liverpool went undefeated to lift the league title – their first major honour – and also securing Champions League football for the first time in the club’s history.

  Into 2014, Matt Beard continued to build his side – Lucy Staniforth, Libby Stout, Martha Harris and Gemma Davison arriving to strengthen the squad amid the departures of Whitney Engen and Louise Fors.

 Liverpool however were hit by an injury curse, Rolser and Staniforth both ruled out for the entire season after serious knee injuries and Zelem out for 2 months with a broken collarbone. Liverpool were also missing numerous players for games throughout the first half of the campaign.

 Despite this Beard’s team kept themselves at the right end of the table, putting themselves into a good position to challenge during the second half of the season – and challenge they did, an audacious Fara Williams winner away at Birmingham during the run-in and a last-gasp equaliser from Davison against her former side Arsenal placed Liverpool in 3rd spot going into the final day.

 Of the 2 teams above them, Chelsea needed only a point away at a new Manchester City side that has struggled to gel in the way Liverpool had the year before. If Chelsea were unable to get a point, then Birmingham could beat Notts at home to take the title.

 Somehow both Chelsea and Birmingham failed to get the results they needed, and Liverpool – who had beaten Bristol 3-0 – were crowned champions for the second year running against all odds.

  Away from the two title wins, Beard has overseen changes in the youth set up at Liverpool. In 2013 the development squad was overhauled and has since gone on to win their league – along with the U17s team winning The FA Youth Cup in 2014.

 This year the first team has once again struggled with injury, but still have the Continental Cup to play for with an upcoming semi-final and will be looking to go further in the Champions League which begins in 2 weeks.

 The team around the team has also improved greatly, Scott Rogers, Joe Potts, Kirsty Hicks, Kat Wise et al – this without mentioning the coaches of the youth sides.

 On a personal note I’d like to thank Matt for everything over the last 3 years, he’s transformed this team and club while being wholly approachable and friendly towards supporters throughout. Hiring Matt is a big statement from Boston, who will be hoping he can turn their fortunes around in the way he did for Liverpool.

 It’s been an absolute pleasure following Liverpool under Matt.

MATCH REPORT: Liverpool Ladies 4 – 2 Stoke City (U17s)

 Liverpool Ladies U17s staged an impressive comeback to beat Stoke City 4-2; Ainscow scored either side of half-time to draw the score level before substitute Boydell netted a vital brace to win the game.

 The Reds lined up with Myler in goal behind a back 4 of Howard, McPartlan, Yeldrem and Powell. Ainscow led the line up front with Thomas, Pemberton and Parry behind her, Cole on the right and Charles on the left.

 Liverpool were quick out the blocks and looking to use their pace to expose the width on the wings, Thomas coming out to the left and cutting the ball toward Charles who found Ainscow with the ball sent out for a corner.

 England youth international Cole was on set piece duties throughout, with a number of impressive balls into the box – 2 successive corners in the opening minutes, both towards Pemberton first at the near post and then the back, were dealt with by the defence before another towards a charging Ainscow moments later was cleared.

 Despite the early pressure, a bit of luck gave Stoke their opener – a free kick sent into the box from the halfway line only just trickling over the line after Myler stretched to get a hand to it.

 1-0 up, the visitors almost doubled their lead immediately with another free kick narrowly headed over the crossbar while Myler was again called into action claiming crosses from both the right and left wings.

 Once more Liverpool piled forward in numbers, winning a free kick of their own from which Parry’s ball was met by Ainscow but cleared.

 Charles then did well to win the ball back in her own half, passing the ball infield to Thomas who’s pinpoint pass found Cole out wide left. Cole’s tricky feet were too much for the Stoke’s left-back, who brought her down and Cole sent the resulting set piece just wide of the post.

 Unfortunately Stoke would capitalise on a quick counter attack to score a second a well-taken strike at the edge of the 18-yard box moments after Liverpool had them penned in by the corner flag.

 At 2-0 down, Liverpool continued to impress. Never looking panicked and keeping their composure, passing the ball well and building up their chances confidently.

 They were eventually rewarded for their efforts before half-time, Powell finding herself in space on the right wing and crossing to Ainscow at the near post who clipped the ball past the goalkeeper with the side of her foot to pull a goal back.

 Sensing an opportunity to equalise before the break, Charles sent a cross into the box – this was tipped away by the keeper only as far as Cole who carried the ball back goal wards and looked to put through Ainscow but her pass was intercepted.

 Cole herself then seen the keeper get a hand to her low drive and the score remained 2-1 to Stoke at half-time.

 Out for the second-half there were 2 changes to the back line, Sophie Rotherham coming on for Howard at right-back and Tia Lander in for Yeldrem in central defence.

 Liverpool continued to attack using the wings, notably the left with Powell and Charles overlapping and Cole sending a cross towards goal from that side also.

 The Reds scored their equaliser only minutes into the half, Ainscow pouncing on a Powell free kick with a lovely finish across the face of goal.

 As the team flourished in attack, the defence too – with McPartlan in particular – looked impressive; As Stoke looked to play long balls over the top McPartlan read these well, taking a step back and preventing the forward from turning.

 Now looking to go ahead for the first time Liverpool made a number of substitutions, Cassia Pike on for Cole, Meg Boydell for Charles, Caitlin Gerrard for Parry and Jessica Tomlinson for Pemberton.

 Pike gave the Reds a different option on the right, and linked well with Rotherham behind her. One attack seen Rotherham charge forward with the ball, get herself into the box and pass out wide to Pike – almost connecting with the return pass but stopped by the defence before she could get a shot in.

 Rotherham also proved tough to beat defensively, nothing getting past her for the second 45 minutes.

 A late double from Boydell would secure the 3 points for Liverpool, first the substitute put her side in front after converting a corner then in injury time scored the pick of the afternoon’s goals after controlling the ball well at the edge of the box and volleying it over the keeper.

 Before Boydell scored the 4th and final goal, Myler had been alert and came out of her box to clear up a loose ball and the keeper also put in a commanding performance behind her defence, constantly talking to them and the rest of the team.

 LIVERPOOL: Myler, Howard (Rotherham), McPartlan, Yeldam (Lander), Powell, Parry, Pemberton, Thomas, Cole, Charles, Ainscow


MATCH REPORT: Bristol Academy 1 – 4 Liverpool Ladies

Liverpool Ladies booked their place in the Continental Cup semi-finals with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Bristol Academy; Natasha Dowie scoring all 4 goals.
Dowie had looked isolated during the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City midweek and led the line for Liverpool on the afternoon here admirably ahead of an attacking trio of Katie Zelem, Kate Longhurst and Rosie White with Katrin Omarsdottir and Lucy Staniforth in midfield.
Libby Stout started in goal, despite pulling her groin – Gemma Bonner taking over goal kick duties and partnering Satara Murray in the centre of defence with Ingrid Ryland returning at left- back and Martha Harris on the right. 
Two weeks earlier these sides had met in a league tie, with Liverpool coming out 2-0 winners in that game, since Bristol have suffered a 3-0 defeat to Birmingham – a result that effectively condemns them to relegation, as they sit 5 points adrift of the midlands side with 2 games to play.
This meant that, like Liverpool, Bristol are left fighting on just one front competitively and initially proved tough for the Reds to break down.
Twice in the opening minutes probing through ball were sent through the defence for Dowie to chase, while Harris was pressing high up the pitch and linking with Longhurst out wide trying to find an opening.
Liverpool’s first chance came from a set piece, with Staniforth having switched back to taking corners and playing an inviting low ball towards the incoming White at the near post. The New Zealander sending her effort curling just inches wide of the post. 
Staniforth was involved again moments later as the Reds embarked on a wonderful passing move; Longhurst winning possession on the half way line, sending the ball to Zelem on the right wing who clipped it first time in towards Staniforth who herself passed back out wide to Dowie – Dowie’s cross fizzing across the box but White unable to connect.
Throughout the 90 minutes Liverpool continued to display fine passing, moving the ball quickly despite Bristol’s attempts to close them down; Dowie flicking Harris’ throw-in to the feet of Omarsdottir and Ryland playing her best game in the shirt yet, making a number of mazy runs down the left.
The first shot the home side had on target was well saved by Stout and Bonner once more made defending look effortless as she side-stepped Christie Murray to bring the ball out of defence.
Before taking the lead, Dowie was twice denied at close range by Mary Earps in the Bristol goal. First after meeting a pinpoint pass over the top of the defence by Zelem and then after connecting with Harris’ cross.
Dowie had so far been eluded by the England U23 goalkeeper from open play, however Earps couldn’t produce a save for Dowie’s spot kick – awarded after White was pulled down in the box – with the Reds leading goal scorer stepping up to send her the wrong way and place the penalty in the bottom left corner to give Liverpool a deserved 1-0 lead.
Bristol almost responded immediately after Anghared James powered forward into the Reds area, her run was matched all the way by Murray and her cut back cleared by Harris.
They would soon have their equaliser however, summer signing Jade Boho-Sayo with the long-range strike to beat Stout and the sides went in at half-time level.
Half-time: Bristol Academy 1 – 1 Liverpool Ladies
Liverpool continued the second-half as they had begun the first, attacking in numbers and passing the ball well. 
Ryland won an early corner after good work on the left wing; Staniforth’s ball headed on at the back post by Bonner but Dowie unable to send it goal wards.
Bristol themselves then had a corner, shortly after Boho-Sayo tried her luck from range after but this attempt drifting wide. The corner was cleared to the edge of the box where the waiting Hayley Ladd struck it first time – this blocked by the Liverpool defence. 
Having already conceded once Liverpool never really looked in danger of conceding a second, with the strength of the attacking play particularly down the left with Ryland and White and it seemed only a matter of time until the visitors regained their lead.
The goal eventually came, White passing back up the wing to Ryland and the Norwegians cross being dinked over Earps by Dowie – her 40th goal for Liverpool.
Once going back ahead, it suddenly became all Liverpool with the team looking confident. Ashley Hodson came on for Omarsdottir and looked lively from her first touch, joining the fast paced attack on the right. 
Dowie soon had her hat-trick, White setting her through the defence – despite Bristol’s offside claims – and Dowie keeping her composure to finish low past Earps.
Liverpool then had numerous chances to make it 4-1; White somehow kept out at close range after a brilliant cross from Hodson then Hodson herself having a strike saved after being put through by White and Zelem and Dowie both hitting the crossbar.
Late substitutions seen Mayumi Pacheco and Line Smorsgard come on for Ingrid Ryland and Rosie White; Smorsgard having a claim for a penalty waved away by the referee.
To the home crowd’s dismay it would end 4-1 to Liverpool, who else but Natasha Dowie to round off a prolific afternoon in front of goal with another well-taken strike to beat Earps.
Liverpool march on into the semi-finals where they will meet one of Notts County, Birmingham City or Arsenal/ Manchester City.
Full-time: Bristol Academy 1 – 4 Liverpool Ladies
LIVERPOOL Stout, Harris, Murray, Bonner ©, Ryland (Pacheco), Omarsdottir (Hodson), Staniforth, Zelem, Longhurst, White (Smorsgard), Dowie

MATCH REPORT: Manchester City Women 2 – 0 Liverpool Ladies

Liverpool Ladies fell to their 3rd straight defeat as goals from Izzy Christianson and Natasha Harding kept Manchester City’s title dreams alive with just 2 games remaining of the Women’s Super League season.
There were 3 changes to the side beaten by Arsenal Ladies at the weekend, Ingrid Ryland coming into an otherwise unchanged back line with Martha Harris at right-back, Gemma Bonner and Satara Murray in the centre and Libby Stout in goal.
Katie Zelem dropped to the bench in favour of Lucy Staniforth, who would partner Katrin Omarsdottir in midfield while Line Smorsgard came in for Ashley Hodson on the left of the attack – Kate Longhurst on the right with Rosie White playing behind Natasha Dowie.
Manchester City are a side high on confidence after a run of 10 wins in 11 games, yet for the majority of the opening 45 minutes Liverpool’s defence stood strong. Bonner stopping Bronze in the opening minute, Staniforth with a clever interception at the edge of the area and Murray picking up a low pass looking for Natasha Harding.
Harris had had a great game in the previous league match against Arsenal and continued to impress here, tasked with marking the tricky Nikita Parris and containing her throughout the 90 minutes.
On the wing Harris would also face City left-back Demi Stokes, who had played well during her sides 1-0 win over Sunderland on Sunday but, like Parris, Stokes met her match in Harris and was limited to crossing early – not threatening Liverpool.
When in possession Liverpool looked to attack down the right of the pitch, with Harris winning successive throw-ins early on in the half and using these to edge further up the touchline, linking with Longhurst who would win the first corner of the game.
The home side were playing high up the pitch, Jill Scott in particular looking to be playing further forward than usual and seemingly camping out by the back post for the majority of the first half. In retaliation to this Reds captain Bonner urged her team mates forward to play a higher defensive line.
City continued to enjoy most of the games chances, Stout came off her line to prevent Harding connecting with a Scott through ball, Bonner put in an excellently timed sliding challenge in the box and Harris continued to win her battles with Parris. Stout also denied Harding at the near post before Murray did well to stay on her feet and win the ball off Parris 18 yards out.
On the stroke of half-time, City would take the lead; Christianson firing past Stout after a trademark move from former Liverpool defender Lucy Bronze – who had powered forward from right-back before cutting the ball back into the path of Christianson. Liverpool were incensed as just moments earlier a foul had been given against the Reds in the box after a good delivery from a White corner.
Half-time – Manchester City Women 1 – 0 Liverpool Ladies
Liverpool came under fire again in the second half, Stout strongly punching away a Christianson corner before brilliantly saving at close range from Harding – the rebound from Christianson blocked by Bonner, who also stopped another Bronze cross meeting its target.
Harding was leading the City front line in the absence of Toni Duggan, who Man City announced yesterday will miss the remainder of this season with an ankle injury. Harding herself only recently returned from injury and continued to test the Reds defence – Murray getting across and in front of the Welsh international to prevent her getting a shot in and then a low cross intercepted by Harris and cleared by Murray.
Shortly after a quick City counter-attack in which Staniforth was booked for a challenge on Christianson, Harding would double her side’s lead with 15 minutes to play – converting a Georgia Stanway cross at the near post.
Liverpool’s final substitution came late in the game with Maz Pacheco replacing Staniforth, following the earlier substitutions of Ashley Hodson and Katie Zelem on for Smorsgard and Longhurst. This signalling a change in formation, Harris moving into a back 3 alongside Bonner and Murray with Pacheco and Ryland at wing back.
The change gave Liverpool more width in their attacking play, in the final move of the game Pacheco won the ball from Bronze at the half way line and Liverpool pressed forward, switching the ball across to Ryland who had cut in but the Norwegian was unable to turn at the edge of the box and was eventually forced back.
After the defeat Liverpool remain 6th in the league table, with a home game against Chelsea Ladies on Saturday 26thSeptember and a final day tie against Bristol Academy a week later.
LIVERPOOL – Stout, Harris, Murray, Bonner ©, Ryland, Omarsdottir, Staniforth (Pacheco), Smorsgard (Hodson), Longhurst (Zelem), White, Dowie


MATCH REPORT: Liverpool Ladies 0 – 2 Arsenal Ladies

 Liverpool Ladies slipped to a 2-0 league defeat at home to Arsenal Ladies; the Gunners had missed a first-half penalty but secured the 3 points with second-half strikes from Dominique Janssen and Jordan Nobbs.

 After playing a rotated side against Manchester City last weekend, and losing Becky Easton to a broken arm, there were a number of changes to the starting 11; Martha Harris returning to right-back amongst an otherwise unchanged backline that included Gemma Bonner, Satara Murray and Mayumi Pacheco with Libby Stout in goal.

 In midfield Kate Longhurst, Katrin Omarsdottir and Katie Zelem also returned to the line up, along with Ashley Hodson on the right of the attack – Natasha Dowie and Rosie White retaining their places.

 Arsenal came into this game looking to put pressure on Chelsea Ladies at the top of the table, the Gunners now sit in second place behind Chelsea with their fellow Londoners having one more game to play and their intent was clear from the opening whistle as they constantly closed down Liverpool, pressing high up the pitch.

 It was Liverpool however who would have the game’s first chance, Zelem with a lovely through ball to Dowie who carried it forward down the right wing before cutting in behind former England captain Casey Stoney and firing just wide of the post.

 Zelem was also proving influential at the opposite end of the pitch, well positioned for two of Arsenal’s corners to block the delivery at the near post and then recovering well to dispossess striker Natalia Pablos Sanchon at the edge of the area.

 For the visitors most of their attacks were being forged on the right, with Danielle Carter out wide and linking well with Alex Scott – one clever pass from Carter being sent whizzing across the face of goal by Scott, Nobbs connecting with the rebound but hitting her shot straight at Stout.

 Jordan Nobbs almost drifted out wide, seemingly having a free role in the midfield, but was consistently stopped by Pacheco – who also stood strong against Carter. On one occasion Pacheco went to the aid of Dowie, winning the ball on the half way line and sending it towards the chasing Hodson but Arsenal keeper Sari Van Veenendaal was quick off her line to snuff out the attack.

 Van Veenendaal was called into action again minutes later, Dowie laying the ball off into the path of White who struck it well, curling to the top left corner but the keeper got across to save. Then, spotting the keeper off her line – a theme that will resurface later – White attempted a lob from distance, the effort dipping only just over the crossbar.

 As the game approached half-time, Murray conceded a penalty – previously booked for a challenge in the opening 5 minutes. Luckily for the Reds Natalia stepped up to send a weak spot kick wide of the post and the score remained 0-0 as the opening 45 minutes drew to a close.

 Arsenal continued to pile on the pressure as play resumed for the second-half, Stout tipping away Carter’s strike and Bonner carrying the ball to safety before herself denying Carter with a great sliding interception to prevent Vicky Losada’s pass from reaching the Gunners no.9.

 Bonner would then have Liverpool’s best chance to take the lead, beating Marta Corredera with ease in her own half and sending a long ball to Dowie who had drifted out wide. Dowie winning a throw that would lead to a corner and White’s set piece delivered perfectly to Reds captain Bonner in the middle of the 6-yard box, who hit the ball on the volley and was somehow denied by an excellent save from Van Veenendaal.

 Liverpool would cause panic again with the corner this save resulted in, Hodson’s shot spilled but the Reds unable to capitalise.

 Just as the home side appeared to be getting on top, with Longhurst looking to be playing higher up the pitch and Lucy Staniforth coming on for Katie Zelem, Arsenal were awarded a free kick yards from the 18-yard box, Janssen stepping up and converting the set piece with a well-taken strike.

 From kick-off Liverpool almost pulled a goal back immediately through substitute Staniforth as the midfielder spotted Van Veenendaal off her line and attempted to lob the ball over the keeper from the halfway, an impressive effort was just as impressively tipped over the bar by the retreating keeper.

 Staniforth then threaded a neat ball to Dowie, who couldn’t quite get a shot in being crowded out by the two central defender, and looped a great pass over the defence for the hard working Harris to chase – the right-back doing well to get a touch on the ball with the looming goalkeeper but unable to get a shot in.

 With less than 10 minutes remaining, Arsenal doubled their lead with Nobbs finishing past Stout from the edge of the 6-yard box. Liverpool thought they had pulled a goal back shortly later after a Staniforth free kick looked to be over the line after initially bouncing around the  box, the better placed linesman confidently saying no goal and the game finishing 2-0 to Arsenal.

 XI Stout, Harris, Bonner (C), Murray, Pacheco, Longhurst, Omarsdottir (Smorsgard), Zelem (Staniforth), Hodson, White, Dowie

 POTM Martha Harris