PREVIEW: LIVERPOOL LADIES V MAN CITY WOMEN

Liverpool Ladies v Manchester City Women
The FA Cup fifth round
5:30pm kick-off, Select Stadium, Widnes
Entry: £6 adults, £3 concessions, free for all season ticket holders
THE FA WOMEN’S SUPER LEAGUE begins its sixth season midweek with Liverpool facing Birmingham at home on Wednesday night, yet before supporters can get too excited about the prospects of a new league campaign, there is the small matter of an FA Cup fifth round tie against Manchester City.

I wrote midweek on The Anfield Wrap that there are no expectations on this Liverpool side, no pressure only intrigue. For many this is the first time that Scott Rogers’s new look line-up will be seen, and as such the fact that this is an FA Cup tie is not really at the forefront of the mind. 
City go into the game favourites, last year’s runners up have strengthened a settled side by adding Kosovare Asllani and Jane Ross to an already threatening forward line. However new defender Megan Campbell will miss 2-months with an ankle injury along with midfielder Keira Walsh. City have an excellent starting 11 but could come to rue their small overall squad as the season draws on.
Lucy Bronze will be a familiar face on the opposition team sheet, the right-back entering her second year in Manchester and joined in defence by England captain Steph Houghton and no.1 Karen Bardsley. Further up the field Jill Scott and Izzy Christiansen will be the main threats from midfield, while City have also completed the signing of Everton’s Nikita Parris after the striker spent last season on loan from the Blues. 
What of the Reds then, Siobhan Chamberlain will be the likely starter between the posts behind captain Gemma Bonner and fellow new addition Mandy Van Den Burg. Liverpool’s spine will look wholly different from last year with Sophie Ingle in centre midfield and Emma Lundh the new number nine. 
Natasha Harding joined Liverpool from City during the transfer window and will be a huge asset to the side, not only in this opening game but throughout the season with her direct and creative play. Harding said on LFCtv prior to the game “fortunately for Liverpool I was at City and I know how they play, and unfortunately for City I know how they play and now I’m on the other side.”
Liverpool have plenty of options now, with the ability to pick a strong starting 11 and still have quality on the bench; Competition for places will be high.
Come on Liverpool, here we go! 

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