LIVERPOOL LADIES were held to a 2-2 draw by Sunderland Ladies in Widnes.
Having raced into a 2-0 lead with goals from Caroline Weir and Laura Coombs, former Everton midfielder Brooke Chaplen struck either side of half-time to give the visitors a share of the points.
There were two changes to the side that had beat Birmingham City last time out in the league, Caroline Weir and Laura Coombs in for Katie Zelem and Alex Greenwood.
Due to Greenwood missing out Natasha Harding played left-back alongside an otherwise unchanged back line of  Martha Harris, Gemma Bonner and Mandy Van Den Berg; Siobhan Chamberlain in goal. 
Sophie Ingle played ahead of the defence, Kate Longhurst and Coombs joining her in midfield behind the front three of Weir, Emma Lundh and Shanice Van De Sanden.
Sunderland made a strong start to the game, a week on from their 7-0 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal, Beth Mead and Brooke Chaplen linking well and moving the ball with ease from one side of the pitch to the other.
Chaplen attempted to pick out Krystle Johnston on the right, Harding intercepting the pass and briefly clearing before being called upon defensively once more, this time under pressure from former FIFA Puskas Award nominee Stephanie Roche.
Again Harding managed to get the ball clear, Longhurst picking it up in the middle of the pitch and playing through her midfield partner Coombs. Coombs seeing her strike closed down at the edge of the area.
Reds no.1 Chamberlain was then called into action twice, first with a superb save to tip Mead’s dipping volley over the crossbar and then strongly holding onto Johnston’s fierce long range effort.
The game then began to tip in Liverpool’s favour. Bonner’s long ball looking for Lundh, intercepted but nicked back by Weir who shot wide.

Moments later though the Scotland international would open the scoring; Van De Sanden’s strike hit the post and fell to Weir, who tapped the ball over the line from inside the 6-yard box.
Van De Sanden was then instrumental in the Reds second goal, a wonderful move that seen Harris winning the ball deep in the Liverpool half. Harris got the ball to Weir who found Van De Sanden making a run into the box. 
Black Cats keeper Hilde Gunn Olsen came out off her line, diving for the ball only for Van De Sanden to skip past her and send a low cross towards Coombs, a neat flick from the on-loan midfielder giving Liverpool a 2-goal lead.
Sunderland pulled a goal back when Chaplen met a Kylla Sjoman free kick, heading the ball past Chamberlain.
The visitors were forced into a substitution shortly after, Sjoman requiring lengthy treatment on the pitch and being replaced by Danielle Brown.
Into the second-half, Sunderland began much the way they had the first. Chamberlain had to be quick to gather a set piece and pressure from Bonner saw Johnston fire wide.
The Reds captain then produced a stunning challenge yards from goal, denying Chaplen an equaliser – for now – and allowing Van Den Berg to clear. 
Liverpool had chances to re-extend their lead to 2 goals, Longhurst volleying over the crossbar and substitute Katie Zelem, who had not long replaced goalscorer Coombs, curled a shot towards the near post that went inches wide.
With an hour played, Sunderland grabbed their equaliser. Roche’s attempt cleared off the line by Van Den Berg but falling to Chaplen who doubled her tally for the afternoon, making it 2-2.
Last Sunday during the 4-2 friendly win in Sheffield, young winger Niamh Charles had mightily impressed and the 16-year old was handed her Liverpool debut coming on for Lundh. 
Charles was swiftly involved in the thick of the action, again looking completely unfazed by the occasion, constantly showing for the ball and sending a great cross towards Weir. Weir controlling and seeing her shot deflected out for a corner.
With full-time looming both sides went all out for the winning goal, Charles unfortunate to be unable to get a shot in while being closed down by 3 Sunderland defenders and Harris shooting wide after latching onto Weir’s rebound.  
It was Sunderland who had the game’s final chance, awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area – former Liverpool midfielder Lucy Staniforth looking to be one of the candidates to take the set piece – yet Chaplen, looking for her hat-trick, sent the ball over the crossbar and the hard-fought league tie ended 2-2.
Liverpool Ladies: Chamberlain, Harris, Bonner (C), Van Den Berg, Harding, Ingle, Coombs (Zelem), Longhurst, Weir, Van De Sanden, Lundh (Charles)
Player of the Match: Shanice Van De Sanden

REPORT: Sheffield F.C. 2 Liverpool Ladies 4 (Friendly)

LIVERPOOL LADIES put 4 past Women’s Super League 2 side Sheffield F.C. in a friendly today, 21 players featured across the 90 minutes with Caroline Weir, Rosie White, Emma Lundh and Kate Longhurst all on the score sheet.
It’s been 3 and a half weeks since Liverpool were last in action, the league game away at Chelsea postponed on the morning of due to a waterlogged pitch, an international break for Euro 2017 qualifiers and this weekend being FA Cup semi-finals weekend meaning that Liverpool would have gone over a month without playing.
The Anfield Wrap spoke to Reds boss Scott Rogers on the fixtures list during the break, Rogers commenting that the season plays out like a series of mini leagues. Indeed before several Liverpool players left on international duty, the new-look side had played only one league game and now face 4 in 2 weeks – including home and away ties against holders Chelsea.
This friendly then gave Rogers the opportunity to give game time to players who hadn’t been away and also, with the development squad’s game in Birmingham called off, a chance to integrate a number of youth players into the team.
Recent u17s title winner Charles was given a start on the left wing, joined across the midfield by Coombs, White and Weir with Longhurst playing the role of holding midfielder in front of Pacheco, Van Den Berg, Bonner and Harris in defence, Gibbons in goal and Lundh leading the charge up front.
For the opening 10 minutes Sheffield flew out the blocks at Liverpool, predominantly attacking down the left wing without much luck against Harris and Bonner.
The Reds began to find their feet and to say Charles impressed would be an understatement, unfazed the young winger battled for the ball, beating the full-back on numerous occasions and demonstrating her pace out wide to create space, overlapping well with Pacheco.
Liverpool’s first chances came from successive set pieces, Weir seeing a free kick headed out for a corner from which the Scotland international found Longhurst 20-yards out, Longhurst striking the ball wonderfully on the volley and seeing her effort crash back off the post.
The home side also went close, Gibbons expertly down at her near post to deny them the opening goal and Lundh heading clear the resulting corner.
It was looking more likely to be Liverpool that opened the scoring, Longhurst going close again and Coombs – looking sharp with a number of intelligent runs and turns – firing over the crossbar.
The opening goal came shortly after the half hour mark, Weir smashing the ball across the face of goal and into the far corner from 8-yards out. The Reds attacking in numbers with around 4-5 players in the box as Weir unleashed her shot.
This lead was to be short-lived, an extremely harsh handball given against Pacheco allowed Carla Ward to convert from the penalty spot to draw the score level at 1-1.
Confusion then reigned at the opposite end of the pitch, once more successive corners from Weir causing trouble for Liverpool’s hosts in the 18-yard box and, after initially seeming to award another corner, the referee pointed to the spot after conversing with the linesman.
Weir stepped up however seen her spot kick punched away by the goalkeeper, White arriving to score from the rebound and put Liverpool back ahead as the half drew to a close.
Rogers made two substitutions at half-time, Bonner replaced by Beckwith and Harris off for Fletcher making her first team bow.
As in Italy on her Liverpool debut Beckwith put in a composed display, Van Den Berg also a second half stand out amongst the youthful back line.
Not long into her debut and Fletcher had an assist to her name, the right-back finding Lundh who charged into the box and sent a shot into the back of the net, making it 3-1 to Liverpool.
3-1 up and in cruise control, the chances continued to flow for the Reds. White had a strike ruled out for offside, Charles unlucky twice – first causing trouble in the middle after the goalie fumbled a corner then seeing an effort tipped over the crossbar with a fine reaction save – and Coombs watching an overhead kick sail into the keepers arms.
Sheffield weren’t without opportunities of their own, Gibbons pushing a corner onto the bar and then gathering the ball under pressure from an incoming forward, the Reds defence mightily impressive, never appearing rushed and looking thoroughly in control.
The lead was extended to 3 when Longhurst appeared to get the final touch on an excellent free kick delivery from Weir.
The substitutions continued throughout the second-half, Zelem coming in for Lundh, Welsh duo Harding and Ingle on for Pacheco and Longhurst, Van De Sanden replacing White – and hitting the post following an electrifying cutting run across the box.
Green also came on for Weir while a late trio of development players saw goalkeeper Carberry making her debut, Taylor also with her first senior appearance and Elmore, who had featured during 2015’s pre-season; the trio leaving the field Gibbons, Coombs and Charles.
There was still time for one more goal, Sheffield reducing the deficit to 4-2 on what will have been a pleasing afternoon for Rogers, plenty of encouraging, positive performances and strength in depth for the upcoming run of games.
Liverpool Ladies: Gibbons (Carberry), Harris (Fletcher), Bonner (Beckwith), Van Den Berg, Pacheco (Harding),  Longhurst (Ingle), Coombs (Taylor), White (Van De Sanden), Weir (Green), Charles (Elmore), Lundh (Zelem)
Player of the Match: Weir

Next up for Liverpool Ladies they face Sunderland at Select Stadium, Widnes on Saturday, April 23, kick-off 5:30pm. 


As a lifelong Liverpool supporter, the difference between supporting the women’s team and the men’s team is vastly different. Having a season ticket for both, at Anfield I am one supporter amongst 40,000, while in Widnes you’re one in 800 – at away games, one in around 20 or less.

What does this have to do with X-Reds? Supporting a team as emphatically as I have via @LFCladiesfans over the last 3 years, the support for the players who move on doesn’t end when they sign for a new club. When they’re not playing against Liverpool, I find myself rooting for them and wanting to see them do well.

7 weeks ago I watched Natasha Dowie, Becky Easton and Katrin Omarsdottir turn out for Doncaster Belles in a friendly against Aston Villa and it got me thinking: why does the coverage of these players have to end just because they leave Liverpool?

I enjoyed watching Dowie score twice for her new club, I was made up to see Whitney Engen turn out for Tyreso FF in the Champions League in 2014 (and, quite literally, bump into her in the middle of a busy Montreal street last summer) and when Lucy Bronze scored the winning goal against Norway in Ottawa, I felt proud that she had won back-to-back titles with the Reds.

Therefore X-REDS is a new fortnightly look at players who have left Liverpool in recent years.

When Liverpool’s first team or development squad have no games then the aim is to get to a match somewhere in the country that will have a least one ex-Liverpool player featuring.

If, like me, you are interested in following these players careers post-Liverpool then this is the blog for you, if not ignore them, nothing else is changing on the LFCladiesfans blog, there’ll still be the usual reports, previews, round-ups and reviews. Although you may have noticed a change in the match day coverage on social media.

The blogs will primarily focus on those playing in the Women’s Super League and Matt Beard’s new Boston Breakers side that features 3 title winning Reds – in July I’m looking forward to attending two Breakers games and one Chicago Red Stars to see Amanda Da Costa! All of which will be blogged about here!


So this last weekend, with Liverpool out of The FA Cup, I headed up to Hetton-le-Hole to watch Sunderland Ladies take on Reading Women in the quarter-finals.

Sunderland have two ex-Liverpool players in their ranks. In 2013 with both Danielle Gibbons and Sarah Quantrill injured, Rachael Laws was drafted in on derby day as an emergency loan signing and the goalkeeper went on to play an important role as the Reds won their first league title and qualified for the Champions League.

At the end of 2013 Laws went back to Sunderland, winning promotion to the top tier the following season and embarking on a successful first year in the top flight with the Black Cats in 2015.

This year Laws has been joined in the North East by Lucy Staniforth, the midfielder having spent 2 seasons on Merseyside, signing in 2014 however missed the entire 2014 season after injuring her anterior cruciate ligament in pre-season training. A particular blow for the player who was making her return from the same injury in the opposite knee.

Staniforth would wait until 26 March, 2015 to make her first competitive appearance for Liverpool, then building up her playing time with the club’s development side before scoring her first goal in a 3-0 Continental Cup win against Doncaster and appearing in both legs of the Champions League ties against Brescia.

On her move back to Sunderland, Staniforth said “Coming back pretty much ticked every box. Having had a spell out injured, I was looking for some regular football and Sunderland’s set-up is brilliant.”

Both players started against Reading on Sunday, Laws in goal and Staniforth in a deep midfield role.

Sunderland had been held to a 1-1 draw by Reading just days earlier in their opening WSL game but sent their Southern visitors out the cup, winning 3-0.

Staniforth was involved in 2 of the 3 goals, a 40-yard pass in the 35th minute that gets more impressive on each viewing picking out Krystle Johnston on the right wing and Johnston crossing the ball low to Beth Mead for open the scoring.

Then, minutes before half-time, Victoria Williams knocked a Staniforth free kick past Mary Earps in the Reading goal to double Sunderland’s lead.

Laws prevented Reading from pulling a goal back with a point blank save in the second-half, then in injury time ex-Everton player Brooke Chaplen scored the 3rd and final goal of the afternoon to secure a place in the semi-finals.

The draw for the semi-finals took place as St.Georges Park yesterday, Sunderland will face Fara Williams and Asisat Oshoala’s Arsenal Ladies while Gemma Davison and Chelsea will take on Lucy Bronze and Manchester City.

These games will take place on Sunday 17th April, Liverpool’s development squad are away at Birmingham on that day so unless that gets postponed there will be no coverage of the semi-finals on this blog!


On a wet, windy morning in Ormskirk, Liverpool Ladies u17s played their final league game of 2015/16 beating Stoke City by 2 goals to nil. 

Liverpool had secured the league title 2 weeks earlier, learning while on the way home from a 5-1 drubbing of Derby County that chasers Blackburn had failed to win, making it impossible for the young Reds to be caught at the top.
That made this game against Stoke merely a formality yet one to be taken seriously; much earlier in the campaign, as reported by LFCladiesfans, the u17s went 2-0 down to the same opposition. An impressive comeback was staged with a brace each from Louise and Meg, 4-2 the final score.
It is worth also noting that this is the first Liverpool u17 side to win the league title, a title that has been dominated by Manchester United in recent years.
As it stands, even if United win their final games Liverpool will still finish 5 points clear. A great achievement by all involved and, before getting today’s match report underway, I’d like to congratulate each and every player and coaches Andy Newland and Charlotte Healy on a great season! 
The tone was set with back-to-back opening victories over both United and Blackburn, sides that had finished above Liverpool in the 2 previous seasons, before the Reds embarked on a 11-game winning streak. In the second half of the season Liverpool suffered a couple of defeats, with no shame in the 4-1 loss to United and also beat by a good Blackburn side but the title was secured after big wins against Derby County and a 2-0 derby win against Everton.
Having personally watched the u17s play several times this season, they are a talented group of players for whom the future is very bright! Watch this space… 


Onto the game itself which was mainly played in midfield with plenty of Liverpool probing around the 18-yard box but with few clear cut chances in each half. 
In the centre the excellent Mia and Brenna showed their strength on and off the ball, Mia’s complete dominance in front of the back line the reason the Reds defence were tested so little.
The defence consisted of set-piece specialist Charlotte at left-back, a centre-back pairing of Tia and Chloe with Megan on the right and Jen in goal.
Louise led the front line supported by captain Paige, Lauren and Sophie.
Early in the game it was Charlotte and Sophie causing the most danger on the right wing, Sophie twice racing down the sideline and beating the defender to win a corner for the Reds. Unfortunately on one of these rampaging runs the winger picked up an injury after a challenge and was replaced by the equally impressive Cassia.
As the first half progressed Liverpool drew closer and closer to converting one of Charlotte’s corners, Brenna almost poking the ball over the line but for a goalmouth scramble to deny her the opening goal.
Charlotte herself was also denied, a brilliant passing move by the Reds kickstarted by Mia and Megan combining to set Paige down the left wing, Paige crossed to Louise whose strike was blocked only as far as Charlotte – her 25-yard hit only just held onto by the Stoke goalkeeper.
Stoke were proving tough to wear down, the breakthrough finally coming on the stroke of half-time and after a 5 minute period during which Liverpool were down to 10 with Paige temporarily sidelined. Charlotte sending a corner into the crowded 6-yard box, the ball bouncing off a number of players before rolling into the back of the net off a Stoke player.
Liverpool made one change at the break with Caitlin on for Lauren.
Into the second half and Mia and Megan continued to be in the thick of the action, linking well with Cole once more yet Stoke snuffed out one attack, quickly back to defend Megan’s cross after the Reds had quickly countered.
A second counter attack saw Chloe clear to Caitlin, she passed to Mia who had also made the run, wide to Megan whose cross went in search of Paige however ended in the goalies arms. 
The Reds had to be patient for the second goal which came after Megan’s cross skimmed past Louise to instead land at Cassia’s feet, the Welsh youth international making no mistakes from yards out to make it 2-0 to Liverpool.
As mentioned previously the defence had little to do except remaining switched on throughout, set pieces were defended well with notable clearances from Chloe and Louise. While Reds keeper Jen, who recently found herself on the bench for the Development Squad, kept a commanding presence at the back, vocally organising the defence in front of her despite having probably the quietest afternoon of her season.
A trio of chances capped off the morning for Liverpool, Caitlin’s strike from the edge of the area almost alluding the substitute Stoke keeper, Louise firing a powerful shot inches wide and Cassia almost adding her second of the game after a layoff from Caitlin.
The game finishing 2-0 and the team deservedly celebrating a fantastic season.