Liverpool Ladies heartbreakingly crashed out of the Continental Cup semi final tonight to Lincoln Ladies. Sarah Gregorius was handed her first start in a red shirt, replacing Jess Holbrook. Gregorius’ fellow new signing Kate Longhurst was cup tied as was Lincoln’s Lillie Billson, who of course had featured in our campaign in the first half of the season.
After topping our group following a resounding 4-0 victory over Chelsea Ladies in the last Continental Cup game, Liverpool Ladies host Lincoln Ladies in the Semi Final at Halton Stadium on Wednesday 7th August.
Of all the results discussed prior to this game, a 3-0 defeat was not one I was expecting. It is a disappointing result to start the second half of the season with, but I have no doubt the Ladies can pull it back and – ahead of Bristol’s game today against Everton – we still top the table on goal difference.
It’s been a long 8 weeks since we played our last league game against Birmingham City. Tomorrow night we play Arsenal Ladies at Halton Stadium, Widnes in a 7pm KO that will be screened live on BT Sport.
Here is the final weekly round up (until the end of the season);
- Fara Williams was in last Sunday’s Mirror commenting on the upcoming Arsenal game and the disappointment of crashing out of the Euros early.
“I’ve felt very low since we went out of the Euros, but being back with my Liverpool team mates has given me a big lift.”
“We had a massive boost from beating Arsenal at their place, and if we can do it again on Saturday that will give us the confidence to go on and win the league.”
- Louise Fors has been updating her website this week, giving it a makeover in time for the second half of the season! The blogs are a great insight to what it’s like living in Liverpool and playing for the club, I really recommend that you go and check out a few of them.
- Last week there were rumours of a number of Liverpool players leaving the club, one of those has been confirmed this week as Hannah Keryakoplis who has gone to play for Stoke. Hannah made her debut for the Potters this week and scored on her debut.
Keryakoplis was our joint top scorer last season and made 18 appearances. However this season has found opportunities limited. Good luck at Stoke Hannah!
- Liverpool Ladies first game back against Arsenal will be shown live on new channel BT Sport, if you have BT Broadband this channel is free and you can subscribe by going to channel 413.
Full details on how to get BT Sport are here: http://www.bt.com/sport/
Anyone unable to watch BT Sport I am sure there will be a live stream link and will share that as soon as I find one on Twitter!
- Today came the news that at the end of the season defender Whitney Engen will leave Liverpool for Swedish side Tyreso FF. There she will join a number of previous and international team mates. There are conflicting reports on Twitter as to whether this is purely over the off-season or a permanent deal.
Tyreso put an official statement on their website, which when translated by Google gave us gems such as “American country impact jaw Whitney Engen is ready for the club”. Luckily Katja (@applessqabbles on Twitter) has translated this again for us so it makes a little more sense, you can find that here: Tyreso statement.
- Ahead of the season starting up again, manager Matt Beard has given a great interview to the official LFC website which you can read here: Matt Beard: “Don’t expect another rout”
PS One last thing, the latest issue of LFC magazine is duo out next week and should feature Amanda Da Costa’s regular column.
After what seems a very long 8 weeks, Liverpool Ladies are finally back in action on Saturday night. In the first football match to be screened live on BT Sport we take on Arsenal Ladies at Halton Stadium, Widnes.
Arsenal had a slow start to their league campaign with a couple of postponements due to their run in both the Champions League and FA Cup. Unfortunately for them this means that their fixture list for the second half of the season is a little more congested than ours.
We have played Arsenal twice this season, losing one and winning one. First of all early in the season we faced the Gunners in The FA Cup at Anfield, a semi final in which we were narrowly beaten. A couple of weeks later we played Arsenal in the league at the Emirates, causing an upset as the Ladies ran riot with a 4-0 win – this being Arsenal’s first league defeat in almost 2 years.
Since this defeat Arsenal have returned to their unbeaten ways, although they came close to losing away at Lincoln with only a Steph Houghton wonder strike saving them at the end. They have won each of their last 3 games, including home and away against Bristol Academy and Chelsea. In those games Arsenal have scored 9 goals but conceded 5 and the last time they kept a clean sheet was back in April against Birmingham City – 9 games ago.
Over the summer Jennifer Beattie and Rebecca Spencer have left Arsenal, who have replaced the pair with young Scottish duo Emma Mitchell and Caroline Weir. Jayne Ludlow announced her retirement after spending 13 years with the club while they have been bolstered by the return of Katie Chapman. Kelly Smith may also feature, she made her return from injury for England during Euro 2013 and Steph Houghton should also now be fully fit, after picking up a slight injury in the last Arsenal Ladies game Houghton played in all 3 England games at the Euros.
Liverpool have also been making waves in the transfer market this summer with a number of new and exciting signings. New Zealand international Sarah Gregorius joins us from the German league and we have signed Chelsea Ladies forward Kate Longhurst, alongside two England Under 19 internationals – Ellie Stewart and Katie Zelem. Leaving the club is striker Lillie Fenlon-Billson, Billson has joined Lincoln Ladies where hopefully she will see more first team action. There has also been rumours of other players moving on but as yet these are unconfirmed.
Liverpool have been in fantastic form so far this season, topping the league table on goal difference. We have won 5 out of 6 league games scoring 17 goals – 11 in our last 3 – conceding just 6. There were many highlights over the first half of our season, most notably the 4-0 win at the Emirates and the 4-1 derby win away at Everton. As the season has progressed we have gotten better and better, the fitness levels of our players pushing us ahead of the other clubs. We also proved strength in depth with the brilliant Lucy Bronze stepping in on a number of occasions at centre back and Jess Holbrook doing a fine job in place of Katrin Omarsdottir in the final two league games of the season. These performances, along with the new signings, must give manager Matt Beard a welcome selection headache.
As mentioned earlier Arsenal seen a number of games early in their season postponed; while Liverpool have played 6 times, Arsenal have 2 games in hand with 4 games played. If Liverpool can take 3 points from Arsenal on Saturday it could be a massive blow to Arsenal’s title chances. At the moment the league is looking like a 3 horse race, with ourselves, Arsenal and Bristol Academy. Everton and Chelsea also sit in 3rd and 4th place respectively and, given a good run of results, could mount an attack on the top 2. There is currently an 8 point gap between Liverpool and Arsenal and a 6 point gap between us and Everton, who lie in 3rd with the same number of games played. Liverpool also have to play Bristol twice in two games that will be crucial to the second half of our season.
Liverpool v Arsenal kicks off 7:00pm this Saturday 3rd August. The club have announced this week that any supporter with tickets to Steven Gerrard’s testimonial that same day at Anfield will be granted free entry to our game. Anfield season ticket holders also have free entry to this game along with all other Liverpool Ladies home games. Alternatively tickets are priced just £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions which you can purchase there on the night.
If you have missed any Ladies news over the break I have been doing a weekly reds round up and you can find the links to each of these below. These will now cease until the end of the season, at least for now – I’ll see how it goes!
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 1
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 2
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 3
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 4
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 5
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 6
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 7 – will be online this Friday.
Here is also a link to the mid season review I posted, thanks to everyone who has read this so far it is by far the most read post on this blog!
During the break I have started providing Liverpool website This Is Anfield with monthly updates on the Ladies. You can find the first two articles below if you fancy a bit more extra reading!
Finally just want to say a massive thank you to everybody who reads these blogs, follows @LFCLadiesFans on twitter, This Is Anfield for giving me to opportunity to bring the Ladies news to a wider audience and Antoine over at Empire of the Kop for allowing me to promote the Arsenal game on his site.
Hope to see you at Halton during the second half of the season!
Twitter is sometimes a hard place to keep track of important (and not so important) news, so from this week you can catch up with all the latest Liverpool Ladies news here every Friday night. This first round up will also carry a couple of items across from last week.
- On Saturday 8th June Liverpool Ladies signed off from the first half of the FAWSL season with a thumping 4-1 victory over Birmingham City Ladies. Goals from Natasha Dowie, Lucy Bronze and 2 from German midfielder Nicole Rolser ensured the reds will go into the second half of the season as league leaders. Highlights can be found in the video below.
- Liverpool midfielder Amanda Da Costa writes an online blog for Equalizer Soccer which do differ slightly from the blogs she writes for the monthly LFC magazine. Her blogs are always worth a read and you can find the latest installment here: Amanda Da Costa blog: A Paris Excursion
- England’s Euro 2013 squad was announced Monday 17th June with places in the squad for 3 Liverpool players, the uncapped duo of our captain Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze and 100+ capped midfielder Fara Williams. Gemma attended the announcement at the British Museum in London and gave this interview to UEFA.com. Below are two videos, one from the announcement itself and the other introducing the squad. A noticeable and disappointing absence from the squad is Liverpool striker Natasha Dowie. Arguably the most in form attacking player going into the summer break and of course the leagues top scorer. The first game England play will be against Spain on 12th July.
- Onto more international action now, this week Wales had two games against Slovakia. Reds striker Hannah Keryakoplis came off the bench in both games. The first game on Monday finished in a 2-2 draw, while the game on Wednesday seen a 1-1 draw with both games being played in very hot conditions – 31 degrees on the Monday!
- The next red taking part in an international game this week was midfielder Katrin Omarsdottir who also came off the bench to feature in Iceland’s 2-0 defeat against Denmark. The defeat means Iceland have now lost 6 out of 7 games in 2013 so far.
- Whitney Engen’s USA team also had a couple of games in the last week, on Sunday night she was an unused substitute in their victory over South Korea and last night Whitney played the full 90 minutes as they did the double over the Korean side. During this game Abby Wambach surpassed Mia Hamm’s international goal scoring record, scoring 4 of the 5 goals during the 5-0 win in New York.
- Danielle Gibbons, Sarah Quantrill and Sam Chappell are at a 6 day England U23 training camp until 27th June, with Gibbons and Chappell part of the Team GB squad for Universiade in Russia this summer.
Another game, another team, another 4 goals scored, not a bad habit to be getting into. Liverpool made sure we go into the summer break at the top of the table with yet another emphatic 4 goal performance. Captain Gemma Bonner sat this game out through illness, Lucy Bronze partnering Whitney Engen in defence and Amanda Da Costa stepping into the role of team captain in her absence. Katrin, who missed the Everton game with a hamstring injury, started the game on the bench with Jess Holbrook in the starting 11 again. Rachael Laws our on loan goalkeeper also returning to the starting line up.
Both teams had early chances to go ahead, Liverpool almost immediately getting a goal through a Fara Williams corner then straight up at the other end a Birmingham corner was cleared by Nicole Rolser. Lucy Bronze did well all game keeping Rachel Williams quiet, pressuring her into passing the ball wide instead of shooting at goal and the resulting Birmingham cross was comfortably collected by Laws. Jess Holbrook continued her good form from the derby win and provided a great ball to Natasha Dowie who fired a shot on target but this was saved by blues keeper Mary Earps. Dowie’s next strike at goal hit the post and rebounded to Rolser who confidently slotted the ball into the net to put Liverpool in front. Birmingham equalised shortly afterwards when Kerys Harrop made the most of us not clearing the ball from a corner. Corina Schroder fresh from opening her Liverpool goal scoring account against Everton almost doubled her tally but her effort was saved by Earps. Just before half time Lucy Bronze capped an impressive first half performance with a powerful headed goal to ensure the reds went in 2-1.
With the teams back out for the second half, Liverpool perhaps spurred on by the news Bristol had beaten Lincoln meaning we had to win this game to stay at the top of the league. Rolser was pulled down just outside the Birmingham box but Fara Williams, playing probably her finest game in a red shirt yet, overhit her free kick. Dowie then almost went through on goal but her first touch let her down and the blues keeper collected the ball. Birmingham then had a free kick in a dangerous position which was taken well forcing a save from Laws. Somehow Birmingham then failed to score when a goal bound strike from Jo Potter bounced between both posts before being cleared, the travelling blues supporters thought it had gone in. Lucy Bronze continued her great performance by dispossessing Rachel Williams again and going on a run past a couple of Birmingham players into the other half. Jess Holbrook almost claimed her first Liverpool goal after a fantastic Fara Williams ball found Rolser on the right, Rolser passed it back to the waiting Holbrook who unluckily hit the post. Whitney Engen then raised a chuckle from the crowd with some choice language when she was nearly sent flying by the blues winger. Into the last ten minutes of the game, Birmingham noticeably tiring and being run ragged by our attack, Natasha Dowie took her goals tally for the season into double figures when she deflected an ambitious Fara Williams shot into the back of the net. Schroder then hit a great ball to Rolser who added insult to injury for Birmingham and scored our fourth goal of the game.
Liverpool team: Laws, Easton, Bronze, Engen, Schroder (Riccio), Williams, Holbrook, Rolser, Da Costa (C)(Katrin), Fors, Dowie (Billson). Unused subs: Gibbons, Chappell, Keryakoplis
POTM: Lucy Bronze
So that’s it, the first half of the season gone already. We now break for the European Championships which kick off in Sweden on the 10th July, the final on the 28th July. Hopefully there will be more than one Liverpool player in the England squad, Fara Williams our only player certain of a place. Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze I think have done enough to deserve a call up and hopefully their inclusion in the recent England training camp is an indicator Hope Powell has them in her plans. Another Liverpool player who has done more than enough to receive a call up is the league’s top goalscorer Natasha Dowie. I really hope England have been taking notice of her performances for us and give her a well deserved spot in the squad. Katrin Omarsdottir will likely receive a call up for the Iceland team and Louise Fors will hopefully have caught Pia Sundhage’s eye and get a call up for host nation Sweden.
Our first week back after the break will be a busy one, we host Arsenal on Sunday 4th August before our Continental Cup semi final takes place 7th August against Lincoln in a game also to be played at Halton Stadium. Then the following weekend we travel to Bristol for a crucial top of the table clash.
Thanks for reading these blogs this side of the season and for following @LFCLadiesFans on twiter. I’m away for a week now but when I come back I will be posting a mid season review on here so keep an eye out for that. Also on twitter I will be providing updates on our players progress at the Euros.
Liverpool’s final game before a two month break for the European Championships sees us welcome Birmingham City to Widnes’ Halton Stadium tomorrow evening. Birmingham have had a poor start to the season by their standards while Liverpool have enjoyed an incredible first half exceeding most expectations.
Birmingham currently lie 5th in the FAWSL table with just one win out of their 5 league games and have failed to find the net in 2 of those. Their last outing seen them beaten 2-0 at home by second in the table Bristol Academy. During the transfer window they lost striker Eni Aluko to Chelsea and are without two first team players Karen Carney and Rachel Unitt through injury. With Aluko gone and Carney out Birmingham have looked to England striker Rachel Williams to provide their goals and she has not disappointed hitting 7 in 10 games. Most if not all of the blues goal threat comes from Williams and the majority of their attacking play comes down the right through Kirsty Linnett. Blues keeper Hourihan will undoubtedly be kept busy throughout the 90 minutes. Birmingham have already qualified for the 2013/14 Champions League however they really need to target a win against us if they want to qualify again and break into the top four of Chelsea-Arsenal-Bristol-Liverpool.
While Birmingham have scored 11 goals in 10 games this season, our goal crazy reds have scored 27 in 11. Natasha Dowie of course is top scorer with 9 goals but 14 of the 27 have come from midfield showing the diversity in our team. Interesting that with Dowie contributing 9 goals (2 more than Blues striker Williams) we are not over-reliant on her to provide the goals – as Birmingham seem to be with Williams. When Williams has an off day for Birmingham they suffer, the Everton game a perfect example of this. Liverpool have scored at least once in every game played thus far this season and average just under 2 and a half goals per game. While our attack is clearly in top form our defence is a strong foundation to build upon, Whitney Engen and Gemma Bonner forging a brilliant partnership in the centre of defence and we were very unlucky to concede during the midweek derby on the counter attack. Matt Beard has said this week midfielder Katrin Omarsdottir will miss this weekends game through the hamstring injury picked up on international duty so Jess Holbrook will likely start again.
Liverpool’s first game after the break will be against Arsenal, this is the rearranged home fixture from earlier this season and will be played on Sunday 4th August @ 2pm KO. Also that week on Wednesday 7th August will be our Continental Cup semi final against Lincoln, again at Halton Stadium, 7:30pm KO.
Thanks for reading, after the Birmingham game I will of course have a match report up and within the next couple of weeks hope to have a mid season review up! Please keep following on twitter @LFCLadiesFans – despite being no Liverpool games to follow we will be bringing you updates on our players at the Euros!
Last night Liverpool Ladies claimed their first FA Women’s Super League derby victory over rivals Everton and strengthened their hold at the top of the table in style. In front of a packed Marine ground – 1,124 being the official gate number – the ladies in red ran riot against the Everton defence.
It was all change for Liverpool, both keepers were out injured meaning emergency loan signing Rachael Laws made her debut. Katrin Omarsdottir returned from international duty having picked up an injury leaving Jess Holbrook to fill her spot in the centre of midfield against her old team. Also back from international duty with the USA Whitney Engen retook her position at centre back with Lucy Bronze moving back across to right back.
For the first ten minutes the two teams struggled to find their rhythm, both trying to get a hold on the game. Everton had a couple of early chances, first a Toni Duggan strike was blocked by Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner then Laws saved well from Nikita Parris. Once Liverpool settled it was the same as the Lincoln game, Liverpool holding the majority of the possession barely allowing Everton a sniff of the ball. The reds crept closer and closer to the Everton goal, both Nicole Rolser and Amanda Da Costa cutting through the Everton defence but being offside. Bronze then hit a great ball to Da Costa but her cross was sent narrowly wide by Corina Shroder. Liverpool now with all the pressure and growing in confidence, Engen up from a corner won the ball back and put it back into the box but Fara Williams placed her shot the wrong side of the post. Rolser then had a number of chances, her first sailed over the crossbar and in hindsight could have been passed to the waiting Natasha Dowie. Amy Kane blocked Rolser’s second goal bound effort however the Everton defence then failed to deal with the ball in the box and she slotted home her second goal of the season. Dowie and Schroder were working well together on the left, shortly before half time Dowie crossed the ball to the unmarked Da Costa but the ball ran just behind her. Despite the relentless assault Liverpool somehow went in at half time up by just one goal.
Everton came out with a renewed fighting spirit in the second half, showing some of the attacking movement they did last week against Doncaster Belles. Bronze and Bonner dealt confidently with the onslaught, Gemma Bonner hit the ball up field to Dowie who went close – the ball going out for a corner. Everton cleared quickly from the corner to hit us on the counter attack, Parris’ shot was saved by Laws but straight into the path of the oncoming Jill Scott who equalised for the blues. Everton’s joy was short lived, Louise Fors continuing her fine form with a goal from just inside the 18 yard box to put us back in front. A Fara Williams free kick then was saved by Lizzie Durack and sent out for another reds corner, this time Whitney Engen taking no chances and staying back to cover the defence. Yet another Fors strike from an almost identical position was punched away by Durack but only as far as Shroder, who had gotten herself into a fantastic position to score her first goal in a red shirt. Comfortably ahead and in control of the game Matt Beard made a double substitution bringing on Becky Easton and Lillie Billson to replace Williams and Rolser, Bronze moving into midfield. Towards the end of the second half both teams had chances, Natasha Dowie’s chip was saved and up at the other end Laws kept out Everton substitute Simone McGill. With the 90 minutes drawing to a close Dowie put the final nail in the Everton coffin after Billson found her unmarked in the Everton half, she struck the ball past the unfortunate Durack for her 9th goal on the season. 4-1 Liverpool.
It’s difficult to single out just one player for player of the game, not one of our ladies put in a bad shift. Our starting back four all did well halting the Everton attacks, Bronze made more than one crucial interception, Bonner with numerous clearances which also seemed to find a red shirt every time and Schroder not just for bagging a goal but for being the catalyst for many of Liverpool’s attacks down the left. If it were based purely on the first half then I would have said Nicole Rolser but taking the full 90 minutes into consideration the POTM for me has to go to Whitney Engen. A rock at the heart of our defence, breaking up many of Everton’s attacks and keeping Toni Duggan quiet all evening limiting the number of chances she could take. This was made all the more impressive when you take into account that barely 48 hours she had put in another player of the match performance for the USWNT against Canada, playing the full 90 minutes in Toronto.
Birmingham are the next side to face our in form reds. It will be the last game before the season breaks for the European Championships, the game kicks off 7:15pm this Saturday 8th June at Halton Stadium. The match preview for this game will be up on Friday evening. Thanks for reading!
LFC: Laws, Bronze, Engen, Bonner (C), Schroder, Holbrook, Williams (Easton 81), Fors, Rolser (Billson 81), Da Costa, Dowie. Unused subs: Chappell, Keryakoplis, Riccio
EFC: Durack, V.Jones, Greenwood, Johnson, Chaplen, Scott (C), Kane (Whipp 85), Hinnigan (K.Jones 64), Parris, Duggan, Boye-Hlorkah (Magill 78). Unused subs: Brown-Finnis, Nelson, Handley, Williams.
Tuesday 4th June 2013, 7:30pm KO
Marine FC, Crosby
On Tuesday Liverpool Ladies will make the trip to Crosby to play Everton in the first league derby since Liverpool’s makeover. Liverpool have not had much luck in this fixture in the two previous WSL seasons; losing 3, drawing 1 and conceding 8 goals along the way. The good news is that 6 of those 8 goals were scored by players who have since joined the red revolution! (Natasha Dowie, Fara Williams and Lucy Bronze)
Since our last game some reds have been away on international duty. Fara Williams, Lucy Bronze and Gemma Bonner have been at a 3 day England training camp and Katrin Omarsdottir played during Iceland’s 3-2 defeat against Scotland. Also suffering defeat was reds striker Hannah Keryakoplis who’s Wales U19 team were beaten 2-1 by the Hungarian NT. Whitney Engen was the last of the reds away, she produced a player of the match display as USA beat Canada 3-0. That game took place on Sunday evening so Engen is a doubt to play in the derby.
If that is indeed the case there should be no changes to the starting line up that beat Lincoln 3-2 last Wednesday, with the more than capable Lucy Bronze filling in at centre back and Becky Easton retaining her place at right back. One player who I would like to see getting more game time is Lillie Billson. Billson nearly always comes on towards the end of a game and creates a few chances but at the moment it’s difficult to see who she would replace in the starting line up with our attacking players all in fine form. Natasha Dowie in particular is in unstoppable form at the moment, thriving under the service provided by Fors, Rolser and Da Costa. Dowie can hold up play brilliantly to bring the midfield into the attack and as a result Liverpool look dangerous on the counter attack. Louise Fors is another player producing consistently good displays, player of the match against Lincoln where she added to her goals tally for the season taking her to 4 in 10 games.
Everton despite our winter raid are a well oiled machine and will prove tough to defeat on home soil. Their last two games here in the league have ended in draws and they will be desperate to get back to winning ways. Their last WSL outing resulted in a 2-2 draw with a spirited Doncaster Belles side. They were without main striker Toni Duggan who was serving a one match ban for picking up 5 yellow cards in 8 games. Duggan’s absence was felt by the blues and she will be back to play against us. Leading the Everton attack was a lively Nikita Parris but Everton struggled getting the ball forward in the first half instead deciding to pepper the Doncaster goal with a number of long range shots. Jill Scott went closest to scoring before Jody Handley saw her goal ruled out for offside. All the goals came in the second half, Parris opened the scoring netting a fantastic effort from outside the 18 yard box however Everton twice gave up the lead to give Doncaster a well earned point. Lizzie Durack gave another convincing performance in the Everton goal while Rachael Brown is out through injury.
Both teams will be looking forward to this game and while Everton are a very good side I think now the quality in our reds side will be just enough to secure our first WSL victory over the blue half of the city. Last time we played Everton was right at the start of the season in a Continental Cup game when we were unlucky to come away with only a point. Since that game our team has grown a lot stronger having spent a lot more playing time together and we are beginning to dominate games against proven WSL sides (see Arsenal and Chelsea results for evidence of this!). Hope to see you there!