No shortage of frustration this weekend as the Liverpool Women met up with rivals Manchester City on Sunday at home in Prenton Park. Another team that benefitted from the gutting of Liverpool’s previous squad, Manchester City were unfortunately the better side, defeating the Reds by 3.
There were a couple changes to be made for Liverpool, as they went into the match without attacker Jess Clarke but Anke Preuss able to return to her position between the sticks after an injury spell. City, on the other hand, fielded former Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner and former Liverpool player and top scorer Caroline Weir, just to make things especially difficult for our new Reds.
The first half was full of promise for Liverpool as Preuss held her ground spectacularly early on, making a save at eight minutes in to keep City’s Jennifer Beattie from heading in a corner. Sophie Bradley-Auckland was a particularly vital piece of the defense as she was able to contain strong threats from Weir and Bonner, as well as Jill Scott.
Scott herself fired a good opportunity for the visitors from close range, just to have it go over the bar. New manager (I love saying that) Vicky Jepson was forced to make a change early as well, with Niamh Charles unable to continue and bringing on Kirsty Linnett in her stead around the half hour mark. Weir continued to find space to exploit for City and continued to be denied by Preuss, including a save at the near post to keep the visitors from taking an early lead.
The first half ended all square and in truth, a positive sign for Liverpool after the battle that City had presented for them. The Reds even came close with a free kick at 40 minutes in with Laura Coombs swinging it in and Niamh Fahey catching on, only to have her effort blocked. The rebound almost fell to Yana Daniels but City were able to clear it through a mess in their own box.
And then the second half started and Liverpool seemed to have completely lost their heads. While a City chance was calmly dealt with by Bradley-Auckland and Fahey early on, it was Fahey that took an unfortunate clearance and put the visitors ahead by mistake. From then it was game on for City and things went from bad to worse.
Nikita Parris caught the Reds defense flat-footed around the hour mark and caught Preuss by surprise in the process, making it 2-0 to the visitors without a chance to react. Eight minutes later City went close to making it 3 when Steph Houghton’s free kick had the bad luck to hit the underside of the bar and not clear the line. Houghton’s bad luck continued when she had a similar situation happen five minutes after that, with another free kick hitting the back post - just on the wrong side.
City’s win became complete when they won a penalty through contentious circumstances and Nikita Parris scored her second of the day to make it 3-0 to the visitors.
A hard afternoon for our Red Women against a very tough side but there was plenty to be proud of in the end and loads of positives to take away. Liverpool Women have a break next weekend and are back in action at Bristol City on November 17th. If you’re able, purchase tickets here and support our Reds.