The men’s team may have been getting ready for the end of their season, whereas the Ladies were meeting Reading at their Madjeski Stadium. Hoping to capitalize on the momentum from a mid-week win against Manchester City, Liverpool faced a Reading team armed with former Reds like Fara Williams and Natasha Harding.
Unfortunately, it was all too much for the Reds.
Liverpool went down just four minutes in after a goal from Brooke Chaplen outside the box. It only got worse from there when Siobhan Chamberlain was tested two more times, just to keep the Reds in the game.
It didn’t take much longer for Liverpool to try and take advantage of the match and tip it in their favor, pushing forward. Alex Greenwood nearly added an equalizer when she finally broke through Reading defenses, but saw her shot saved by ‘keeper Grace Maloney.
It was then Laura Coombs’ turn to try and set things right for the Reds with a rocket from distance, but it probably did more to hit the stands than the net. Reds went into the break down by one, all their dominance and shots for naught.
It was pretty clear that the loss of Ashley Hodson earlier in the week to injury was felt in the squad as they were unable to make much more of other chances. Bethany England can only do so much, after all. The Reds continued to press for an equalizer in the second half, but of course opened themselves up to more attack. Reading found a weakness at 73 minutes when Chaplen again scored on a Laura Bruton throughball to make it 2-0 for the home side.
England very nearly cut the deficit in half with a frantic effort going just wide, as well as Chaplen searching for a hat trick on the other end of the pitch. That effort ended up hitting the bar but it wasn’t without a moment of panic from Chamberlain.
Reading officially put the game to bed at 80 minutes on when Lauren Bruton put the goal home. Former Liverpool skipper Fara Williams almost made it four in stoppage time with a 25 yard curler but it was thankfully gathered by Chamberlain.
The win, seen in front of just less than 1,400 supporters, all but guaranteed a top-four finish for Reading, putting them just a point behind second place Manchester City and keeping Liverpool in fifth. All efforts turn to hosting Chelsea next week at Prenton Park in the last match of the FAWSL season.
Manager Scott Rogers spoke following the match, regarding their performance: “We’re very disappointed with the result. We’ve almost gone from elation after our win against City in mid-week to deflation after the defeat here.
”We’ve got a down group in the changing room because the game wasn’t really a representation of what we’re about. We didn’t do well enough in possession and we didn’t work hard enough out of possession.
“We only had two days’ turnaround to prepare for the game and it’s not an excuse because maybe we could have done more as a group of staff and players to prepare for the game.
“The fans that travelled all the way down here were terrific and unfortunately we’ve not put on the same performance as we did against Manchester City the other night.
“Reading are very well-drilled and they’ve got some excellent professional players.”
With an eye on the end of the season, limping to the finish line much like the men’s team did on Sunday, Rogers continued: “We’ve now got over a week to prepare for the Chelsea game.
“We know it’ll be a really tough game as they will most probably already be champions by then, but we’re at home and we know that we are capable of playing well enough to get a result against them.
“We’ve got to reflect on our performance and work on the things that we need to put right before next week.
“I think it’ll help us as a group not having a game in midweek as it’ll mean we have the best possible preparation for Sunday’s game.
“Obviously Chelsea are playing during the week, so maybe they will suffer from what we’ve suffered from today, when they only get a couple of days to prepare for the game compared to us who have over a week to get ourselves ready.”