Maybe my hopes were too high over the holiday break. Liverpool Women had a good three weeks off, an actual holiday break, between matches. Three weeks to put the turmoil and distractions of 2018 behind them and start fresh. Start off on a good foot, in a way that would make Vicky Jepson proud.
Well, none of that happened on Sunday when Brighton visited Liverpool at Prenton Park and honestly, no one is surprised anymore. To be fair, we were without some pretty influential players like Rhiannon Roberts, Jasmine Matthews, Niamh Fahey, and Rinsola Babajide (for reasons not put on the internet) so this was going to be a real test for our Reds.
Naturally, Brighton started well and almost took the lead early on when Felicity Gibbons took an early run and cut inside - only for her effort to go past the post. That kind of action should’ve put Liverpool on their toes, though, and Anke Preuss was ready when needed, making an early save to whack a shot off the line.
It was Preuss who came to the rescue again seven minutes in, stretching far to block out a curled shot by Chloe Peplow, marking a corner for Brighton which was cleared easily by Courtney Sweetman-Kirk.
The Reds had a huge chance at 16 minutes on when Jess Clarke went down in the Brighton half, earning Liverpool an advantageous free kick. Laura Coombs picked out Sweetman-Kirk at the back post but the striker rushed the shot and sent it wide in one of many frustrating moments.
It took only 17 minutes from there for Brighton to take the lead. Ini Umotong let loose a fantastic effort that came off the bar and Laura Rafferty took advantage, sending the rebound to its intended place.
The Reds had another chance to make it level at 35 minutes from another free kick that was cleared but only as far as Leighanne Robe. Robe is able to get the ball into the Brighton 18 yard box and Clarke gets a touch on it, but Brighton’s keeper is able to gather it easily. Liverpool ended the half 1-0 behind.
The Red Women were ready to start the second half with renewed fervor, when Brighton scored three minutes in. A misplaced clearance fell to Umotong and while there may have been decent arguments for her offside position, she was able to run through and score on Preuss.
Liverpool’s poor luck continued throughout the second half, while they kept their heads down and kept themselves determined to get back into it. They had plenty of chances, with Yana Daniels making a ferocious run down the right only to end up on the ground in the penalty area. Again, decent arguments were made for a penalty to be given but in the end only a goal kick came of it.
(Some times bad luck comes from bad refereeing).
Satara Murray even had a close effort but it was cleared off the line and in the end, it just looked like things weren’t going to go our way. The game ended 2-0 to the visitors.
Liverpool play Yeovil Town next week on the 13th, with hopefully the rest of our squad returned. In better news, Ashley Hodson is on her way back after playing half of a match behind closed doors earlier this week and due to play a development match later this month, after being out since May of last year with an ACL injury.
If your New Year’s resolution was to support more football, half-season tickets are officially on sale for the Women’s team. The matches, unfortunately, do not sell out so think of the purchase as a direct donation to the Women’s team if you’re unable to attend any of them.
If you are lucky enough to attend, what are you waiting for???