| Sunday, November 17th |
FA Women’s Super League | Anfield
3PM GMT/10AM EST
This weekend marks the first annual Women’s Football Weekend, as the FA WSL aims to continue to build on the success of the Women’s World Cup this past summer and use the new interest in the women’s game to grow attendances across the league. Liverpool Women play Everton Women in Anfield for the first time ever, a landmark for the clubs and the league itself. A lot of what both clubs have done to capitalize on the success of the summer has been minimal, and Everton have already leapfrogged Liverpool in more ways than one.
If you’ve been following the FA WSL at all this season, it’ll come as no surprise to you that Everton have been doing quite well. They currently sit fifth on the table, whereas Liverpool (who have yet to win a game in the league), sit in last place at 12th. They were able to strengthen their squad over the summer, and have enjoyed some really good results as an effect. Most of the league is experiencing a post-Women’s World Cup boost, which is great, and that extends to Everton. This match in particular is “sold out” with all allocated tickets and space in Anfield spoken for by fans, which could easily be estimated at nearly half of the stadium capacity.
One thing to look out for will be Everton’s top scorer Chloe Kelly’s absence. Having received two yellows in their Continental Cup match against Manchester United, Kelly is banned from this match and will be a huge miss for the Toffees going into this. Everton don’t necessarily have a lack of talented strikers, as this gives manager Willie Kirk a chance to bring in Simone Magill or Lucy Graham in Kelly’s place.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Preuss; Robe, Fahey, Bradley-Auckland, Jane; Rodgers, Roberts, Murray; Clarke, Sweetman-Kirk, Charles.
Liverpool, on the other hand, are experiencing a terrible season and will be looking to get their first win in the league tomorrow. Playing a historic game at Anfield surely will be the boost that these women need to get out of the relegation zone. Liverpool’s trouble haven’t exactly been a lack of talent, either, but just a very thin squad as the club are still rebuilding from the devastation last season.
Things can only get better as our midfield maestro Christie Murray has returned from injury and is eager to make her mark on the pitch. Murray had a hat trick of assists last season and has already looked close to her old self as she tries for ambitious free kicks in last week’s match. Linking up with strikers Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, a former Blue herself, could prove to be a lethal touch that the Reds have been lacking this season.
Hopefully the sell out crowd will carry over to Prenton Park for the rest of the season. The post-World Cup boost is real, though, as Liverpool have been averaging almost double their attendance this year, going from ~500 to ~1100. The Reds had one of the lowest attendances in the league last season and having the stadium on the other side of the Mersey from Anfield certainly doesn’t help things, but exposure to the Women’s team to many of our other fans that only go to Anfield just might.
What the Managers Had to Say
Vicky Jepson: “We need to make sure we are really clear in all of our roles and responsibilities and also understand how much derbies mean to this club. In these games you do need to bring that extra 10 per cent to your game and make sure when that final whistle goes you have left absolutely everything on that pitch.”
Willie Kirk: “We have to play the situations. If there is space in behind, then use the space in behind. If there is space in between the lines, then use that. We have got intelligent players who will find spaces on the pitch.”
Kickoff is set for 3PM GMT/10AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.