The Liverpool FC Women are finally finally FINALLY getting to kick off their return to the WSL (don’t forget to check out our season preview for Matt Beard’s side). The initial first match of the season away to Reading was postponed due to the death of Queen Elizabeth, so now the Reds will open their return to the top flight this weekend with reigning WSL champions Chelsea.
While we all know Chelsea are (really, really) good, I sat down with André Carlisle (@838_carlisle on twitter) from We Ain’t Got No History to get a little more detail on the Blues.
Gabe: André, I know that you, like I am, are pumped for the WSL to finally get going again. Chelsea are coming off of three straight WSL titles, but have really been pushed the last two years by Manchester City and Arsenal respectively. Do you think we’re in store for another tight title race? Who do you think will put the most pressure on Chelsea this season?
André: I very much hope it’s not a tight title race, and if it is I hope it’s nothing like last season – which nearly ended me. I do think it will be Arsenal and Chelsea again, Gareth Taylor lost Manchester City’s whole midfield this summer, and while Yui Hasegawa is an excellent pickup, it’s a lot to ask.
Gabe: Emma Hays has made some big signings over the summer, adding more top-tier talent to an already loaded side. Which of the new players are you most excited about?
André: Easy: Kadeisha Buchanan. I’m still in a bit of shock that she was available and that we were able to sign her. She’s a ridiculously talented defender, great at reading buildup, aggressive to close, quick and fluid enough to step out and do 1v1 duties if need be (an area where Millie Bright struggles), and her passing range is exceptional.
Gabe: Looking ahead to the match up with Liverpool this weekend, where do you think Chelsea are the most vulnerable? Please cc Matt Beard on all responses, please and thanks.
André: Lol, if your name is Matt Beard please stop reading now, thank you. We don’t get have word on Buchanan of Magdalena Eriksson’s fitness after both having some injury worries, but assuming they’re good the best areas to test are still the fullback areas. Ève Périsset was a necessary pickup and should provide better cover, but it’s still the area I’d test on the counter.
Gabe: That should make for some interesting battles as Liverpool’s strength are in the wide areas going forward. Ok, I’m going to put you on the spot now. What’s your scoreline prediction for the match?
André: Ugh, I hate this. I’m gonna say it’s a tight 1-1 at halftime and in the second half Chelsea get a couple more to make it 3-1.
Gabe: Bonus question - What’s your prediction for the top 4 this season?
André: Arsenal have been very secretive this preseason so it’s hard to say how they’re going to fare, but if they can keep Rafaelle Souze healthy they’ll have a very balanced squad. Think I’ll go with Chelsea, Arsenal, and now that Jackie Groenen is with PSG instead of Manchester United, Manchester City by default, then a scrap for fourth between Tottenham, United and Aston Villa.
Gabe: Bonus bonus question - Can we keep Charlotte Wardlaw for real this time?
André: Absolutely not.
Gabe: Rude, but I respect that. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us ahead of the first match! And a reminder to all our readers, you can watch live Sunday on Sky Sports in the UK, and on Paramount + in the US.