Liverpool FC Women 8 - 1 Blackburn Rovers Ladies
Liverpool FC Women: Babajide 10’, 33’, 61’, 88’, Fahey 16’, Charles 36’, Linnett 90’, Stewart 90+2’ (OG)
Blackburn Rovers Ladies: Stewart 17’
After their first win in the league all season, Liverpool Women are looking to keep the momentum going, bringing winning ways to the FA Cup. Sure, their only other wins this season have come in the tournament, but it just takes one loss to derail whatever they have going for them so let’s keep our fingers crossed for good performances.
Playing a home match away from the home stadium is weird enough, as the Red Women have been relegated to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium in Preston due to higher profile matches taking place at Prenton Park the day before, but here we are. The weirdness doesn’t stop Liverpool from trying to take the lead early through Niamh Charles taking a shot that was blocked, and Rachel Furness sending the rebound just too wide.
It only takes ten minutes in for Rinsola Babajide to score the first goal of the day, and what certainly won’t be hers or the Reds’ last. Charles had another cross parried away by the keeper, but the effort would fall right to Babajide’s feet who would send the ball back to it’s proper place - in the back of the net. From there, the Reds would take full control of the match, with Babajide in particular showing what she’s made of.
Captain for the day Niamh Fahey would score the second goal of the day sixteen minutes on, capitalizing on a mistake by keeper Lauren Perry. Perry, unable to control a free kick from Jade Bailey, spilled the ball and Fahey was the one this time in the right place at the right time.
Rovers would get lucky, or Liverpool unlucky (and unsurprising), to find a second through a penalty given after Jemma Purfield fouls the Rovers captain Saffron Jordan in the box. Anke Preuss made the right call but was unable to get to the right spot in time to block the shot from Ellie Stewart and Rovers found their one and only true goal of the game not a minute after Fahey.
The half would end after two more goals from the Reds, this time with Babajide making it two for her on the day so far and Charles netting a fourth for Liverpool. Furness seemed to be the missing piece to this Liverpool team, who didn’t appear to be struggling much against a fairly defensive Rovers side. Melissa Lawley and Furness herself would both miss chances later on in the half, but with a three goal lead going into the break, the Reds finally have a game that is theirs to lose.
There’s still a full second half left to play and Liverpool don’t make any changes to start off with, and why would they? Every woman on the team had fired on all cylinders and now they have quite the lead to enjoy, and defend. Thankfully, defending is one of the few things this team is pretty good at.
The first change of the Reds comes as Rachel Furness is replaced by Kirsty Linnett at the 52 minute mark, with the fresh legs continuing to help Liverpool’s dominance. Babajide completes her hat trick not long after, firing a low shot from inside the area to make it 5 to the home side.
Jess Clarke, returning after a lengthy injury spell, and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk would be the next and last substitutes to come on, with Jess Clarke a particular sight for sore eyes. Keeper Lauren Perry would have her work cut out for with the additions of Clarke and Sweetman-Kirk, even making a desperate save just after Clarke comes on to try and salvage what she can of the match.
It doesn’t last much longer, though, because Babajide scores her fourth goal of the day and the Reds’ sixth at the 88th minute, followed literally two minutes later by Kirsty Linnett’s first and the 7th goal for the Reds on the day. An own goal in stoppage time by a Rover’s defender trying to clear another Babajide shot would make it 8 for the Reds and a dominant and complete victory.
Another FA Cup win, sure against another lower league team. But four goals for Babajide is nothing to scoff at and she’s quickly proving herself as our best current player - why isn’t she starting more often again?