Liverpool came into their final game of the season sitting third in the table, three points ahead of Sheffield United. A win or a draw against London City would see the Reds finishing the year in third in a season they hoped to get promoted right back up to the Women’s Super League (not to be confused with the European Super League).
With the Liverpool social media teams participating the the player-led blackout to protest/raise awareness for the racist (and we’ll throw in sexist) abuse aimed at players, there were no lineups released ahead of the game. Like, the Liverpool FC main webpage didn’t even post it, which would be the bare minimum you would expect from a “big club”. For reference, the Men’s team had a live interactive match day center up over 7 hours before kickoff.
To add insult to injury, the game was supposed to be streamed live on the FA Player. All other games had working streams, but the LFC game’s stream didn’t start until a few minutes into the game, so no lineup graphic. Also, according to the FA, the game was at London City’s home field of Princess Park rather than Liverpool’s home field of Prenton Park. Seriously.
Rachael Laws was back in net after Rylee Foster sustained a head injury in the last game. Taylor Hinds was on the field at her usual left back spot after having her red card for a hand ball in the dying minutes of the last game overturned. Liverpool’s captain, Niamh Fahey, was again deployed in a holding midfield role behind Amy Rodgers and Bo Kearns. Becky Jane was deployed down the right with Amelie Thestrup down the left, and Kirdty Linnett was again playing through the middle.
Liverpool were quite sloppy in the opening stanza of the game. Players were misplacing passes left and right, and were slow in their decision making, forcing themselves into pressure from the London City players.
Chance for Liverpool! Kirsty Linnett, who has been a live wire in recent weeks, received a throw in deep down the right side in the 18th minute. She beat a player on the end line and drove into the box before cutting the ball back to a wide open Bo Kearns near the penalty spot. Kearns couldn’t stay over top of the ball and blazed it over.
Liverpool began gaining some control of the game 30 minutes in. Their ball movement helped to move the ball into some good positions in and around the box, but the team wasn’t able to fashion any real shooting opportunities.
London City, for their part, were able to earn a corner and a couple of free kicks deep in Liverpool’s half as well. Like their counterparts, they were unable to really threaten.
Huuuuuge penalty shout for Liverpool missed by the referee. Becky Jane did some great work down the right side before driving a cross into the box. The ball hit a London City player’s fully outstretched hand just in front of a couple Liverpool players, but the ref failed to see the infraction.
GOAL LIVERPOOL! Just a moment after being denied a stonewall penalty, Liverpool find the back of the net in the 45th minute. Amelie Thestrup drove down the left, carrying the ball almost to the end line. She played a perfect ball back to Becky Jane in the center of the box, and the right winger calmly slotted the ball into the right side of the net as the keeper scrambled to get across! That was the last significant action as Liverpool took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
Chance for Liverpool! A little over five minutes into the second half, Niamh Fahey played a perfectly weighted through ball to Kirsty Linnett on the right. The attacker cut inside along the top of the box before driving a low shot to the near corner. The London City keeper did a great job to get down and make the save.
GOAL LIVERPOOL! Liverpool were well in the ascendancy, at the start of the second half, and were able to convery in the 56th minute. This time Razza Roberts came forward from her right back spot to play the ball into Amy Rodgers. The young midfielder hit a rocket with her first touch, leaving the keeper with nothing to do but pick the ball out of the back of the net.
Liverpool made their first substitustion in the 62nd minute as Melissa Lawley came in for Amelie Thestrup. It was a like for like change, with Lawley working down the left.
Goal London City. Just 10 minutes after Liverpool scored, London City were awarded a free kick midway into Liverpool’s half. The resulting kick was lofted into the Liverpool box, and a London City player got a head on it to put it on target. Rachael Laws did well to dive to her right and keep the ball out initially, but the rebound fell to the feet of an onrushing London City player to tap in. It was London City’s first goal since February.
Goal London City. Liverpool failed to convert on a sweeping moved, and London City immediately came back on the counter. The ball was worked down the left side before a great cross was played in. A London City attacker got the perfect touch on her header to guide it past Rachael Laws and into the far corner. The game was now tied 2-2 after Liverpool seemed to be in cruise control.
Liverpool looked to pile on the pressure to find a winner, including a chance at the death, but failed to put anything on net. The final whistle blew as the Reds finished the season with a disappointing draw after leading 2-0. Liverpool finished their season in the FA Women’s Championship in third. Hopefully they will be able to build on some good young players to make a push for promotion next season.