The Liverpool FC Women’s long preseason continued today with another surprise friendly against Blackburn Rovers. Blackburn finished 9th of 11 in the FA Women’s Championship last season, sitting 21 points behind Liverpool in the table.
Much like the friendly against Celtic last week, the match was announced just a few hours before kick off. This time, however, the LFC Women’s social media accounts were kind enough to grace us with a line up.
With a full two weeks left before Liverpool’s first competitive match, it’s hard to read too much into the line up. Rachael Laws got the start in net this time around, with her and Rylee Foster seeming to swap starts this preseason. Hannah Silcock, a 16 year old Academy player, got the start in central defense with veteran Niamh Fahey. Rachel Furness continued her return from injury with a start in midfield. Based on the personnel, it could have been either a 4-3-3 with Jade Bailey as a single pivot or a 4-2-3-1 with Bailey and Ceri Holland as a double pivot with Furness playing in the hole.
Of course, the game was not shown and Liverpool did not provide any sort of updates or analysis, so we’ll never know. All we got was a five sentence match report, which was one sentence more than we got for the previous match at least. The Blackburn Rovers account did provide regular updates, albeit with an understandable focus on their own team, so we can at least attempt to suss out some details.
Liverpool started the game well, controlling possession in the early goings. Despite seeing most of the ball, Liverpool struggled to create clear cut chances. It was Blackburn how had the first opportunity. Ellie Leek sent a corner kick into Liverpool’s box, but Rachael Laws was able to make the save when the ball was headed towards the net.
Both Liverpool and Blackburn generated chances before the half. Melissa Lawley sent a free kick over the bar for the Reds in the 34th minute before Leanne Kiernan broke free in the 39th minute, but her shot went just wide of the post. The teams finished out the first half knotted in a goalless draw.
Liverpool started the second half strong, again maintaining the ball but unable to break through Blackburn’s defense. It was the Rover’s that would break the deadlock in the 58th minute. Rachael Laws saved a shot by Annabel Blanchard but could not hold the shot. The ball rebounded into the path of Ellie Leek, who tucked the ball into the net to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Liverpool looked to level the score in the 64th minute. Rachel Furness hit a curler from the edge of the box, but Eleanor Heeps was able to make the save to keep Liverpool off the score sheet.
Just two minutes later, Blackburn doubled their lead. This time Milly Roberts whipped in a cross to Megan Hornby, who was able to bring the ball down and slot it into the corner of the net.
Liverpool made a late push to get in the goals, but were unable to beat Eleanor Heeps in net. The match finished with the visitors winning 2-0.
Liverpool may or may not be back in action before their league opener against the London City Lionesses on August 29th. I’m sure we’ll find out a few hours ahead of time if they do play again.