The Liverpool FC Women’s team continued their preseason preparations with a friendly against local rivals Manchester United. The squad had an initial closed door friendly against Leicester City last weekend, but there was no coverage or official scoring of that affair (though it leaked out that Leicester City won 6-1).
Amber Whiteley took charge of the Reds for this friendly after it was announced on Saturday that manager Matt Beard had tested positive for covid-19. With so many new signings, along with a new manager, it was interesting to see the starting line up to see if we can glean anything about positional battles. Of course, the friendly was not broadcast, so we’ll do our best to interpret what we think things looked like.
Based on personnel, the starting line up looked to be a 4-3-3. Rylee Foster got the starting nod in net over Rachael Laws. Leighanne Robe started at right back, and Razza Roberts and Jasmine Matthews were the preferred central defensive pairing over Niamh Fahey, (Meikayla Moore is just returning from the Olympics and was not available). Taylor Hinds was chosen ahead of Megan Campbell at left back.
The midfield looked to be a very strong trio of Jade Bailey, Ceri Holland, and Bo Kearns. Rachel Furness was just recently back in training, and started the match on the bench. The front three was stalward Melissa Lawley, with newcomers Rianna Dean and Leanne Kiernan rounding out the line up.
From the match report, it seemed that Liverpool were able to generate some solid chances throughout the match. Liverpool’s new number 9, Leanne Kiernan, was involved frequently. The Irishwoman forced a save just 10 minutes into the game, and she opened the scoring in the 20th minute off of a feed from Ceri Holland.
Rylee Foster denied Kirsty Hanson the equalizer right after Liverpool scored, but Manchester United manged to score two quick goals to take the lead in the 30th minute. Melissa Lawley almost got Liverpool back on level terms just before the half, beating several players before sliding the ball to Kiernan, but Kiernan just wasn’t able to turn the ball home.
Rachael Laws, Niamh Fahey, Rachel Funress, and Yana Daniels all came on for Liverpool in the 60th minute. Megan Campbell, Ashley Hodson, and Carla Humphrey also joined the fray just a few minutes later.
Campbell unleashed her long throw to create havoc in the Manchester United box. Rianna Dean managed to get onto the end of the throw, but her shot couldn’t beat the keeper. Liverpool continued to press for the equalizer, with Ashley Hodson crossing the ball to Yana Daniels, but again Liverpool couldn’t get past Sophie Baggaley in net.
The Reds finally broke through with just seven minutes from time. Carla Humphrey opened her Liverpool account with a late run into the box, smashing the ball into the top of the net.
It has not been announced if Liverpool will have any additional preseason matches ahead of their FA Women’s Championship season. If not, Liverpool’s next match will be their season opener against the London City Lionesses in August 29th.