The Liverpool FC Women’s side looked to get back on the winning track as they hosted Crystal Palace at Prenton Park after returning from the international break. Liverpool were held 0-0 the last time out against Bristol City while Crystal Palace also drew with Sunderland. The teams were both on four points ahead of the match, sitting in seventh and eight place in the table.
Liverpool looked to be set up in a 3-5-2/3-4-3 formation for the first time this season. Rachael Laws stepped back into the starting role in net after Rylee Foster filled in for her due to injury. Niamh Fahey was ineligible to play after receiving two yellow cards in the last match. Meikayla Moore stepped in for her, but slotted into central defense rather than the holding midfield role Fahey had been playing. Rianna Dean missed out through injury, with Ashley Hodson in her place in the attack.
GOAL LIVERPOOL! The Reds got off to a dream start! In the second minute, Liverpool work the ball down the left flank through Melissa Lawley. Taylor Hinds underlapped her and received the ball just inside the box. Hinds quickly hit a low shot that beat the keeper to the far post for a 1-0 lead!
Liverpool immediately come right back on the attack. A through ball runs just too far for Leanne Kiernan and the keeper collected the ball. A moment later, Bo Kearns burst forward from midfield with the ball and hit a rocket. The keeper showed strong wrists holding the shot that was just under the crossbar.
Crystal Palace started to grow into the game a bit, and earned a free kick in a dangerous area in the 10th minute. Liverpool initially cleared the ball, but Crystal Palace held the ball in the attacking third. Aimee Everett got a shot off from just outside the box, but it was right at Rachael Laws, who made the easy save.
Liverpool off the bar! Melissa Lawley again created the danger from the left side as she dribbled past a defender to the end line in the 15th minute. She cut the ball back for Leanne Kiernen who hit the ball first time. The shot beat the keeper but crashed off the crossbar. Liverpool recovered the ball and Bo Kearns fed it to Charlotte Wardlaw, but her shot was blocked.
Liverpool put themselves in danger after a loose back pass is picked off by Millie Farrow. Rachael Laws was quick to come out and make the 1v1 save. The ball wasn’t cleared, and Laws stayed far out in her box to make another save on Farrow. Huge defensive let off from the Reds after a period of sustained pressure.
Liverpool were creating chances left, and well, left as Melissa Lawley was absolutely running the game from the left wing. She made another great run down the wing and clipped a ball to the far post. Charlotte Wardlaw snuck in from her right wing back position to meet the ball, but her looping header dropped just over the bar after leaving the keeper stranded.
Leanne Kiernan fashioned a chance for herself in the 26th minute after picking off a pass midway into the Crystal Palace half. She burst forward, splitting the defenders, but her shot from just outside of the box but put it well over the bar. Ashley Hodson had made the run on the left as an option, but Kiernan only had eyes for goal.
Liverpool fashioned a spectacular break off of a period of Crystal Palace possession. Melissa Lawley received the ball deep in her own half on the left flank. Leanne Kiernan and several other players burst forward as Lawley cut the ball inside and drove up field with the ball. Lawley played a perfect through ball for the streaking Kiernan, who centered the ball into the box. Crystal Palace defenders were able to just scramble the ball out of danger with several Liverpool players lurking.
Goal Crystal Palace. Siobhan Wilson got the ball down the field on the left flank with Charlotte Wardlaw defending. Wilson lofted a cross into the box, and the ball drifted over Rachael Laws to nestle in the net at the far post. Laws thought the ball was going over the crossbar or wide as she never really reacted to the ball at all. Completely against the run of play, but this Liverpool side has shown to give up some cheap goals thus far this season.
GOAL LIVERPOOL! Ashley Hodson, given the start in place of the injured Rianna Dean, gets Liverpool back in front just moments after Crystal Palace equalized. She received the ball in the top left corner of the box and hit a low rocket to the far post leaving the keeper flailing.
Leanne Kiernan looked to give Liverpool more breathing room. She again drove forward down the middle of the field, with Hodson making a run down the left to pull a defender with her. Kiernan hit a shot from the top of the box, but put it just over the bar.
Liverpool created another chance before halftime, but couldn’t find the finish. They led 2-1 at the break after some exhilarating attacking play.
Despite several cynical and heavy challenges from Crystal Palace in the first half, it is Ashley Hodson who receives the first yellow card of the game in the first couple minutes of the second half. She was given the card for interfering with the keeper to slow down play.
After a delay in play for an injured Crystal Palace player, the visitors put a long throw into the box. The ball got cleared to the top of the box, but a snapshot meandered harmlessly wide of the Liverpool net.
Crystal Palace looked much more composed and compact early in the second half. They did a much better job of cutting out the easy passing lanes for Liverpool, and maintained possession for a couple of spells that led to corner kicks, though nothing came from them.
Liverpool, on the other hand, looked quite sloppy with their own possession as simple touches and passes went astray. Rachael Laws played a simple pass from a goal kick out for a throw, and then Bo Kearns misplayed a ball on the touch line to let the ball dribble out for a throw herself.
Ashley Hodson was withdrawn in the 64th minute after a lot of hard running. Carla Humphrey came on in her place. Humphrey went to the left attacking role with Melissa Lawley switching to the right side.
Liverpool earned a couple of corners in quick succession. Bo Kearns delivered the first one as a fizzing cross that Leanne Kiernan sized up for a side volley. Kiernan wasn’t able to connect, however. A few minutes later Kearns stepped up for another corner. She played this one short, and then received the ball back near the edge of the box. She hit a hard cross, but it was too close to the Crystal Palace keeper who was able to hold the ball.
Rachael Laws received a yellow card for chirping at the referee. Laws stood over a through ball that had run past everyone, waiting for a Crystal Palace player to come close. Laws put her hands on the ball and started to pick it up when the Palace player poked it out of her hands. The referee somehow awarded a corner kick rather than, you know, a foul for kicking the ball out of the hands of the keeper. Laws was incensed and let the referee know.
Close from Taylor Hinds!!! A cross comes in from the right to Hinds who had gotten into the center of the box. She turned and tried to hit a shot from close range, but it was blocked out for a corner. The ball looked like it hit the outstretched arm of a defender, but the referee was not interested in calling a penalty.
With about 5 minutes left, Matt Beard brought on fresh legs in the form of Jade Bailey for Bo Kearns. Bailey dropped into a deeper holding role to help try and cut out the long through balls Crystal Palace were attempting.
Liverpool earned yet another corner at the end of regular time. Melissa Lawley drove the ball deep to the back post, and it was met by a leaping Leanne Kiernan. The Irishwoman couldn’t keep the ball under the bar and it went out for a goal kick. It was the last action for Kiernan as she was replaced by Georgia Walters.
Walters immediately went on the high press, forcing a quick kick from the Crystal Palace keeper. She showed great strength just a minute later, holding the ball in the corner while surrounded by several Crystal Palace defenders.
Charlotte Wardlaw was whistled for a fould at the very end of the four added minuted of extra time just outside the right corner of Liverpool’s box. The free kick was lofted in, but went directly through to Rachael Laws, who fell on the ball. The referee blew the whistle for full time as she punted the ball away, and Liverpool earned their first home win of the season!
The win pushed Liverpool up into fourth in the table on seven points. They are now two points behind co-leaders Sheffield United and Durham. Liverpool will be in action again next Sunday as they travel to take on Coventry United.