For the third weekend in a row, the Liverpool FC Women kicked off at the same time as the Men’s team. This time, however, both squads were playing away to Crystal Palace. Matt Beard’s side came into the match with their focus securely on continuing their march to promotion by winning the league after dropping a hard-fought 1-0 loss to Tottenham in the quarterfinals of the FA Continental Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Unfortunately for Beard, he was missing some of his key players through injury and covid. Ceri Holland tested positive last week, and was still in quarantine, while Jasmine Matthews was out with a hamstring issue. Unfortunately, her injury is more sever than initially believed, and she will be out for quite a while. Melissa Lawley also missed out with a heel issue.
Injury update from Matt Beard on today’s absentees.— Caoimhe O'Neill (@CaoimheSport) January 23, 2022
Ceri Holland will be back in training next week after recovering from coronavirus. Mel Lawley has a heel issue and will miss 1-2 weeks. Jas Mathews is out for 6-8 weeks with a hamstring injury.
Reserve goalkeeper Charlotte Clarke was also not available, leaving Liverpool with no back up designated keeper on the day, and Matt Beard only had 5 subs available off of the bench. With the deepest squad in the league, however, Matt Beard was able to put out a very strong side, including Katie Stengel to play with Leanne Kiernan up top.
Liverpool started the game brightly, with Rachel Furness having a ball cleared off the line before Leanne Kiernan pushed a shot wide in the opening few minutes. Kiernan again got on the end of a move in the eighth minute after a cross from Razza Roberts, but the Irishwoman out her header just wide of the post.
Liverpool didn’t have to wait long to break through, however, and it was Yana Daniels who opened the scoring. The Belgian wide forward latched onto a through ball from Rachel Furness, and slotted it home in the 15th minute to give Liverpool the 1-0 lead!
Leanne Kiernan came a whisker from scoring just two minutes later, sending a shot from distance crashing off of the crossbar. While Liverpool’s leading scorer was unable to find the back of the net, the new woman in town, Katie Stengel, got her second goal in her second league game in a row. She blasted home a left-footed shot from a tight angle in the 21st minute to give Liverpool a 2-0 lead over the hosts.
Liverpool continued to dominate the first half, and got a third goal in the 32nd minute. It was Yana Daniels again who found the back of the net, this time heading home a cross from left wing back Taylor Hinds for a 3-0 lead!
Liverpool didn’t sit back in the second half despite their commanding lead, and almost capitalized on a couple of set plays. First, Megan Campbell sent a signature long throw into the mix, but Rachel Furness headed wide of the post. Just a minute later, Taylor Hinds sent in a free kick that was knocked on by Katie Stengel to Niamh Fahey, but the Liverpool captain saw her finish go over the bar.
Matt Beard made his first change in the 64th minute, bringing on holding midfielder Jade Bailey in place of Leanne Kiernan.
Liverpool netted a fourth goal just minutes later. Missy Bo Kearns sent in a set piece delivery that found Rachel Furness, and the Norther Irishwoman smashed the ball past the keeper!
Katie Stengel showed that she can play provider as well as goal scorer in the 70th minute. The American striker played in Bo Kearns, but the Scouser’s shot was saved by the Crystal Palace keeper to deny Liverpool a fifth goal.
Crystal Palace made a good foray forward, looking to break through to take away Liverpool’s clean sheet. Thankfully, Megan Campbell was on hand to make a key challenge to put the ball out for a corner kick.
Razza Roberts got into the action in the 77th minute, but her shot smacked off of the crossbar.
Matt Beard brought on Meikayla Moore, Carla Humphry, and Ahsley Hodson in the 78th minute. Leaving the field for the Reds were Megan Campbell, Missy Bo Kearns, and Yana Daniels. Charlotte Wardlaw was introduced in the 81st minute for Razza Roberts as Liverpool saw out the rest of the game for a 4-0 win!
Liverpool maintained their seven point lead at the top of the table as London City got a late winner to keep Liverpool from pulling further away. Liverpool will be in action again next weekend, hosting Lincoln City in the fourth round of the FA Women’s Cup.