Job done. Season goals completed. All that was left was to lift the trophy for the Liverpool FC Women’s team as the champions of the FA Women’s Championship. They just had to do was get through 90 minutes against Sheffield United at Prenton Park, with a club record 2,138 fans in attendance. The Reds truly wanted to make it a party, however, and piled on the goals as they continued their dominance over the rest of the division.
Matt Beard pulled no punches with his lineup, putting out a very strong side in an attack-minded 3-4-3. Yana Daniels provided width as the right wing back with Razza Roberts tucked inside as a center back. Leighanne Robe returned from injury, but started the match from the bench. Bo Kearns and Rachel Furness were the midfield pairing while Leanne Kiernan and Melissa Lawley played as the wide strikers with Katie Stengel through the middle.
Your Reds for our final home game of the season! pic.twitter.com/kzzgD1bELP— Liverpool FC Women (@LiverpoolFCW) April 24, 2022
Niamh Fahey lead the squad out onto the field to a guard of honor provided by the Sheffield United.
It was a dream start for the Reds with Katie Stengel being played through down the center in just the third minute of the match. Melissa Lawley carried the ball down the middle, drawing defenders to her before releasing the ball for Stengel to run onto before the American coolly chipped the ball over the advancing keeper to give Liverpool the 1-0 lead!
Mel Lawley was proving to be a handful early in the match, winning the ball back with a high press and then earning a free kick just outside of the Sheffield United box in the eight minute. The free kick hit the wall and caromed out for a Liverpool throw in.
Liverpool doubled the score in the 14th minute with a wonderful team move starting with Rachel Laws. The keeper played the ball to Katie Stengel, who chested the ball down under pressure and played it wide to Yana Daniels. The wing back played a sumptuous ball down the right wing to Melissa Lawley, who ran onto the ball at full speed and played a delightful first-time ball across the face of goal to meet the run of Leanne Kiernan at the far post. The Irishwoman left no doubt with her finish, powering it past the keeper! That was the second assist of the game for Lawley.
Missy Bo Kearns came close to scoring a third after being set up by Katie Stengel in the middle of the box. The Scouser hit a first-time shot with good power, but it was too close to the keeper.
There was a scary moment 30 minutes into the match as Lara Miller went flying over the advertising board and into the first row of seats as she tried to chase down a ball heading out of play. She stayed down for a couple of minutes but was eventually able to get up and return to play.
Katie Stengel took a knock on the noggin in the 40th minute and stayed down for a moment. She was able to step back on the pitch to continue a couple of moments after walking off to be checked out.
Melissa Lawley came close to completing a hat trick of assists as the first half came to a close. She went on a mazey run down the left channel, getting the ball into the box near the end line. She whipped in a driven cross that took a slight deflection off of the keeper and just narrowly avoided the sliding attempt of Yana Daniels at the back post.
Liverpool looked to get the second half in spectacular fashion, working the ball from the kickoff down the left to Katie Stengel. The forward sent a low ball across the face of goal, and it just evaded
Liverpool would not be denied just moments later. Stengel attempted to play a pass wide to Taylor Hinds, but it deflected off of a defender directly into the path of Leanne Kiernan. The striker drove forward with the ball down the left side of the box and squared it across the face of goal, this time meeting the run of Melissa Lawley for her to tuck into the net just two minutes into the second half! The players all ran over the celebrate with manager Matt Beard, whose father passed away just a couple of days ago.
Leanne Kiernan again showed off her work rate and electric pace down the left. Katie Stengel dropped deep to receive a ball and played it wide to Kiernan, who flew past a defender and got to the end line before squaring it across the face of goal. Unfortunately, no Liverpool player could get to the ball and Sheffield United were able to scramble the ball away.
Matt Beard went to his bench in the 65th minute, bringing on Charlotte Wardlaw and Ceri Holland for Leanne Kiernan and Rachel Furness. Wardlaw went to right wing back, with Yana Daniels pushing up to a wide forward role.
Liverpool put a fourth in the net just moments after the substitutions. Ceri Holland played a simple pass to Yana Daniels wide to her right, and the Belgian international delivered a cross that was met by Katie Stengel in the middle of the box to touch past the keeper!
Rachael Laws was called into action as former Liverpool player Courtney Sweetman-Kirk sent a sweetly-struck volley from just outside the box towards the far corner of the net. Laws got up and showed strong wrists to hold the shot.
Liverpool made two more substitutions in the 73rd minute. Meikayla Moore and Megan Campbell came on for Taylor Hinds and Razza Roberts.
Niamh Fahey went down in considerable pain in the 75th minute, clutching her lower back after a seemingly innocuous sequence. After receiving treatment for a couple of minutes, she stepped off the field. Sheffield United took a free kick before she was able to re-enter the fray, and the looping ball in was headed past Rachael Laws for a consolation goal.
Liverpool roared back for a fifth goal just a few short minutes after conceding. Melissa Lawley sent in an initial cross from the right, looking to add a third assist. Ceri Holland volleyed the cross off the crossbar, and the rebound came back to Katie Stengel. Instead of shooting herself, she cut the ball back, sending a defender sliding past her, then calmly played the ball back to Bo Kearns. The Scouser gave the keeper no chance this time as she thwacked the ball just inside the near post!
Liverpool made their final substitution bringing on Jade Bailey for goalscorer Missy Bo Kearns.
The Reds added a sixth goal, showing off their set-piece prowess. Megan Campbell sent in a corner kick deep to the far post where Ceri Holland was on hand to head it back across the face of goal. Jasmine Matthews could not miss with her header from close range!
Liverpool came close to a seventh goal with several bites of the apple. Katie Stengel clipped a cross in that was met with a diving header by Jasmine Matthews. The ball was well saved, but the rebound came to Jade Bailey, who saw her shot blocked as it headed towards the goal.
That was the last action as Liverpool continued their 20 game unbeaten streak in the league. Now all that was left was the matter of the squad receiving their winner’s medals and lifting the FA Women’s Championship trophy.
Captain Niamh Fahey tippy tapped her way to the front of her teammates before lifting the trophy for all to see! It was an efficient tippy tap, enough to build anticipation, but not overlong and drawn out. Wonderful from from the captain!
Liverpool will head to Lewes next weekend for their final match of the season. After that, Matt Beard and the squad will be able to fully turn their attention towards preparing for the rigors of the WSL.