Flaherty joined the Reds from West Ham over the summer to shore up their defense in the FA WSL. Having previously worked with Matt Beard at West Ham, the signing was an optimistic one, that turned into a fairly uneasy one. Flaherty retires at 31 years old and with the all time Women’s Super League appearance record, after also winning the lot with Arsenal and Chelsea.
Her last WSL match was in December, when she would play number 177, and help the Reds to a 2-0 victory over her old club. Her last professional appearance was also in December, as a second half substitute in the loss to Manchester City in the Continental League Cup.
Gilly explained in a statement: “I’ve taken the decision to retire from professional football.
“It isn’t a decision I’ve taken lightly but one I’ve reached after speaking with those closest to me.
“Losing my dad just before Christmas has left me heartbroken – for 22 years we shared our love of football and playing-wise I don’t want to carry on without him by my side.
“Playing-wise, I know the right decision is for me to call it a day. The time is right for me to be around my family and to be nearest to those closest to me.
“I want to thank Liverpool, especially Beardy and Russ [Fraser] for bringing me to the club.
“I’d also like to thank the Liverpool fans for supporting me and taking me in.
“Even though it has not been a finished journey I’d like to think the fans saw commitment and dedication to the badge from me and I gave 110 per cent in every game.
“I also wish to thank the players for being there for me throughout my time at the club and I wish them nothing but success for the rest of the season.”
In addition to breaking Jill Scott’s appearance record, Flaherty will go down in history as scoring the first WSL goal in 2011 against Chelsea Women, after beginning her senior career with Arsenal. She would go on to join Chelsea four years later, before heading to West Ham and becoming captain.
Gilly added: “I’d like to thank all the managers I’ve played under, from beginning at Millwall, through Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham and now Liverpool.
“And to all the former teammates I’ve ever had the pleasure to share a field with and the professionals I’ve played against on a weekly basis.
“I’m grateful to have been part of an era before we turned pro, where we had to work as well as play football.
“It’s been an honour to have been there from the very beginning, to have committed my whole career to English football and to the WSL for the past 11 or 12 years.
“To have witnessed the growth and be a part of that has been truly special.
“Hopefully I’ve had a positive effect on many of those I’ve met in the dressing rooms, training pitches and stadiums along this wonderful journey.