Liverpool 0 - 1 Everton
Everton: Finnigan 31’
The Liverpool FC Women are flying high to start the season, winning their opening two matches against teams who finished higher in the table last season, and teams expected to be in the picture for European spots. The Reds are looking to continue their momentum against struggling local rivals Everton in a Merseyside derby at Anfield. Liverpool will also be looking to erase the memory of the embarrassing 3-0 loss in front of over 27,000 fans in this same fixture last season.
Matt Beard finally has his full complement of players available outside of long-term absences Leanne Kiernan, Shanice van de Sanden, and Niamh Fahey. New signing Sophie Roman-Haug gets her first competitive action for the club after missing out the first two weeks with a broken nose. Missy Bo Kearns will continue her more advanced role to partner with Roman-Haug up top. The rest of the side is unchanged from the group who defeated Aston Villa 2-0.
#LIVEVE TEAM NEWS— Liverpool FC Women (@LiverpoolFCW) October 15, 2023
The Reds to take on Everton in the Merseyside derby:
Before the match kicks off, there is a special tribute to Natasha Dowie. She spent two stints with the club, including helping Liverpool win their only WSL titles. She retired after last season and now serves as a club ambassador.
Missy Bo Kearns gets the match underway and goes Everton left wing back Lucy Hope goes down injured within the first 15 seconds. She’s in a lot of pain and has to be helped off the field. She is replaced by Clare Wheeler.
Liverpool make a wonderful attack shortly after the restart, weaving the ball down the pitch and the ball is slipped across the face of goal by Taylor Hinds for Missy Bo Kearns to tuck in from close range. The goal is chalked off for offside, however. On the replay, it is very, very close and if anything looks to be on.
Wow, just a couple of minutes later Ceri Holland nips the ball off of a defender and immediately unleashes a strong shot. Goalkeeper Courtney Bronson may have just gotten a finger on it, and the ball crashes off the underside of the crossbar and lands just in front of the goal line and out.
Missy Bo Kearns sees a cross just outside the right side of the box blocked by a hand ball, giving the Reds a free kick. She swings it in and finds Sophie Roman-Haug, but the striker can only volley the ball well over the goal.
After a mad-dash 15 minutes that saw Liverpool attack in waves, the match settles down a bit. Everton get their first real spell of possession, and both squads trade possession back and forth as they each try build out of the back and battle the ball through midfield.
Grace Fisk plays a difficult pass for Ceri Holland to control while surrounded by Everton players, and the ball is turned over in a dangerous area. Everton burst forward, and a dangerous cross is turned behind by Liverpool. The Reds do well to clear the resulting corner kick.
Liverpool work the ball forward well, and Ceri Holland is shoved down by a defender about 30 yards from goal. The Reds try a rehearsed move to slip the ball into the channel for Sophie Roman-Haug, but it is well cut out by Everton.
Everton play a long ball over the top and Gemma Bonner gets shoved down by an Everton attacker with no call. The ball finds Nicoline Sørensen on the right, and she cuts it back after driving into the box, but her shot is blocked behind for a corner. The kick comes in, and Megan Finnigan rises above Sophie Roman-Haug to send a powerful header past Rachael Laws and into the net from close range to give Everton a 1-0 lead.
Liverpool look to get right back into the match, with Fuka Nagano releasing Taylor Hinds down the left wing. She puts a ball into the box towards Missy Bo Kearns, but it is headed back out to the left. Taylor again looks to play a ball in, and it ricochets. It looks like it went off the defender last, but the referee awards a goal kick.
As the clock ticks over 40 minutes played in the first half, Liverpool work the ball from right to left, eventually finding Taylor Hinds again. She races to the end line to put a cross in, but it is deflected out for a corner. Marie Höbinger swings the ball in, but it is headed clear by Everton as Liverpool continue to try and find a way through.
Höbinger earns Liverpool another corner just two minutes later after some aggressive play around the box. The ball in is flicked on by Gemma Bonner, and a scramble in the box sees both Ceri Holland and Gemma Bonner have shots blocked. Liverpool recycle the ball and play a dangerous ball in again, but Brosnan is able to get down and claim the ball before any of the lurking attackers could get a foot on it.
Liverpool again look threatening on the attack in extra time of the first half. Missy Bo Kearns races onto a ball down the left, but is forced to hold it up and turn it back with players in the box. She lays it back and the ball is worked around to the right where Jenna Clark makes a foray forward. She slips a pass in to Ceri Holland, who drops it to Marie Höbinger on the edge of the box. Höbinger strikes it sweetly, but it is to close to Brosnan and the Everton goalkeeper is able to make the save.
That’s the final play of the half with Everton leading 1-0. Liverpool have certainly played well enough to have at least one goal in the net, but have been denied (wrongly) by the offside flag and the woodwork.
Similar to the first half, Everton have a player go down early with Aurora Galli twisting her ankle as she slipped while trying to make a tackle. Galli was able to continue a minute later.
In the 50th minute, it is Liverpool’s turn to see a player needing treatment after Marie Höbinger was hobbled after trying to stretch and make a tackle. She was able to come back on the pitch shortly after limping off thankfully.
Minutes later Missy Bo Kearns hits the turf after a clash of heads while attempting to win a header. She pops back up without needing treatment and play resumes.
Everton win a corner after Gemma Bonner is forced to block a ball out. A dangerous set piece is whipped in and Rachael Laws is forced to punch clear. Everton regain possession and put a ball in towards the back post with a player unmarked, but the header goes thankfully wide of the near post.
Liverpool create a turnover in midfield, and Fuka Nagano quickly plays a ball over the top for Missy Bo Kearns. The Scouser attempts a quick shot from distance, but her audacious outside of the boot strike skews wide.
Matt Beard makes a quadruple sub in the 60th minute as Liverpool look to generate a goal. Natasha Flint, Jasmine Matthews, Melissa Lawley and Mia Enderby come onto the pitch. Gemma Bonner, Emma Koivisto, Missy Bo Kearns, and Sophie Roman-Haug are withdrawn. It looks to be a 4-3-3 now with Flint flanked by Enderby and Lawley. Grace Fisk slides out as the right back with Matthews stepping into the center of defense with Clark.
Liverpool work the ball forward to Mia Enderby on the right side of the box. She looks to cut the ball back and drive towards goal as the defender went past her. Enderby looks like her foot slips a bit and goes down in the box looking for a penalty, but she was never going to get that call. Honestly should have been a yellow for simulation.
Melissa Lawley drives down the center of the pitch in a 3v3 with Enderby to her right and Natasha Flint crossing over to her left. Lawley opts to play the ball to Enderby, but the young attacker can’t get much on her shot after cutting it back, and it is an easy save in the end.
Everton make a raft of changes in they 72nd minute as they look to choke the life out of the match.
Melissa Lawley has been a shot in the arm since she’s come on. Very progressive on the ball and has earned several throw ins and a corner.
Mia Enderby tries to be cute with the ball in midfield and turns it over, leading to an Everton counter attack. Taylor Hinds comes across and tries to win the ball, but is judged to have not gotten enough of the ball and too much of the player from the side and is shown a yellow card.
Liverpool look to ramp the pressure up even more, and Melissa Lawley earns a corner kick after being played down the line by Taylor Hinds. Matt Beard brings on Sofie Lundgaard for Marie Höbinger before the kick is taken for his final change. Lawley sends the ball in after the substitution, and it finds the head of Jenna Clark, but the towering defender can only put it wide of the net.
As Liverpool press forward, they get exposed on the counter by Everton. A shot by Katja Snoeijs comes crashing off the crossbar to the relief of the Reds.
Something happened on the pitch resulting in a yellow card to Everton, but we’ll never know what it was due to the broadcast deciding to show a multitude of slow motion replays while play was going on.
Liverpool earn a free kick on the right wing in the 88th minute. Ceri Holland lofts it in, and the ball is knocked back to Sofie Lundgaard. The midfielder hit a volley that was blocked out, but only to Natasha Flint. The striker took a follow up shot, but it skews well wide of the far post.
Heather Payne takes a ball to the chin from close range, and Liverpool play on with the referee allowing play to continue. Hinds puts a ball in, and again it’s Lundgaard on the spot to hit a volley, but it goes over the bar. The Everton players surround the referee, incensed at play not being stopped for a head injury. Everton keeper Courtney Brosnan is booked for dissent. Would have certainly been a controversy if Liverpool had scored there.
Fuka Nagano whips a ball in towards Melissa Lawley, and it is knocked behind off the knee of a defender. The referee yet again misses the clear touch and awards a goal kick.
Grace Fisk lofts a ball forward, and it is flicked on by Ceri Holland to Tash Flint on the left. She hits a shot that clears the goalkeeper, but goes just skims the top of the crossbar.
Last gasp for Liverpool with Sofie Lundgaard playing a perfectly weighted ball for Mia Enderby. Everton touch it behind for a corner, and Rachael Laws comes up. The ball in is flicked on towards the back post, but it again goes just wide of the far post on the final play of the match.
Liverpool will certainly be frustrated to have an opening goal wrongly chalked off, but they had plenty of time to find another and just couldn’t get anything to stick. After an opening 15 minutes of dominance, Everton got themselves back in the match and scored from a set piece. It’s the first loss of the season, and even stings more to have it to their local rivals at Anfield.