Well, that loss is going to sting for a while. In front of over 23,000 supporters at Anfield, the Liverpool FC Women had an early goal incorrectly waved off by the lineswoman, and then the Reds failed to capitalize on a dominating opening stanza before the match settled down. After being so good on set pieces during the opening two weeks, Liverpool were undone by a corner kick, and then couldn’t find a way back through.
Below, we take a look at some winners and losers on the night, and attempt to disentangle narrative from fact.
Last season, Liverpool were almost always second best for the opening half before allowing themselves to open the game up. This year, we’ve seen the Reds much more assured and confident on the ball from the opening whistle. That has translated into putting both Aston Villa and Everton under a lot of early pressure. Liverpool were a whisker away from an opening goal twice against Everton in the opening 15 minutes.
It’s still early going, but Liverpool are looking much more steady in both central defense and central midfield. The trio of Gemma Bonner, Jenna Clark, and Grace Fisk have done a very good job of limiting clear opportunities for attacking sides this season. Against Everton, the trio always seemed to be on hand to cut a ball out or clear it away ahead of any big danger. Everton didn’t generate their second shot on target until well into the second half.
In midfield, Fuka Nagano has been very good at controlling tempo and serving as the link between the central defenders and the attackers. She also showed great passing range against Everton, spraying some really nice diagonal balls to switch the point of attack. Her role has allowed Ceri Holland and Marie Höbinger to be much more aggressive with their pressing to win the ball back higher up the pitch. Both Holland and Höbinger were very involved in generating chances off of turnovers, and both had good attempts on goal with Holland being truly unlucky after crashing a shot off the bottom of the crossbar.
The left wing back has been much more involved in both the build up play as well as generating chances this season. Against Everton, she was a constant threat down the left wing. Her pass to Missy Bo Kearns for the disallowed goal was a thing of beauty, and Hinds also earned several corner kicks with her ability to drive past a defender and force a last-ditch block to deny service.
Full disclosure, this is the sour grapes bit. Still, it’s frustrating when week in and week out we see referees take center stage in the WSL with some truly poor decisions. Missy Bo Kearns looked to be a full half yard onside for her goal in the 3rd minute that was chalked off. The center referee also seemed quite happy to let blatant fouls (by both sides) right in front of her go unpunished. Gemma Bonner was shoved down with two hands directly in the back in the play that lead to the Everton corner they scored from. The referee also did not stop play after Taylor Hinds hit the face of an Everton player with a cross at close range. Hinds stopped on the ball waiting for the whistle, but the referee called for play to continue. It was a baffling decision.
Mia Enderby’s Decision Making
Let me begin by saying that at 18 years old, Mia Enderby is a really exciting young talent that should be given the chance to play and grow. Unfortunately, part of the learning experience is making mistakes. Against Everton, Enderby got in some very good spots with the ball, but she made the wrong decision on several occasions in a short period of time that stunted the attack, including taking a dive in the box. She also had a poor turnover in midfield when trying to be too fancy that led to an Everton break. Unfortunately, these mistakes happened in a high pressure situation as Liverpool were chasing a goal. She’ll hopefully learn and move on.
The LFC Women have played at Anfield three times, with all of those matches coming against Everton. For the third time in a row, the Reds dropped to a loss despite a respectable showing in front of over 23,000 fans.
From The Manager
“I don’t think we deserved to lose the game, the officiating has had an impact on the result. I’ve watched the goal back, the player that is pressing Taylor has kept Missy Bo Kearns onside. I’m just sick to death of it to be honest & it’s not just me is it?”
What Happens Next
Liverpool will look to rebound with a trip to London next Sunday. They’ll take on West Ham side that is looking to get on track after losses to Manchester City and Chelsea sandwiched around a win over Brighton.