Liverpool 4 - 0 Brighton
Liverpool: Bonner 27’, van de Sanden 43’, Holland 63, Roman Haug 90’+2’
Liverpool have had a strong start to the WSL season, but they come into the match on the heels of losing two matches last week. The Reds were thumped by Chelsea in the WSL last Saturday before dropping another tight match in the Continental Cup to Manchester United.
Liverpool look to get back on track against a Brighton side who have proven to be quite dangerous on their day. The lost to Arsenal in the league last weekend, but they knocked off Manchester City and drew with Manchester United earlier in the month.
Matt Beard gives Teagan Micah her first WSL start, relegating Rachael Laws to the bench. Up top, Shanice van de Sanden is given a start after missing training and a match earlier in the week with her partner giving birth to their first child (congrats!!!).
Before the match kicks off, Gemma Bonner is recognized for becoming the LFC Women’s record holder with number of appearances in the WSL era. With the start today, Bonner has reached 135 appearances for the club.
Record holder for the most appearances for The Red men, Ian Callaghan presents Gemma Bonner with a commemorative shirt celebrating her record number of appearances for The Red women ♥️— Liverpool FC Women Supporters Club (@LFCWSC) November 26, 2023
RED TOGETHER ❤️ pic.twitter.com/1Plg1Xuste
Liverpool get off to a bright start, with Shanice van de Sanden creating several early opportunities with her pace and her crossing. Brighton show they will be a threat on the counter, and Teagan Micah makes a great save on full stretch to turn a deflected shot behind for a corner.
The Liverpool goalkeeper has had some important moments through the opening 10 minutes. After making her first save from a deflected shot, Micah did well to get to the near post to block out a scrambled shot from a corner before then doing well to track and tip over a cross that drifted goalward.
The match has been quite open through the opening 15 minutes, with both squads using pace down the flanks generating multiple corner kicks for both teams. Brighton have had the more threatening of the set pieces, forcing Gemma Bonner to deflect a ball off the line and Teagan Micah to catch a snap header on the line.
Brighton are pressing high and Liverpool are making some sloppy passes that lead to turnovers as the Reds look to play it out of the back. Taylor Hinds and Grace Fisk have both had some wayward passes picked off on the left side that have provided Brighton opportunities deep in the Liverpool half. Brighton very much on top midway through the first half.
GOAL LIVERPOOL! The Reds fight there way back into the match with a nice spell, with Shanice van de Sanden again being the threat. She earns a corner kick in the 26th minute, and Marie Höbinger sends in a delicious delivery that is flicked into the far corner by the head of Gemma Bonner! A big goal on a big day for the defender to give Liverpool the 1-0 lead.
Scary moment for Ceri Holland with 10 minutes left in the half. She goes up to challenge for a header around midfield and stays down prone after and the match is stopped for her to receive treatment. The replay doesn’t show any big collision, and the midfielder is checked out and able to return after a minute on the sideline.
Liverpool come close to doubling their lead in the 38th minute. Another great delivery from a corner kick by Marie Höbinger finds Ceri Holland unmarked at the back post. The Welsh midfielder puts her shot just on the wrong side of the near post, leaving the chance begging.
GOAL LIVERPOOL!!!!! It’s a big day for big occasions, with Shanice van de Sanden getting the second goal for the Reds shortly before the half. Liverpool break with Sophie Roman Haug driving down the center of the pitch, drawing defenders to her. She releases Shanice van de Sanden to her right, and the Dutch international takes a touch before slamming a hard shot past the goalkeeper! She immediately wheels away and does the rock-the-baby celebration in honor of her new child!
Brighton look to claw a goal back before the half, and Teagan Micah makes two big saves to deny the Seagulls. Micah has been brilliant in net with her reaction saves.
The referee blows for halftime, and the Reds head to the locker room with a 2-0 lead. Liverpool weathered early pressure from Brighton and then took control of the match midway through the half outside of a couple of late chances.
Brighton make a change to start the second half, bringing on Lee Geum-min in place of Jorelyn Carabali. With the change in personnell, Brighton change their formation from a 3-5-2 to a 4-3-3.
After a couple minutes of early pressure from Brighton, Liverpool again take control of the match. They have a sustained spell of possession in the Brighton half, with the ball in and around the Seagulls box for a solid five minutes though nothing comes of it.
The match has become stretched again, with both sides streaming forward on the counter midway through the second half. Definitely feels like there are more goals in this match.
GOAL LIVERPOOL!!! Just as I say that, Liverpool defend a corner and burst forward on the counter. Taylor Hinds feeds Marie Höbinger down the right channel, and the midfielder immediately drives forward before releasing Sophie Roman Haug in the box. The runs towards the endline, but the Norwegian forward doesn’t give up on it and gets her foot around it to pop the ball up to Ceri Holland to head into an open goal! It’s hard to tell if the ball went fully over the end line or not, but there is no VAR and the goal will count.
So close for a brace from Shanice van de Sanden! Liverpool win the ball in midfield and again stream forward with pace. Marie Höbinger slides the ball to Shanice van de Sanden, and the forward fires the ball on net. Sophie Baggaley makes a brilliant save to deny the goal, however.
Just a couple of minutes later, Shanice almost does it again. She tracks down a ball over the top and shows great strength to carry the ball forward with a defender pressuring her. She gets a shot off while under pressure, but it goes wide of the net. That’s the last action for van de Sanden as she is replaced by Leanne Kiernan in the 72. There is a huge round of applause for Shanice as she exits the pitch.
Leanne Kiernan immediately gets into the action, showing her own great turn of pace to carry the ball past a defender down the right wing. She plays a dangerous low ball in for Sophie Roman Haug, but the Norwegian’s sliding attempt at the near post goes wide.
Kiernan again shows how dangerous she can be. Marie Höbinger plays the ball for the Irish striker to run onto down the right and Kiernan gathers the ball in full strike before unleashing a fierce strike. The ball is touched onto the top of the crossbar and out of play by the goalkeeper, but the referee awards a goal kick.
Matt Beard makes another change in the 82nd minute. Emma Koivisto makes way for Lucy Parry with the match seemingly well in hand.
Parry jumps right into the action, combining with Marie Höbinger down the right. The young wing back sends a great cross into the box, and Leanne Kiernan leaps to meet it, but her header goes right at the keeper for a fairly comfortable save.
A final raft of changes comes on for Liverpool as the match enters the final few minutes. Niamh Fahey, Missy Bo Kearns, and Sophie Lundgaard come on for Jenna Clark, Marie Höbinger, and Ceri Holland.
As Brighton desperately throw bodies forward in search of a goal, Liverpool have a couple of great opportunities on the counter, lead by Missy Bo Kearns and Leanne Kiernan. In both instances, Kearns carries the ball down the right channel with Kiernan to her left. The first time Kearns holds the ball just a little too long before playing the ball across to Kiernan, and the angle on the ball is too flat and hit too hard for Kiernan. A couple of minutes later, Kearns again steams down the right with Kiernan to her left. This time, Kearns takes it herself instead of passing and drives a shot over the goal.
GOAL LIVERPOOL!!! Sophie Roman Haug finally gets her goal after assisting two. Missy Bo Kearns starts the counter, and she sends Leann Kiernan clear down the right channel. Kiernan gets to the end line and cuts the ball back perfectly for Roman Haug to slam into the net from the center of the box to give Liverpool a 4-0 lead.
And that’s it! Liverpool see it out to earn all three points yet again at Prenton Park.
What a way to respond after a week of difficult results. On a day marked by big occasions, the Reds showed up to earn a big win ahead of yet another international break.