Another record for Liverpool Women is in jeopardy this weekend.
If she features on Sunday against Leicester City, Liverpool legend Gemma Bonner will equal Ashley Hodson’s appearances record for the Reds at 116 matches. Bonner was the previous record holder before Hodson broke it in 2021, but with Hodson now departed the club Bonner has a chance to take the record back.
Bonner rejoined Liverpool in December 2022, following a successful stint at NWSL club Racing Louisville. Before that Bonner had led the Reds to their successive league titles as captain in 2013 and 2014, spending six years on Merseyside before moving to Manchester City in 2018.
“Gemma’s always had a sensible head on her shoulders, even when she was young. I remember going with Casey Stoney to watch her many years ago when I was at Chelsea,” manager Matt Beard wrote for the club of Bonner.
“We saw her play for Leeds and then made the seven-day approach to sign her. Even then, at such a young age, you could see how mature she was.
“I just think if you look at her career as a whole and what she’s achieved at Liverpool and Manchester City, it tells you everything that you need to know about her. She then tested herself in one of the toughest leagues in the world in the NWSL and ended up becoming captain at Racing Louisville.
“Gemma is very demanding of herself and she’s definitely a student of the game. She’s been great for the younger players here since she returned to the club in January too.
“She’s just a wonderful, wonderful person, a gifted football player and I’m very lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to work with her three times.”
Bonner isn’t the only one reaching an appearances milestone as Sunday will be Matt Beard’s 150th match overall with Liverpool Women, including his time in 2013 and 2014. Captain Niamh Fahey had plenty of praise for the both of them ahead of the matchup against Leicester City.
“He’s been unreal since coming back to this club and his CV speaks for itself,” said Fahey.
“A title winner in this league twice, he’s also managed in the USA and is now back here steering the ship for us. He’s a fantastic guy and away from the football side of things, he’s a top person. He really cares about his players and his staff.
“Not many managers have reached that total in the WSL and it’s a great achievement for him and his family and one to be proud of.
“Gemma could also regain a share of the club appearance record in the WSL era if she plays and then hopefully claim it outright in the next week.
“It’s a massive achievement to be the top appearance holder at a club like Liverpool and she’s been fantastic since she returned at the start of this year.
“I’d known her through playing against her over the years but now playing with her at Liverpool, she’s a fantastic role model and leader. Again it will be a fantastic occasion for Gemma and her family, so massive congrats to her.
“Let’s hope the girls can mark the occasion with a win.”