Heading into the Liverpool FC Women’s match against Manchester United on Sunday, the Reds had never beaten their rivals, much less scored a goal. Granted, the Manchester United Women’s side wasn’t formed until 2018, but it’s still not a statistic that brought much joy. It didn’t look like Liverpool would get much joy yet again after conceding in just the 3rd minute of the match and almost conceded again just minutes later. Matt Beard’s side worked themselves back into the match however, and never gave up hope. Liverpool forced an own goal shortly before the half before scoring again midway through the second half to take all three points.
Below, we take a look at some winners and losers on the night, and attempt to disentangle narrative from fact.
The Liverpool captain has been a mainstay in the side since joining in 2020. She had scored a few fantastic goals for the Reds in the FA Women’s Championship, but she had not opened her account in the WSL. That was until Sunday when she calmly volleyed home a Marie Höbinger corner kick for what would be the match winner over Manchester United. It would also prove to be the first goal that Liverpool have scored themselves against their rivals, with the first ever goal coming from an own goal earlier in the match.
The Wing Wizard got her first start since last season and reminded everyone just how much of a creative force she can be. Lawley turned defenders inside out on the regular, completing 4 dribbles in just over an hour on the pitch. She also put in some good service into the box, including the cross that was headed into the net by Ella Toone.
Sophie Roman Haug
The Liverpool striker, who has been in a hot run of form, failed to get on the score sheet against Manchester United. Despite that, she was an absolute handful in the box. She won 7 headers on the day, and her prowess in the air was lamented by Manchester United boss Mark Skinner. Her presence caused multiple defenders to be drawn to her on the corner kick that came through to the unmarked Taylor Hinds for the match winner.
The versatile Fisk has quietly been very good for the Reds since signing this summer. While Gemma Bonner has been recognized for her thumping tackles and Jenna Clark for her aerial prowess, Fisk has largely gone under the radar with all around solid play. Against Manchester United, Fisk seemingly popped up everywhere on the defensive end. She finished that match with 4 tackles won and 5 clearances. Fisk was also quite good on the ball to play it out of the back while under pressure.
Center Back Health
Matt Beard entered the match with only three healthy center backs on the senior roster. He finished the match with just two after Gemma Bonner was laid out by Rachel Williams after heading a ball clear. Bonner was unconscious for a short period of time and also sustained a facial laceration that required stitches. Bonner will join Niamh Fahey and Jasmine Matthews on the sidelines for a period of time.
From The Manager
“Obviously it was a tough start for us, we nearly gifted them a second [goal]. But I think the way we recovered and the way we grew into the game, I thought we were worthy of the three points. It’s great for us obviously to keep in touch with the top four, top five, so it was an important win.”
-Liverpool manager Matt Beard
What Happens Next
Liverpool will now go on a lengthy winter break, with their next match not slated until they face Bristol City in the FA Women’s Cup on January 14. The LFC Women will return to WSL play away to Manchester City on January 21 in another important match in the race for a European spot.