Liverpool 2 - Reading 0
Liverpool: Missy Bo Kearns 62’, Ceri Holland 65’
Liverpool are ready to take on Reading in the league as both teams try to get a bit further away from relegation. The match promises to be a good one if the previous time Liverpool played Reading is any indication. Stengel will hopefully get a couple here and given Reading is without Natasha Dowie (who has just been loaned back to Liverpool from Reading), we will hopefully see fewer goals from them.
Liverpool kick off the game with caution but control. There’s a horrible moment in the 3rd minute where Rachael Laws takes a bit too long with a ball and Reading almost manages to sneak up on her and steal the ball right at the edge of Liverpool’s penalty box. Luckily Liverpool scramble and protect themselves before Reading can really punish them for that moment of distraction.
Emma Harries has an excellent chance with a ball in that hits the crossbar in the 7th minute, and it’s looking less like the Reds are starting with caution, and more like they’re on the back foot here against 10th place Reading.
The game starts to look a bit more even after Liverpool makes some excellent crosses to move the ball forward and towards Hinds and Stengel, but Reading continues to press forward, too, and still look more dangerous than Liverpool do. It’s all very tense here at Prenton Park.
A wild scramble at the 15th minute gets us SO CLOSE to a goal! Koivisto gets a cross into the box and Jackie Burns loses control of it. Unfortunately, Stengel cannot quite make the ball go into the goal which I’ve heard is the only thing that counts in this game. They get another change when Missy Bo Kearns gets the ball right into the ball, but it goes wide.
The end-to-end football makes this a very exciting football game for neutrals. Unfortunately, I am not a neutral and would prefer if there was only one end that was seeing all the action here.
Nagano passes to Hinds, who takes an incredible run up in the 25th minute and creates a promising chance which falls short when there’s no one to pass to in the penalty area. Reading immediately responds with a shot on goal that skims the top of the crossbar. Ceri Holland gets a soft ball in directly at Burns in the 27th minute, and it feels a lot like both teams are just testing the boundaries and trying to see what will stick.
Reading get a free kick in the 30th minute when Campbell fouls Harries. It’s another mad scramble when Laws fails to gather the ball and Liverpool defense have to kick the ball out of play and for a Reading corner. Laws goes down and needs treatment after a collision. She gets back up and into position, but it’s not the most promising display from Liverpool’s defense here.
Ceri Holland goes down after a nasty collision near the end of the first half, but she manages to walk off the pitch on her own (even if she doesn’t look perfectly comfortable doing so). Reading look a bit more like the better side here, but Liverpool can edge them out as long as our players manage to stay uninjured. Unfortunately, Campbell has gone down as I was writing the last sentence, so we’ll see.
Reading get a beautiful chance in the final few minutes of the first half and somehow miss scoring despite there being every opportunity to do so. Liverpool almost get a chance as well, but Burns gets to the ball before Kearns does. The half ends 0-0.
We’ve kicked off again, and Emma Koivisto is almost immediately struck by the ball on the side of her face, but hey at least this time it’s not another player involved in the collision. Liverpool get a great effort in with a wonderful run from Melissa Lawley, who crosses over to Ceri Holland in the 50th minute, but the Reds are unable to find the back of the net.
We’re once again back to end-to-end football with both sides struggling to convert some excellent efforts. Given one of Reading’s goal scorers is currently on the bench for Liverpool right now, that does make sense.
Nagano has yet another excellent turn and cross to get the ball into Reading’s penalty area in the 55th minute. She’s had an excellent game and has been one of the most exciting players to watch today.
And a GOAL FROM MISSY BO KEARNS! A cross in from Koivisto and Kearns is denied once before she gets the ball in the goal to get the Reds up 1-0! ALMOST IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED BY A SECOND ONE FROM HOLLAND. A long throw from Campbell connects with Bonner who heads it just right for Holland to drive it home in the 65th minute.
ALMOST A THIRD from the Reds who have realised exactly what they need to do to get the game to go their way. This is beautiful to watch. Reading seem to be struggling to keep up now and the game is looking a lot more one-sided than it was throughout the first half.
Liverpool make their first change in the 75th minute with Lawley coming off for Daniels.
Reading are starting to find their feet again, but Liverpool seem to be ready for them. The Reds have been counterattacking well every time Reading takes the ball forward, and the wingers especially have been doing a very good job winning one-on-one challenges against Reading.
The pace of the game has definitely slowed down in the final 10 minutes of the game. Reading still get a chance in but Laws catches the ball and Rachel Rowe is offside on top of that.
Liverpool make another change in the 86th minute, with Kearns coming off for new signing Miri Taylor. Almost immediately after, Holland has a chance thwarted by Burns and the referee finds fault with Holland’s attempting to turn around in the box.
Liverpool’s third substitution of the game: Stengel off for Lundgaard and it does feel like Liverpool’s wrapped up the match nicely here with a much more emphatic performance in the second half than the first. The referee doesn’t seem to want the match to end and takes her time with that final whistle.
An incredible second half performance gave Liverpool a well-deserved 3 points. Whatever was said during half-time clearly did the trick and Liverpool have jumped up to 8th place above Tottenham in the league table.
Liverpool next take on Leicester City next Sunday at the same time and place. The Reds will hopefully have a better start than they did today against the bottom placed team.