The Liverpool FC Women come into their match at West Ham with a chance to leapfrog their opponents in the table. Liverpool enter the match in 8th place, with 15 points from 15 played. West Ham, meanwhile, sit one spot ahead of the Reds with 16 points from 16 matches. Matt Beard’s side have a modicum of momentum after defeating Spurs followed by a 1-1 draw with Everton that easily could have ended in a Liverpool win.
Matt Beard still has a lengthy injury list to contend with as Niamh Fahey, Melissa Lawley, and Leanne Kiernan are all still out. Shanice van de Sanden and Jasmine Matthews both continue their returns from time on the sidelines with their own injuries, starting on the bench. Beard trots out his now tried and true 3-5-2 formation against the Hammers, making no changes from the side that drew with Everton last week.
It’s a cagey opening few minutes as both teams look to gain some sort of control. Katie Stengel wins the ball back near midfield and carries it forward before picking out the run from Emma Koivisto on the right. The Finnish wing back plays the ball back central to Fuka Nagano about five yards outside the box, but the Japanese international’s clipped ball in goes too far and drops easily into the hands of Mackenzie Arnold in net.
West Ham make their first real foray deep into the Liverpool half, attacking down their right wing. Lisa Evans sends a good cross in towards the back post, and it is met by Dagný Brynjarsdóttir, but the Iceland international sends her header over the bar under pressure from Gemma Bonner.
After defending a couple of West Ham attacks, Liverpool look to break forward for their own attack. Katie Stengel shows some great footwork to hold the ball away from multiple defenders before playing the ball down the line for the run of Emma Koivisto. The wing back made a sliding cross, and the ball somehow evaded a West Ham defender and the goalkeeper, running just past the run of Yana Daniels at the back post.
Liverpool ramp up the pressure and get several opportunities in short order. Emma Koivisto got the first attempt, taking a shot from distance after spotting the keeper cheating off her line. The shot was dropping under the crossbar, but Arnold managed to palm the ball over for a corner. Missy Bo Kearns put the resulting corner off the crossbar directly from her kick. West Ham scrambled the ball away momentarily, but Liverpool regained control. Megan Campbell puts a long throw into the box and it is knocked back out to Campbell. She plays the ball back in towards goal where it finds Yana Daniels at the back post, but the Belgian puts her shot just wide from what looked like a certain goal.
Midway through the first half, and Liverpool seem to really be finding their stride. The Reds are moving the ball well, and winning most second balls to regain possession. West Ham are now looking to spring Viviane Asseyi on the counter as Liverpool pull further forward with more sustained possession.
A rare loose pass from Fuka Nagano is picked off by former Liverpool player Amalie Thestrup, who feeds the run of Asseyi. The French international plays a good ball towards the back post that Megan Campbell has to nod behind for a corner. Liverpool manage to clear their lines, but Nagano has two more turnovers in the next several minutes, gifting some sustained possession to West Ham that Liverpool manage to see out.
Liverpool look to get back on offense, and twice try hitting a deep diagonal ball from the right wing towards the back post. Arnold is on hand both times to catch the ball just ahead of Missy Bo Kearns and Yana Daniels respectively.
Ceri Holland is the first player to go into the book, earning a yellow card in the 35th minute. She put in a hard tackle, but it didn’t seem overly aggressive or late.
Liverpool with some great ball movement down the right between Fuka Nagano and Emma Koivisto. They both feed each other with some slick footwork and passing, with Nagano making a final pass to Koivisto in the box. The Finn looks to have been caught late by the boot of Asseyi and she goes down in some pain, but the referee is not interested, allowing West Ham to break forward. Liverpool recover and clear the ball out, with Koivisto going down again as she is still in pain. She receives treatment and is able to continue as the first half winds down to the last five minutes of regular time.
Liverpool loose control of the ball near midfield in their own half, and West Ham immediately knock the ball over the top to Asseyi. The Frenchwoman brings the ball down with two Liverpool defenders trying to track her down from behind in the box, but the linesman lifts the flag for offside.
Taylor Hinds is caught by a leg from behind near midfield as the clock ticks towards 45 minute. Liverpool manage to earn a throw in midway into the attacking half on the left side for Megan Campbell to hurl into the box. The initial ball is cleared, but only to the edge of the box. It’s send back in towards the goal, but Arnold punches the ball clear of the box. Fuka Nagano tries a shot from distance, but sends it over the crossbar.
Ceri Holland goes down near midfield as Liverpool break forward on the attack. Katie Stengel earns a throw in next to the corner flag on the left side and the referee goes back to check on Holland. The midfielder gets up under her own power after a minute and goes off the field as Megan Campbell again sends a dangerous throw in. The ball bounces around in the box and Katie Stengel gets flattened by a defender, but the referee blows for half time rather than award a penalty.
No changes for either side as Katie Stengel gets the second half underway. Liverpool have Shanice van de Sanden as an attacking option for Matt Beard should the Reds need some firepower.
Ceri Holland earns an early free kick down the attacking right wing early in the second half. Missy Bo Kearns puts a good ball into the box from the dead ball situation, but West Ham are able to scramble the ball away. Liverpool retain possession though, and it is played to Yana Daniels on the left side of the box. She looks to drive a ball across the face of goal, but it deflects off of a defender and almost beats the keeper to the near post. Arnold is just able to get across and hold the ball.
Liverpool keep the pressure on early in the second half, and a long throw from Megan Campbell on the right side is knocked behind for a corner. Arnold has to get above everyone to punch Missy Bo Kearn’s corner kick clear of the area. Liverpool recycle the ball and it is fed in to Katie Stengel, who takes a fantastic touch to bring it down with only the keeper to beat, but the flag goes up for offside.
Leighanne Robe receives a ball deep in her own half while under pressure, and she turns and plays the ball behind for a corner. Robe felt she was fouled, but again the referee was not interested. The corner is a dangerous one, and Rachael Laws has to get up and punch the ball clear while under pressure. Liverpool continue to defend, blocking off passing lanes before getting the ball back and moving forward into their own attack.
West Ham make the first substitutions of the match in the 56th minute. Izzy Atkinson and Emma Snerle come on for Amalie Thestrup and Melissa Filuis.
Liverpool with a nice move down the left with Megan Campbell feeding Taylor Hinds. The left wing back beats her defender and plays a low ball towards goal, but West Ham clear the ball out for a throw. Megan Campbell puts it into the box, and Fuka Nagano plays it to Ceri Holland, who lashes a dangerous ball across the face of goal. No one can get on the end of it, and the ball goes just past the far post.
Liverpool are starting to take control of the game again. With the sun low and in the eyes of Mackenzie Arnold in goal for West Ham, Liverpool work the ball down the left before Taylor Hinds feeds it to Ceri Holland at the edge of the box. The midfielder takes a touch inside before unleashing a shot, but it skews wide of the goal while Arnold struggles to see the flight of the ball.
Matt Beard brings on some fresh legs in the 63rd minute. Shanice van de Sanden comes on for Yana Daniels, while Sofie Lundgaard enters for Missy Bo Kearns. Beard also brings on Jasmine Matthews for Megan Campbell to round out the subs.
West Ham put a great cross into the box, with the ball arrowing towards Brynjarsdóttir. Gemma Bonner gets up well to challenge and gets enough of a head on the ball to flick it behind for a corner. Liverpool half clear the ball in, and Rachael Laws is able to make an easy catch of a ball back in.
Shanice van de Sanden looks to make her impact felt after coming on, running onto a through ball from Emma Koivisto. The Dutchwoman gathers the ball in full stride and tries an early shot, but the ball is over the top of the net from a tough angle.
West Ham stride forward with the ball and try a shot from well outside of the box. The ball takes a big deflection off of the back of Gemma Bonner, but the referee somehow awards Liverpool a goal kick. At least the referees are consistently bad?
Emma Arnold collects a through ball meant for Katie Stengel that had too much weight on it, and then takes a solid 40 seconds before she even considers putting the ball back in play. The referee just stands there watching the keeper bounce the ball to herself. Sigh.
Sofie Lundgaard earns a free kick by the sideline on the right side, midway into the attacking half. Gemma Bonner sends the ball into the box towards Katie Stengel, but the American is crowded out.
Matt Beard makes another change, bringing on Miri Taylor for Leighanne Robe with just over 10 minutes to play. Taylor looks to be going into an attacking role, signaling a shift in formation to a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3.
Katie Stengel gets the ball near the left edge of the West Ham box, and she twists and turns with the ball one too many times, finally turning into a defender and losing the ball. West Ham play the ball forward, and Miri Taylor puts her body into Asseyi to take a foul and break up the attack. Liverpool defend the free kick well.
The game gets a bit contentious after Emma Koivisto slides to block a low cross, and the ball hits off her knee before hitting her trailing arm that was on the ground. West Ham want a penalty rather than a corner kick, but there is no way that would ever be given. Rachael Laws gets clattered on the corner kick, but Liverpool make an initial clearance before being awarded a throw in deep in their own half with a West Ham player screaming the ball came off of Taylor Hinds last.
Razza Roberts comes on as a late sub for Emma Koivisto during the break in play. Liverpool move the ball forward well, finding Shanice van de Sanden down the right. She puts a ball across goal, but it is gathered by the keeper.
West Ham come forward for their own attack, and Rachael Laws is on hand to make a comfortable save. Liverpool loose the ball as they try to bring it forward, and Shanice van de Sanden is whistled for a late foul and shown a yellow card as the clock ticks over from regular time. Four minutes of extra time added on here.
West Ham throw bodies into Liverpool players as the Reds look to clear the ball in their own box, and the referee again swallows the whistle on a couple of obvious fouls. Liverpool do finally manage to get the ball forward for one last attack. Ceri Holland earns a throw in deep down the right flank before Razza Roberts wins aother one. The ball is put into the box, and the ball ends up going all the way across the face of goal, just begging for a Liverpool player to touch it in. No one can get to it, however, and the chance is left wanting.
Liverpool get one last crack at it as the clock goes towards the 95th minute. Shanice van de Sanden gets to the end line on the right and cuts it back to Katie Stengel. The striker gets a shot away, but it is deflected just wide for a corner. Taylor Hinds sends the ball in, but Mackenzie Arnold is able to catch the corner kick, and the referee blows for full time.
It will end 0-0, with the two teams staying put in the table. Both sides had some good moments, but Liverpool certainly will feel they had the better of the chances.