The Liverpool FC Women continued their preseason preparations in France on Monday. The Reds took on PSG in the semifinals of the AMOS Cup. While it was still technically a friendly, it provided a good competitive venue against a solid Champions League side.
Matt Beard rolled out a very competitive starting side for the match, with Mia Enderby being given her Liverpool debut up top with Natasha Flint. Fuka Nagano started the match on the bench having just recently returned from the FIFA Women’s World Cup. One can assume Missy Bo Kearns was on the bench with Fuka to continue her Scouse lessons.
Liverpool were very aggressive with their press from the opening whistle, and did well to win the ball back in the attacking half to retain possession. It was obvious that Matt Beard has had his side working on their patterns of play as Liverpool players were moving as a unit off the ball to create passing lanes and draw defenders out of shape.
The Reds had some nice spells of possession early on which culminated with Ceri Holland sliding a pass through to Mia Enderby to run the right channel. The young forward played a nice ball across the face of goal, but her strike partner, Natasha Flint, had held her run looking for a cutback.
Despite the dominance in possession, it was PSG who opened the scoring. It came from a left-footed rocket from outside the box that beat a diving Rachael Laws to the far post.
Despite conceding, Liverpool continued to press hard and maintain possession. Marie Höbinger and Ceri Holland brought a massive amount of energy and aggressive play in the midfield for the Reds. Holland almost got the Reds on the scoreboard in the 39th minute, but her shot came off of the post.
Liverpool came out flying to start the second half, starting to show more of a cutting edge in front of goal. Some good attacking play saw Liverpool earn a throw in on the right sideline not far from the PSG box. Emma Koivisto threw the ball in to Natasha Flint, who managed to maintain possession despite a challenge as she carried the ball into the box, and Flint hit a low strike to the near post to tie the match at 1-1!
Liverpool continued to push for another goal and came close off of another set piece situation. Missy Bo Kearns earned a corner kick after a good late run into the box, and the resulting corner was flicked on to the far post for Taylor Hinds, but the wing back just couldn’t get enough on her header and her shot was denied by a diving save.
Liverpool and PSG traded chances in the late stages of the match, but neither side was able to convert. The match went directly to penalty kicks to see who would advance to the AMOS Cup finals.
Missy Bo Kearns and Gemma Bonner both sent their kicks just wide while Jenna Clark and Yana Daniels saw their strikes saved. Rachael Laws managed to make a penalty save herself, but it wasn’t enough as PSG advanced to the finals.
All in all, it was a strong outing from Liverpool despite missing pretty much all of their top choice strike force. Liverpool will face another good test on Thursday when they take on Atletico Madrid in the third place match of the AMOS Cup.