While the results in preseason are relatively meaningless, and should be taken with a bag of salt, there is something to be said about ending on a high note. The Liverpool FC Women have played well for most of their five preseason matches, but it took until their last match up with fellow WSL side Leicester City to record their first win.
Matt Beard trotted out a side that should be considered a mostly first-choice team based on who was fit and available. The two biggest surprises were Rachael Laws getting the starting nod in net over the recently-returned Teagan Micah, and Jasmine Matthews returning from injury to start as part of a back three ahead of Gemma Bonner.
Our line-up to face Leicester City in today’s behind-closed-doors friendly pic.twitter.com/9pXn9e0AJX— Liverpool FC Women (@LiverpoolFCW) September 17, 2023
Liverpool got off to a quick start with their newest signing, striker Sophie Roman Haug, heading just over the crossbar in the third minute after a cross from Taylor Hinds. Despite the close miss, the Reds wouldn’t have to wait long to break through.
Liverpool earned a corner kick that was sent into the Leicester City box by Marie Höbinger in the 12th minute. The ball was only partially cleared to Ceri Holland, and the midfielder hit a curling shot that beat goalkeeper Janina Leitzig for the opening goal.
Midfielder Marie Höbinger continued her impressive preseason with another all-action display against the Foxes. She came close to setting up two more goals in the the first half with both chances just coming up short.
She first intercepted a Leicester City pass and immediately slipped a ball through to Haug. The striker had a good sight of the goal, but her finish came back off of the post.
Haug then created a good attacking sequence by sending a flick on the Marie Höbinger. The Austrian midfielder set up a shot for Natasha Flint, but the other Liverpool striker left the chance wanting this time, sending her strike just wide of the goal.
After creating a couple of opportunities, Höbinger had a chance herself to double the lead later in the first half. She took a cross from Taylor Hinds but sent her shot just over the bar.
In the waning minutes of the first half, Höbinger again turned provider, sending in a cross that found Ceri Holland. This time the Welsh midfielder could not put her shot on target, putting it instead over the bar.
After the break, Liverpool continued their dominant display and were rewarded with a goal just eight minutes into the second half. The chance again started with a corner kick by Marie Höbinger. This time the set piece was flicked on by Sophie Roman Haug to the back post where Natasha Flint was on hand to tuck the ball into the net.
Höbinger again was involved in attacking play as Liverpool searched for a third goal. In the 58th minute the midfielder was able to put a shot on target, but her low drive was saved by Leitzig.
Teagan Micah, who came on at the half for Rachael Laws, made a confident save as Leicester City looked for a way back into the match. She came out of her net quickly to cut the angle and was able to parry away a strong shot.
Missy Bo Kearns who entered the fray for Ceri Holland in the 65th minute, made sure to leave her mark on the match. After Marie Höbinger was brought down from behind, Kearns stepped up to the free kick. The Scouser, known for her free kick prowess, left no doubt with a fantastic strike from 20 yards out to give Liverpool a 3-0 lead.
As the match ticked over into extra time, Leicester City were awarded one last chance after being given a penalty kick. Teagan Micah saved the initial spot kick, but Aileen Whelan was able to put home the rebound to give the Foxes a goal on what would be the last touch of the match.
With their last preseason match under their belts, Liverpool will now turn their attention fully to preparing for their WSL opener away to Arsenal in two weeks time.