Liverpool Ladies began their title defence with a battling performance against WSL newcomers Manchester City on Thursday night.
Liverpool began the first half attacking with intent, enjoying the majority of possession and chances. Fara Williams seen a couple of long range efforts go wide before putting a great free kick into the 18-yard box, unfortunately Lucy Bronze couldn’t control her header.
Gemma Davison was a stand-out performer, making a number of dazzling runs forward and impressing the 1500 strong crowd at the Select Stadium. One of those runs seen the winger cut in from the left but her strike hit the side netting.
In the 25th minute Liverpool had the ball in the back of the net, Lucy Bronze intercepting the blues attack and clearing the ball to Davison. Manchester City’s keeper attempted to clear, hitting Kate Longhurst who scored. A controversial decision from the referee to disallow the goal for handball, television replays look as though the ball only hit her chest. The Liverpool Ladies striker also picked up a yellow card.
Following the disallowed goal Liverpool struggled to regain their composure going forward, new goalkeeper Libby Stout impressed keeping the reds in the game with a string of saves. Bravely coming off her line to punch away corners and commanding her box well.
Into the second half again it was Liverpool with the majority of chances: Longhurst and Natasha Dowie combined well with the latter putting in a great cross, Longhurst shooting just wide. Gemma Davison then had a strike cleared off the line and seconds later having another goal bound shot put out for a corner.
Despite the onslaught Liverpool just couldn’t seem to score and City began to get back in the game, a defensive change saw Becky Easton replace Martha Harris at right-back as Matt Beard looked to tighten the defence.
Many of Liverpool’s attacks begin from the back, in the 70th minutes Natasha Dowie finally broke the deadlock to open the scoring after an inch-perfect ball forward from Lucy Bronze. Liverpool’s number 9 was the WSL’s Player of the Year last season as well as the golden boot winner, this season Dowie now has 2 goals in 2 appearances following her FA Cup strike last weekend.
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) April 17, 2014
After the goal Manchester City rarely threatened with Liverpool taking control and comfortably seeing the game out.
Liverpool’s Player of the Match as voted for by followers of @LFCladiesfans on twitter was unanimously Libby Stout, a fine display between the posts for the American’s WSL debut.
Liverpool Ladies: Stout, Harris (Easton), Bonner (C), Bronze, Schroder, Omarsdottir, Williams (Dale), DaCosta, Davison, Longhurst, Dowie
Manchester City: Worrall, Marsh (Harding), Nightingale, Houghton (c), Lipman, Holbrook, Scott, Hassett, Christiansen, Johnston (Flint), Duggan
With the first round of Women’s Super League games now played Liverpool sit second in the table on goal difference behind Chelsea Ladies. Liverpool travel to Chelsea on Sunday in the first top of the table clash of the new season! The game will not be shown live on TV but you can follow @LFCladiesfans on twitter for updates from the game.