Rinsola Babajide scored four and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk netted a hat-trick as the Liverpool FC Women sealed an 8-1 win over Rangers to round off pre-season.
The Reds have enjoyed a productive summer preparing for the 2019/20 campaign, as they joined the men’s first team in the United States for the tour in July.
Vicky Jepson is aiming for an improvement on last season’s eighth-placed finish in the Women’s Super League, and her side are certainly more settled than this time last year.
Liverpool hosted Rangers at Prenton Park in their final friendly of pre-season, and signed the summer off in style with an eight-goal rout.
Babajide got the Reds off the mark early on after a smart pass from new signing Jade Bailey, before the 21-year-old doubled the lead from Sweetman-Kirk’s cross in a well-worked move on 12 minutes.
Rangers stopper Khym Ramsay was forced off through injury soon after, and without a backup on the bench, defender Ellis Dalgliesh was left to take over the gloves.
Dalgliesh had conceded within three minutes, with Sweetman-Kirk scored her first of the day after combining again with Babajide in attack, and though the stand-in ‘keeper made a good save soon after, Jepson eventually allowed Anke Preuss to step in for Gers.
Preuss then switched with Fran Kitching at the break, but not before Sweetman-Kirk netted another and Hannah Robertson scored a consolation for Rangers.
Kirsty Linnett continued the goals after half-time, before a hat-trick goal from Sweetman-Kirk—powering home the rebound after Kitching saved her penalty—and Babajide’s third and fourth of the afternoon.
Babjide’s final effort was a brilliant long-range strike which should give her confidence heading into Liverpool’s WSL opener at home to Reading on September 8.
“From the start, getting everyone knowing each other, and getting a good team bond, that’s really important for the continuity all the way through the season,” last season’s top goalscorer, Sweetman-Kirk, told This Is Anfield in July.
On her hopes for the campaign, the 28-year-old explained: “Realistically, where we are, [the target is] mid-table.”
But no doubt within the club there will be muted ambitions of a much higher finish—particularly if both Sweetman-Kirk and Babajide can take their summer form into the season proper.