Liverpool FC Women secured a morale-boosting cup victory over Durham, but they fell narrowly short of reaching the knockout rounds.
Liverpool FC Women 3-1 Durham Women
Women’s League Cup, Prenton Park
December 11, 2019
Goals: Babajide 8’, 37’, Charles 42’; Sharpe 58′
Having scored their first league goal in open play on Sunday, Vicky Jepson’s side returned to cup action with a spring in their step.
The Reds made three changes from the side who secured a 1-1 draw with West Ham last time out, with Amy Rodgers, Christie Murray and Rinsola Babajide all given the nod from the off.
The final group game saw Liverpool Women sit fourth with six points, ensuring three points and results elsewhere needed to fall in their favour to progress to the last eight.
And Liverpool more than did their part, as while goals have proved hard to come by in the Women’s Super League, in the cup the Reds took their tally to 16 goals in five games.
Babajide was instrumental in Liverpool’s success, proving a constant threat in possession with pace to burn.
And an inspired opening 45 minutes from Babajide saw her first break the deadlock with eight minutes on the clock after finishing her driving run from the right with a sumptuous curled effort into the top corner.
One soon became two for Liverpool’s No. 20 with another powerful finish after a cleverly worked short corner from Christie Murray.
And Babajide then turned provider to cap off an impressive opening term as her delivery into the box was converted at the back post by Niamh Charles, making the score 3-0 at the break.
The attacker would be provided the opportunity to notch a hat-trick in the early stages of the second half, but after successfully rounding the ‘keeper Babajide pulled her shot wide.
Durham had tested Fran Kitching throughout with little success, but would immediately strike back after Babajide’s miss with a header from close range.
Liverpool Women would fail to add to the scoreline and with Sheffield United avoiding defeat and Aston Villa also emerging victorious, the cup campaign would end at the first hurdle for Jepson’s side.
The elimination no doubt comes as a blow, but as they sit at the foot of the table with just two points to their name after nine games, all focus can now be placed on securing their place in the topflight for 2020/21.
TIA Woman of the Match: Rinsola Babajide
Liverpool FC Women: Kitching; Jane, Bradley-Auckland, Fahey (Sweetman-Kirk 46′), Robe (Kearns 52′); Rodgers, Roberts (Linnett 85′), Murray; Charles, Babajide, Hodson
Subs not used: Lawley
Next Match: Chelsea (H) – WSL – Sunday, Dec 15, 2pm (GMT)