BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA - Monday, July 22, 2019: Liverpool's Rhiannon Roberts (L) and Sophie Bradley-Auckland during a friendly match between Liverpool FC Women and Metropolitan Conference All Stars at Jordan Field at the Harvard Stadium on day seven of the club's pre-season tour of America. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LFC Women exit FA Cup with tough fifth-round loss

The Liverpool FC Women suffered a 1-0 loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday night, in another close-fought defeat for Vicky Jepson’s improving side.

Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool

FA Women’s Cup Fifth Round, Kingsmeadow
February 17, 2020

Goal: Reiten 25′

It has been a difficult campaign for the Reds, with just five wins in all competitions so far.

Three of those have come in the last seven games, however, with Liverpool producing a six-game run which saw just one loss, three victories and two draws from December 8 to January 26.

But a series of postponed fixtures due to weather and the poor condition of the pitch at Prenton Park has seen Jepson’s side hit a roadblock, though there remain signs of progress.

Losing 3-2 to Arsenal last time out in the Women’s Super League could be considered something of a positive despite not taking any points, given how difficult they made it for the title challengers.

That was followed by a trip to Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round, which pitted the Reds against another side with aspirations of silverware.

Jepson made two changes to her side from the defeat to Arsenal, with Jemma Purfield and Ashley Hodson replacing Leighanne Robe and the in-form Rinsola Babajide, and oversaw a rigid defensive approach.

Unfortunately, after a bright start Anke Preuss’ goal was breached in the 25th minute, as Guro Reiten converted at the far post.

Liverpool produced a series of chances with Niamh Charles and Rachel Furness bright, but they were unable to level over the course of 90 minutes, seeing the 8-1 thrashing of Blackburn in the previous round amount to nil.

Liverpool Women's Manager Vicky Jepson with her players shows her dejection after the final whistle during the FA Women's Super League match at Anfield, Liverpool. ( Nick Potts/PA Wire/PA Images)

Jepson took to Twitter after the game to assess that “we gave it our all and dug deep [until] the very end,” praising her side for “still creating chances in the dying mins” but concluding: “[It] just wasn’t to be.”

“We lost narrowly again but we keep chasing, we keep fighting, we keep training hard,” captain Sophie Bradley-Auckland told BBC Sport’s Emma Sanders, previously of This Is Anfield.

“It will change for us, we just need to keep believing.”

There are clear signs that the tide is turning for a side that has been operating below their station for much of the season, but another defeat is a disappointment for Jepson and her squad.

Next up is a trip to West Ham in the league on February 23, with their hosts sitting seven points and three places above them in the table.

LFC Women: Preuss; Jane (Robe 46′), Bradley-Auckland, Fahey, Purfield; Bailey, Furness; Charles, Linnett (Murray 79′), Lawley; Hodson (Clarke 74′).

Subs not used: Foster, Rodgers

Next Match: West Ham (A) – Women’s Super League – Sunday, Feb 23, 3pm (GMT)