Liverpool FC Women 3-1 Man United Women
Continental Cup Group Stage (1), Prenton Park
October 7, 2020
Goals: Furness pen 33′, 83′, Babajide 72′; McManus 27′
Vicky Jepson’s side have been one full of confidence and conviction in the opening weeks of the new season having navigated four league games by dropping points on just one occasion – a draw on opening day.
It is has been the ideal start to life in the FA Women’s Championship with promotion top of the agenda, and the Continental Cup presented an early opportunity to meet WSL’s Manchester United.
An early scare from United States international Tobin Heath was parried away by Rylee Foster in a sign of Liverpool’s defensive intent for the afternoon, with 22-year-old debutant joined by Rhiannon Roberts and Niamh Fahey in keeping United at bay for much of the first half.
Liverpool were the ones looking to assert their ascendancy in possession and were served well by the control attained in the middle of the park.
But United would open the scoring against the run of play after a failed clearance from a corner saw the visitors pump the ball back into the box for Abbie McManus to head home – much to the disdain of Liverpool who were insistent in their claims she was offside.
Crucially, they didn’t let their heads drop and chances soon started to come their way – with Jessica Clarke proving to be a key outlet and threat going forward.
But it was full-back Taylor Hinds who would set the equaliser in motion as a strike to the near post led to a corner which Rachel Furness met and saw United handle the ball in the box.
And Liverpool’s No. 27 would confidently dispatch the spot-kick to level the scores with her fifth goal of the season – ensuring the Reds went into the break with the wind in their sails.
Half time: Liverpool Women 1-1 Man United Women
But it was United who came out of the blocks quickest and penned the Reds in their own half, with defending the order for the majority of the first 15 minutes.
Furness and Melissa Lawley both provided timely outlets to relieve the pressure, but it was Clarke’s desperation to keep the ball in play on the byline which was rewarded with a penalty after being bundled down.
A change in penalty takers saw half-time substitute Rinsola Babajide step up to plate and fire Liverpool into the lead with less than 30 minutes to play.
With a lead to protect, the Reds continued to throw everything at the contest with Roberts’ desperate block denying United an equaliser as time continued to tick towards the 90-minute mark.
And, again, Jepson’s side were rewarded as Furness established a two-goal buffer after nodding home at the back post from Missy Bo Kearns’ corner delivery to wrap up the first three points of their Continental Cup campaign in thrilling style.
TIA Player of the Match: Jessica Clarke
Liverpool: Foster; Roberts, Robe, Fahey, Hinds; Bailey (Moore 70′), Linnett, Furness; Lawley (Kearns 81′), Clarke (Parry 90+3′), Thestrup (Babajide 46′)
Subs not used: Laws, Heeps, Ross
Next Match: Leicester City Women (A) – FA Championship – Sunday, October 11, 2pm (BST)