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Liverpool Women get one over their old manager to go top of the league

Liverpool FC Women went top of the Championship with a 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Saturday, with victory even sweeter as it came over their former manager.

Sheffield United Women 0-2 Liverpool FC Women

Women’s Championship (7), Bramall Lane
October 9, 2021

Goals: Wardlaw 7′, Kiernan 36′

Neil Redfearn spent just three months and two games in charge of Liverpool in 2018, before resigning from his position and joining Newcastle.

After a spell with the Newcastle men’s under-23s, he was briefly appointed caretaker manager following the departure of Rafa Benitez in 2019, then later taking his post with the Sheffield United Women.

In a period of major upheaval at Liverpool, Redfearn seemingly considered himself not up to the challenge of rebuilding the squad, with this renovation continuing in the years to come.

Relegation to the Women’s Championship saw the Reds join Sheffield United in the second tier, and Saturday saw Matt Beard’s side come up against one including a number of familiar faces.

Along with Redfearn in the dugout, former Liverpool players Fran Kitching, Sophie Bradley-Auckland, Jess Clarke and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk all lined up for the hosts.

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 26, 2021: Liverpool's Leanne Kiernan during the FA Women’s Championship Round 4 match between Liverpool FC Women and Crystal Palace FC Women at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Beard made three changes to his side from the 2-0 victory over Coventry United the previous weekend, with captain Niamh Fahey, star midfielder Rachel Furness and Yana Daniels coming in.

Jasmine Matthews squandered a fine chance early on, heading over from Taylor Hinds’ free-kick, only for Charlotte Wardlaw to curl a stunning first goal for the club from range to put Liverpool ahead in the seventh minute.

Though the Reds dominated much of the half, Sweetman-Kirk almost benefited from sloppy play from goalkeeper Rachael Laws, but the striker could only hit the post.

Summer signing Leanne Kiernan scored the second, and ultimately decisive, goal before the break, however, benefiting from Furness’ excellent cross.

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 26, 2021: Liverpool's Ashley Hodson (L) celebrates with team-mate Melissa Lawley (R) after scoring the second goal during the FA Women’s Championship Round 4 match between Liverpool FC Women and Crystal Palace FC Women at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool were then able to see the rest of the contest out as Redfearn was left to rue a lack of intensity from his side, who failed to execute their pressing game.

The result puts Liverpool, at least temporarily, top of the Women’s Championship, with second-placed Durham to visit Sunderland on Sunday afternoon.

It continues an impressive run for Beard’s side, who have not lost since the opening day of the season, with four wins and a draw in their last five games.

Hopefully, things are finally turning around for Liverpool as they look to return to the Women’s Super League at the second time of asking.

Liverpool FC Women: Laws; Robe, Fahey, Matthews; Wardlaw, Furness (Kearns 76′), Holland, Lawley (Walters 77′), Hinds; Kiernan (Hodson 87′, Humphrey 90+7′), Daniels

Subs not used: Foster, Roberts, Moore, Parry, Bailey

Next match: Aston Villa (H) – FA WSL Cup – Wednesday, October 13, 7pm (BST)

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