Liverpool Women hosted their largest-ever crowd at Prenton Park as they lost narrowly to Man United on the final day of the season.
Liverpool Women 0-1 Man United Women
WSL (22), Prenton Park
May 27, 2023
Goals: Garcia 72′
With the sun shining on Merseyside, Liverpool Women were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Man United in front of 5,778 people, their biggest-ever crowd at Prenton Park.
The Reds were wearing next season’s home strip for their final day of the WSL campaign, as they hosted Man United in what could have been a title decider.
The visitors needed Chelsea to drop points at Reading if they were to go past them into first place, but Emma Hayes’ side won, rendering the scoreline in Birkenhead meaningless to the title race.
The first half passed largely without incident as the game failed to get going due to multiple injury stoppages.
All were OK to continue but the half was summed up when Gemma Bonner was forced off for a short period due to something flying into her eye.
Some excitement finally came in added time when Nikita Parris, a childhood Liverpool fan from L8, ran onto a long pass and struck the bouncing ball cleanly to the goalkeeper’s right.
Rachel Laws responded by pulling off a spectacular save to keep the game goalless, reaching for the ball with her fingertips to push it onto the post.
The second half largely carried on in a similar vein as more players, including Emma Koivisto and Bonner, needed treatment on the pitch.
Man United again had more of the ball and applied pressure to Liverpool’s backline, breaking through after 72 minutes thanks to Lucia Garcia’s swivel in the box and sharp finish, just moments after coming off the bench.
There were substitute appearances also for Rhiannon Roberts and Leighanne Robe, who were bidding farewell to the Reds after five years each at the club.
Carla Humphrey also played 20 minutes in her last appearance after two years with the Reds.
While Liverpool showed good skill and acceleration on the break, their end product was severely lacking as several crosses drifted behind May Earps’ goal.
The visitors, who brought a big away contingent, never really looked in danger as the clock ran out, and Liverpool struggled to get in behind the Man United defence with any consistency.
The Reds may be disappointed not to have threatened more but, for a mid-table side like Liverpool, a 1-0 defeat to the league’s runners-up is nothing to be ashamed of.
It hurts just that bit more, though, because it is Man United.
At least they didn’t win the league on Merseyside!
Liverpool Women: Laws, Koivisto (Robe 75′), Bonner, Matthews, Hinds (Daniels 86′); Nagano, Fahey (Roberts 66′), Kearns (Humphrey 75′); Van de Sanden (Dowie 66′), Stengel, Holland
Subs not used: Cumings, Kirby, Taylor, Lundgaard