Defender equals club record & a long-awaited return as Liverpool keep pace at the top

Liverpool Women continue to keep in touch with the league leaders after their third win of the season, a match that heralded a long-awaited return and a record-equalling appearance.

Liverpool Women 2-1 Leicester

WSL (5), Prenton Park
November 5, 2023

Goals: Lawley 48′, Hobinger 84′; Goodwin 57′

Matt Beard’s side had stumbled of late with two defeats and a draw in their last three, but the visit of mid-table Leicester offered a chance to get back to winning ways.

They may have left it late, but the Reds returned to the winner’s board on a day full of feel-good stories at Prenton Park.

Named in the starting XI, Gemma Bonner racked up her 134th appearance for the club to equal Ashley Hodson’s Liverpool record – a “proud” moment for the defender.

That Bonner can remember it fondly is thanks to second-half goals from Melissa Lawley and Marie Hobinger, with the pair ensuring Liverpool are just three points off leaders Chelsea.

Lawley’s goal was a moment of individual brilliance, in what was her first start of the season, having nutmegged the defender before weaving into the box and firing home a rocket from a tight angle.

It was just rewards for Liverpool’s dominance, but frustration soon became the overwhelming feeling as Leicester equalised nine minutes later with a rocket of their own.

Beard’s side chased the winner, and he welcomed back Shanice van de Sanden in the 68th minute for the first time this season after a lengthy spell with injury.

The game threw up plenty of chances but it was Liverpool who took theirs to restore their lead, with the in-form Hobinger scoring her third goal of the season in minute 84.

The summer signing finished off Mia Enderby’s cross with a first-time finish inside the penalty area, though the goal came to be thanks to Jasmine Matthews’ tenacity in midfield.

Liverpool were not going to let the game go by without another late scare as the Reds scrambled the ball away from their goalline, much to the relief of those watching from the stands.

The victory moves the Reds to 10 points from their opening five league games, they sit fourth in the table and are behind only Man City and Tottenham thanks to goal difference.

Liverpool Women: Laws; Clark, Bonner, Matthews, Fisk (Daniels, 85); Nagano, Hobinger (Taylor 85′), Hinds; Kearns (Van de Sanden 68′), Lawley (Enderby 68′), Haug (Lundgaard 88′)

Subs not used: Micah, Parry, Flint

Next match: Man City (H) – League Cup – Wednesday, Nov 8, 7pm GMT