It is a bit of a wonder to see this team flourish. Not that the skills haven’t been there, the abilities or the hunger, but to finally see some kind of cohesion and strength. To see results coming through their hard work, and it may be easy to downplay it by saying this is the Championship League and these are teams maybe more their level, that they deserve to be down here because this is where they’re flourishing, but that would do a disservice to the whole squad.
Liverpool were on the front foot from the get go, when Charlton Athletic came to Prenton Park on Sunday, and showed it as soon as the first whistle went. They were smart and fast, passing quickly through Charlton’s players oftentimes as if they weren’t even there.
Watching these women play well makes me so happy. I can’t overstate that. The ability to watch these women play, and play well, makes me so happy. Even for all my complaining and holding the club and the leagues accountable, something as simple as being able to watch the game, even a day late and after the score has been spoiled for me (not that I’ve ever really cared about that), makes me happy. This morning I was able to wake up, make a cup of tea, and start up the full match from yesterday, at my leisure. This is not to say that showing all of the games live and at a time when the fans can truly engage and support is not imperative — that is how you grow the game — I’m just enjoying the moment.
Liverpool’s first goal came around the 12 minute mark, with Rachel Furness getting on the end of a Jade Bailey corner and heading it into the back post. Even just seeing this team score, after suffering through last season’s campaign, fills me with joy, and knowing that three more are coming? Oh man.
Maybe watching matches on a delay is the way to enjoy the game!
(I’m kidding, it’s absolutely not).
My favorite team up of Jess Clarke and Rinsola Babajide were on full display in this match, with the addition of Taylor Hinds at left back, as they controlled the left side of the pitch entirely. Mel Lawley and Ashley Hodson were on the right taking every advantage they can. Jade Bailey had been a stabilizing force through the midfield and the team’s second goal comes from her catching the Charlton defenses off guard and sliding in a low effort into the bottom corner — her first goal in a Red shirt!
This match seemed like a true example of how this Liverpool team can, and hopefully will, benefit from their position in the Championship league. While there are still major questions and fears about returning to the Super League, there’s hope here that if this team can continue to play like this, against maybe stronger sides… they can get anywhere. There is something here in this team, as there always has been, as I’ve always said there is, and it’s so nice to finally see it get a chance to shine.
The second half started with Liverpool still ahead, and still in control, with those two goals. Even with Manager Vicky Jepson’s reminders to keep on the second balls, the squad had done well to put that direction into practice. They were determined to keep possession, and maintain control over the match. Everything truly happens on their terms.
The third goal came, once again, from Rachel Furness. Furney, the team’s top goal scorer so far, had a shot denied by the post early on in the second half but was able to make up for it about half an hour later by driving in a low effort into the bottom left corner.
Liverpool’s control over the match was absolute, as Charlton were unable to get a shot on target, and it’s honestly refreshing to see. Even as changes were made, with Amalie Thestrup coming on early in the second half to replace Jess Clarke, and Kirsty Linnett and Meikayla Moore replacing Furness and Ashley Hodson respectively, there is no worry that any of the momentum will be lost.
In fact, the match’s fourth and final goal comes from Kirsty Linnett in stoppage time, finalizing that wonderful scoreline of 4-0 at home.
This win puts Liverpool in second place, only behind Sheffield United on goals, so it may be early but promotion is almost definitely in the cards.
Vicky Jepson said following the match that of course there are things to improve on, as there always are, but all in all it was a successful afternoon at Prenton Park.
Now, of course, the club’s focus will naturally shift to the Men’s match against Arsenal today and though that is admittedly exciting, it is a shame that this victory will only warrant a couple posts on the official news page of the club’s website, a couple videos on the Women’s team Twitter and Instagram accounts, and that’s it. The club will continue to ignore this team’s unbeaten run in favor of the Men’s current unbeaten run, and that’s a real travesty. Because this match has a high chance of being way more enjoyable than the Men’s match against Arsenal.