- Chelsea win 4-0
- Goals from Ji So-Yun, Kirby and Aluko
Chelsea must go through last day drama once again in a two team shootout with Manchester City. The blues have a two point cushion over City but must win their final game against Sunderland ladies to lift the WSL title next week.
Chelsea had their hearts broken by Liverpool in the final game of the 2013/14 season as the reds stole the WSL title from their grasp in last day drama. Liverpool sat towards the bottom of the table but safe from relegation. Chelsea started the game at the top of the table but with Manchester City in reaching distance it was a must win game for the blues.
With Kate Longhurst out injured, it allowed Line Smorsgard a start for Liverpool Ladies. A place on the bench also became available for Asisat Oshoala on her return from injury. For Chelsea, Lionesses Katie Chapman and Claire Rafferty returned to start the match. Rafferty missed her previous match through injury, but was always expected to return for this vital match.
There was no danger of Liverpool breaking their hearts once more this year, as Chelsea made the more dominant start. Liverpool hit the woodwork twice, before Chelsea countered to break the deadlock. The home side battled to get back in the game but when Fran Kirby doubled the lead for the visitors, it seemed like the game was already won. Liverpool struggled to get back on the front foot and Chelsea took advantage of their blistering pace and clinical nature by adding another two to their tally in the second half.
Both teams started brightly with plenty at stake for both sides. Natasha Dowie, who netted four times in Liverpool’s Continental Cup tie against Bristol academy, was looking to continue her great form with some searching runs early on. Gemma Davison had a good chance to put the away team on the front foot just eight minutes in with a powerful run but the angle wasn’t in her favour.
A mistake from Libby Stout allowed Eniola Aluko a threatening surge towards goal, but Liverpool’s number one made up for her earlier mistake with a fine save. An Ariel challenge between Dowie and Fahey ended with the Chelsea lady having to be taken off after only 18 minutes with a bloodied face.
It wasn’t long before Aluko broke forward again, creating a one on one against Libby Stout but unselfishly pulled it back but failed to pick out one of her team mates, allowing Liverpool some breathing space. The reds countered well as Ingrid Ryland’s strike from distance had beaten Lindahl but was denied by the post. With their confidence high, Rosie White whipped a cross in for Liverpool and again they were denied by the post as Gemma Bonner’s header just missed the target.
Chelsea started to look a real threat and on the half hour mark, their breakthrough finally came. Gemma Davison showed great strength on the right to beat her marker and place a cross, which looked like it may have been over-hit but Ji brought it down skilfully, turned and placed a brilliant strike into the Liverpool net. The visitors were really dominating following their first goal and Fran Kirby doubled the lead in the 40th minute. This time Aluko opting to take on the right flank and pulled it back allowing Kirby to finish neatly from close range.
HALF TIME: Liverpool Ladies 0-2 Chelsea Ladies.
Matt Beard brought off Ingrid Ryland, who hit the post in the first half, replaced by 17 year-old Maz Pacheco. Liverpool looked more aggressive in the opening period of the second half, but some loose passes gifted Chelsea some possession.
Smorsgard got herself into a good position in the box after shrugging off her defender but a searching ball into Dowie was cut out quickly by Lindahl. This allowed Chelsea to counter as Davison, causing real problems down the right side, continued to outpace the home side.
Some miscommunication from Liverpool’s defence allowed Aluko to extend Chelsea’s lead in the 54th minute, picking up a loose ball from Murray and keeping her composure to slot past Libby Stout.
Liverpool started to get frustrated, and it showed as Smorsgard found herself in on goal but a poor shot didn’t test the Chelsea goalkeeper. There was a short period of end to end football, as Liverpool continued to push for a goal and Chelsea looking to extend their lead further, but it was the class and clinical nature of Chelsea on the night that allowed Davison and Ji to link up once again in the 78th minute. Davison did all the hard work, powering down her wing before passing to Ji for a simple tap in to give Chelsea a 4-0 lead.
With just minutes left to play, Ji used her clever footwork to find herself inside the Liverpool box. On her hat trick, a chance was available but she unselfishly passed it on and the chance came to nothing.
FULL TIME: Liverpool Ladies 0-4 Chelsea Ladies.
Liverpool Ladies – 0
Chelsea Ladies – 4
Goals: Ji So-Yun (2), Kirby, Aluko.
Liverpool Ladies – 1. Stout, 3. Harris, 44. Murray, 5. Bonner (c), 15. Ryland, 8. Omarsdottir, 20. Zelem, 37. Staniforth, 10. Smorsgard, 13.White, 9. Dowie. Substitutes – 24. Darbyshire, 12. Easton, 14. Oshoala, 33. Pacheco, 36. Hodgson.
Chelsea Ladies – 1 .Lindahl, 3. Blundell, 5. Flaherty, 6 .Fahey, 11. C.Rafferty, 24 .Spence, 17 .Chapman (c), 7. Davison, 9. Aluko, 10. Ji, 14. Kirby. Substitutes – 13 .Hourihan, 22. Ayane, 4. Bright, 19 .Coombs, 16 .Borges.
Written by: Charlotte Fletcher