AnalysisHow Kearns and Koivisto created decisive combination for LFC Women
Liverpool FC Women's first season back in the Barclays Women's Super League after promotion saw the Reds finish seventh.
“It has been a long season and I’m pleased with what we achieved improving as a team,” manager Matt Beard said after last weekend’s final game of the campaign.
The statistics show Beard is right to be satisfied, as his side finished higher than any previous newly promoted club had achieved in a completed 22-game WSL season.
Twenty-seven different players made at least one appearance for the team and so many of them made key contributions to LFC Women’s form.
Ceri Holland was named as the club’s Players’ Player of the Year, while Katie Stengel top-scored with nine league goals – joint-seventh-most in the WSL – and 10 in all competitions.
At the back, Taylor Hinds was one of two players to appear in every match, captaining the side when skipper Niamh Fahey was unavailable.
Summer signing Emma Koivisto’s link-up with another player who was ever-present and picked up awards, meanwhile, was vital to the Reds.
Missy Bo Kearns was recently named Young Player of the Year at the Women’s Football Awards and, like Hinds, featured in all 22 league games during 2022-23.
Kearns provided four goals from her midfield position - five in total across all competitions - a tally that put her joint-second for the club alongside Holland (also five).
And a deeper dig into the figures reveals the value of those strikes in the WSL and how they impacted LFC Women’s final points tally. All four of them gave her side the lead in matches.
The 22-year-old’s first of the league campaign broke the deadlock at Brighton & Hove Albion in November. Though the Reds later fell behind in the game, further goals from Shanice van de Sanden and Rachel Furness secured a valuable point.
Kearns’ other three efforts were all at home and assisted by Koivisto. They first combined for the opener against Reading, a match Beard’s charges eventually won 2-0 after Holland added another three minutes later.
Finnish right-back Koivisto had an even bigger impact against Tottenham Hotspur, scoring the equaliser before teeing up Kearns for the winner.
The pair then linked up in similar style against Manchester City, with Reds No.7 Kearns again getting the final goal of a 2-1 victory last month.
Only three pairings in the WSL produced more together than the LFC duo, with each of those combining successfully for four goals.
Lauren Hemp assisted Khadija Shaw four times while also scoring on four occasions following passes from Chloe Kelly. Kirsty Hanson and Rachel Daly at Aston Villa complete the set.
One way to assess the value of goals is to determine if they were decisive. This applies to a team’s final goal if they win by one, or the goal that ultimately gives them more than their opponents in other games.
All three goals crafted by Kearns and Koivisto fall into this category and delivered half of the team’s six wins. Stengel scored a penalty to defeat Chelsea, while Holland bagged the opener in the 2-0 victory against West Ham United and both goals in the 2-1 win over Brighton.
Two of the goals from the Hemp-Shaw combination proved decisive for City, while none made by Kelly and Hemp did. Hanson and Daly also offered two game-winning goals by this measure, but they can’t match Kearns and Koivisto’s three either.