Match reportLFC Women suffer defeat at Arsenal in WSL
Liverpool FC Women suffered a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on their return to Barclays Women's Super League action.
First-half goals from Stina Blackstenius and Caitlin Foord separated the teams in Wednesday night’s fixture, the first for Matt Beard’s side in more than three weeks.
Arsenal 2-0 LFC Women: Match action
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The Reds made the journey to Meadow Park without several players sidelined by injuries, including Natasha Dowie, Niamh Fahey, Melissa Lawley, Jasmine Matthews, Rhiannon Roberts and Shanice van de Sanden.
January arrival Miri Taylor came into Beard’s starting XI for her full debut, while Gemma Bonner was limited to a place on the bench after a knock.
Arsenal threatened within 40 seconds of kick-off as Katie McCabe broke into space on the left and crossed low for Blackstenius, who turned the ball onto the outside of the near post.
The same combination on 10 minutes saw the former’s corner headed too high by the latter, before Blackstenius then guided a side-footer narrowly wide of the right post after getting past Leighanne Robe at the edge of the box.
As Liverpool sought to gain a foothold in the game, the hosts were denied the opener by an offside flag when Leah Williamson tucked home Victoria Pelova’s delivery at the back post.
Arsenal got the breakthrough on 28 minutes, though. Frida Maanum’s driving run forward was halted by Ceri Holland’s challenge but the ball spooled to Blackstenius and she placed it into the bottom corner on the turn.
The Gunners swiftly compounded that setback for the Reds; despite Rachael Laws repelling Blackstenius’ latest dangerous effort, Foord was on hand to head the rebound over the goalkeeper in the 34th minute.
Beard deployed a triple change at the outset of the second half and Liverpool set about imposing themselves on the opposition with a high press.
It almost paid dividends for Holland in the early stages, a well-timed tackle sending the ball drifting out rather than running kindly to a teammate in the area.
Substitute Yana Daniels was unable to successfully direct a tricky header from Missy Bo Kearns’ raking diagonal, but genuine chances were scarce at either end.
Megan Campbell lifted a shot too high from a promising free-kick situation before the home team squandered a good chance to increase their lead.
Gio Queiroz cut out a pass from Campbell across the front of the Reds penalty box to the left-hand side but could only slice her finish over Laws’ crossbar, and the final whistle sounded with the score still 2-0 in their favour.
LFC Women: Laws, Koivisto, Silcock (Bonner, 46), Robe, Hinds, Nagano, Taylor (Campbell, 46), Holland (Lundgaard, 71), Kearns, Humphrey (Daniels, 46), Stengel.
Unused sub: Kirby.
A quick turnaround sees Liverpool return to the pitch on Sunday afternoon as they host Tottenham Hotspur at Prenton Park in a 2pm GMT kick-off.