Match reportLiverpool suffer WSL defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
Liverpool were beaten 5-1 by leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Barclays Women’s Super League on Saturday afternoon.
Lauren James scored a hat-trick either side of half-time, with further strikes from Agnes Beever-Jones and Sjoeke Nusken condemning Matt Beard’s side to defeat.
The Reds had briefly drawn level in the first half courtesy of a Jess Carter own goal, but three second-half efforts saw them slip to only their second WSL loss of the campaign.
Chelsea were ahead after only 10 minutes as Jenna Clark was dispossessed in midfield, allowing Sophie Ingle to feed James, who shifted the ball past Gemma Bonner and arrowed a finish across Rachael Laws on her left foot.
Beard’s side responded instantly as Shanice van de Sanden, making her first league start of the season, superbly spun away down the right and then saw her cross deflect into the net off the recovering Carter.
But the visitors fell behind again midway through the first half as James delivered a brilliant cross from the left that Beever-Jones met at the far post with a clinical header.
The lively James drew a save from Laws soon after, while Marie Höbinger escaped after Sam Kerr read her backpass in first-half stoppage time, with the ball ricocheting to safety as the Australian charged down Laws’ clearance.
Liverpool brought on Missy Bo Kearns for Höbinger at half-time, and had the first effort of the second period as Van de Sanden seized on a loose pass but saw her 20-yard effort easily saved by Zecira Musovic.
It took a last-ditch challenge from Bonner to keep the visitors in the hunt, the defender bravely denying Ingle following a spilled ball by Laws.
Chelsea, though, extended their lead on 56 minutes, with Kerr playing in James, who guided a fine left-footed shot into the far corner.
Ceri Holland had a penalty appeal waved away soon after, while Laws did well to deny Kerr one-on-one, but Liverpool fell further behind in the 65th minute as James completed her hat-trick, firing home after excellent work from Chelsea substitute Johanna Rytting Kaneryd down the right.
The Reds were close to pulling a goal back with 21 minutes remaining as Sophie Roman Haug’s header was clawed away by Musovic, with Eve Perisset clearing the loose ball off the goalline.
But the hosts added a fifth goal with 12 minutes remaining, as Nusken tapped in Kaneryd’s cross to the far post to seal the points for Emma Hayes’ side.
Liverpool: Laws, Clark, Bonner, Fisk, Koivisto (Parry, 74), Höbinger (Kearns, 46), Nagano, Holland, Hinds, Roman H. (Lawley, 86), Van de Sanden (Kiernan, 74).
Unused subs: Micah, Lundgaard, Taylor, Enderby, Flint.
Liverpool are back in action on Wednesday night as they take on Manchester United at Prenton Park in the Continental League Cup. Kick-off is 7pm GMT and tickets are available to buy here.