Liverpool FC Women were defeated 1-0 by Tottenham Hotspur Women at The Hive on Sunday.
Rachel Furness’ penalty on the stroke of half-time condemned Vicky Jepson’s team to their second successive loss at the start of the Women’s Super League season, with the Reds having to play the final 25 minutes of the game with 10 players after Niamh Fahey was sent off.
Spurs enjoyed the better of the first period and went in ahead at the interval thanks to Furness, who was brought down in the box by Becky Jane before picking herself up to send Anke Preuss the wrong way from the spot.
Liverpool began the second half promisingly but Fahey’s dismissal - brought about when she pulled back Rosella Ayane as the Tottenham forward surged towards goal - increased the difficulty of their task.
Jepson’s side will now seek their first win of 2019-20 when they welcome Sheffield United to Prenton Park in the Continental Cup next Sunday.
Amy Rodgers and Ayane traded attempts on goal during the evenly-matched opening stages.
Rodgers, after driving forward purposefully from central midfield, then had Spurs goalkeeper Becky Spencer scrambling when she unleashed a powerful strike from distance that whistled narrowly past the post.
But it was the hosts who provided the greater attacking impetus in a sustained period of pressure thereafter.
A brave dive at the feet of Furness by Preuss prevented the Tottenham midfielder from shooting at goal from close range, before Ayane curled over the crossbar.
Having navigated their way through a testing spell, Liverpool regained a foothold and Jess Clarke, found by Melissa Lawley’s pass out wide, cut in from the left wing and tested Spencer from 20 yards.
Spurs still carried a threat, though, and Preuss acrobatically turned Furness’ long-range blast wide.
However, Furness did beat Preuss from 12 yards in first-half stoppage time, after Jane was adjudged to have fouled the Northern Ireland international in the area.
Liverpool pieced together a fine team move 12 minutes after the restart but Courtney Sweetman-Kirk could only scuff Jane’s cut-back from the right wide while trying to apply the finishing touch.
Jepson then turned to her bench in search of inspiration, with Rinsola Babajide brought on in place of Niamh Charles, but the Reds’ chances of finding a route back into the game were dealt a severe blow when Fahey was red carded midway through the half.
Jemma Purfield and Ashley Hodson were also introduced as Liverpool sought an equaliser against the odds although, unsurprisingly given their numerical advantage, it was Tottenham who looked the likelier to find the net late on.
Preuss kept the visitors in it by denying Gemma Davison with an excellent stop with nine minutes remaining, but Jepson’s team were unable to rescue an unlikely point.
Liverpool FC Women: Preuss, Jane, Bradley-Auckland, Fahey, Robe, Bailey, Rodgers (Purfield, 67), Charles (Babajide, 59), Lawley, Clarke (Hodson, 79), Sweetman-Kirk.
Unused substitutes: Kitching, Linnett.