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Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea: Katie Stengel scores two penalties as Liverpool beat WSL champions Chelsea

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Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea: Katie Stengel scores two penalties as newly-promoted Liverpool overcome WSL champions Chelsea on opening weekend

  • Newly-promoted Liverpool secured a formidable 2-1 victory against Chelsea 
  • Katie Stengel scored twice from the penalty spot to assist her side prevail 
  • Fran Kirby had put Chelsea within the lead early on through a penalty of her own 

A story of three penalties made for the most important shock of the opening weekend of the Women’s Super League as reigning champions Chelsea were beaten 2-1 by newly promoted Liverpool.

The Reds were barely a minute into their return to the highest flight when Gilly Flaherty kicked Guro Reiten as a substitute of the ball and gifted Chelsea a penalty, which Fran Kirby converted.

But while previous Liverpool teams could have collapsed, Matt Beard’s side did the other. They worked tirelessly to forestall Chelsea from scoring a second before the Blues repaid the Reds’ earlier generosity with a spot-kick of their very own. Millie Shiny handled within the box and Katie Stengel stepped as much as equalise.

Katie Stengel scored two penalties as newly-promoted Liverpool won against Chelsea

The Liverpool players celebrate following Stengel's equaliser in the clash against Chelsea

The Liverpool players have a good time following Stengel’s equaliser within the clash against Chelsea

As an alternative of seeking to shut up shop, Liverpool went on the attack and were rewarded when Stengel won and scored a second penalty within the 87th minute. Matt Beard’s side then endured seven minutes of added time but held on to assert an enormous victory and end Chelsea’s run of nine-straight league wins.

The Reds’ fundamental aim this season is to remain within the WSL and on this evidence they’ll try this comfortably. ‘There shouldn’t be any hesitancy anymore, we must always be ready where we all know we are able to compete at this level,’ Beard said. ‘We frustrated Chelsea today, probably the greatest teams in club football. We could have folded after going 1-0 down. There’s so many good things which have come out of today but the most important thing for me is that the players have the assumption and trust in what we’re asking them to do.’

After week one it’s advantage Arsenal within the title race but Chelsea is not going to be overly concerned. Last season they were beaten on the opening day by the Gunners and spent the vast majority of the campaign because the chasers before finally overtaking their rivals. They need to have had enough to beat Liverpool but were punished for not turning their possession into goals.

Fran Kirby had put Chelsea in the lead against Liverpool, also from the penalty spot

Fran Kirby had put Chelsea within the lead against Liverpool, also from the penalty spot

MATCH FACTS 

Liverpool Laws (3-4-3): Laws 6, Flaherty 6, Fahey 7, Matthews 6, Koivisto 6.5 (Roberts 72), Holland 6, Kearns 6 (Furness 72), Hines 6.5, Lawley 6.5 (Daniels 72) , Stengel 8 (Humphrey 90+5), Kiernan 6.5 (Campbell 57, 6.5)

Subs not used: Cumings, Kirby, Robe, Silcock

Booked: Holland, Campbell

Goals: Stengel 67, 87

Manager: Matt Beard 7

Chelsea (4-3-3): Musovic 6, Charles 5, Shiny 6 (Perisset 70, 6), Buchanan 6, Eriksson 5, Cuthbert 6, Ingle 6 (Rytting Kaneryd 70, 6) Kirby 6.5, James 7 (England 85), Kerr 6, Reiten 6

Subs not used: Carter, Svitková, Mjelde, Čankovic, Berger

Booked:

Goals: Kirby 3

Manager: Emma Hayes 6

Referee: Emily Heaslip 6

 

‘I didn’t think our execution in the ultimate third was anywhere near adequate,’ Hayes said. ‘Our crossing was wayward, it was out of bounds, we didn’t trouble the keeper in the way in which that we have now done. If I turned around and said who played well for us, I don’t think that might be a high number category.’

Hayes’ side sorely missed Pernille Harder, who dropped out of the starting XI with an injury within the warm-up. But Kirby’s early goal gave them the proper start as she sent Rachael Laws the incorrect solution to open the scoring within the third minute.

Liverpool could have equalised shortly after but Emma Koivisto could only bundle the ball over the bar on the back-post.

A decent offside call then ruled out what would have been an early goal of the season contender from Chelsea forward Sam Kerr, the Australian hitting a first-time volley into the highest corner before the assistant referee’s flag went up. Hayes was adamant it must have stood.

‘We scored a goal that was legitimately onside, I’ve seen it back, which is frustrating,’ Hayes said. I said it to the fourth [official] on the time. It’s frustrating that somebody as quick as Sam [Kerr] gets penalised because we don’t have VAR. I feel had we gone 2-0 up it could have been a distinct game.’

Liverpool Women manager Matt Beard will be pleased with the performance of his team

Liverpool Women manager Matt Beard will probably be pleased with the performance of his team 

Liverpool lost last season’s top scorer Leanne Kiernan to what looked like a nasty ankle injury within the second half but her substitute Megan Campbell made an fast impact. Campbell has a popularity for her Rory Delap style throws and her first involvement was to launch the ball into the Chelsea box. It caused chaos as Nimah Charles miss-kicked her clearance and the ball was hit against Shiny from close range. Stengel converted calmly into the underside right corner to the delight of a record 3,006 home crowd.

Then got here the third and decisive penalty. Stengel latched on to a loose ball and suddenly found herself through on goal. Kadeisha Buchanan slid in desperately and brought down the striker just contained in the box. Once more the American converted, sending Musovic the incorrect way for a second time.

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