Historical Transfer News and Team Gossip has been archived below:
Ever since the appointment of Brendan Rodgers as the new manager at Liverpool following the sacking of Kenny Dalglish at the end of the season there have been many widespread rumours regarding new arrivals at the club. Rodgers has clearly stated he is looking to bolster his options in the closed season and there has been much speculation about the players he may bring in and the players that may find themselves on the way out of Anfield.
One of the main stories regarding Liverpool this summer is the future of misfiring striker Andy Carroll who cost the Merseyside club thirty five million pounds at the start of 2011. The striker is thought to be the target of many premier league sides with former club Newcastle said to be leading the chase for the players signature. Rodgers has neither stated that Carroll will leave or stay this summer amid growing speculation that the player does not feature in the managers plans as he attempts to change the style that Liverpool have become so accustomed to playing in recent years.
Belgian international Kevin Mirallas is thought to be on the top of Rodgers list this summer as the Olympiakos player has been in sensational form for the Turkish side ever since arriving from St Etienne two seasons ago. The player has managed to put away thirty four goals in forty nine starts for his current side which is a phenomenal record but Liverpool may need to fend of interest from some of Europe’s top clubs if they are to sign the striker who has a six million pound get out clause within his current contract.
Liverpool are also said to be firm in the frame to sign want away Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby as the twenty one year old tops the list of several of the top sides in Europe. Schalke though have been very quiet on this matter as they are said to not be interested in the slightest of losing one of their most influential players with Arsenal, Everton and Manchester United also said to be in for the player.
The signing of former Roma striker Fabio Borini has been seen as a major coup for Rodgers this summer as he has worked with and been a huge admirer of the player for some time. The twenty one year old has been in great form for his previous club and is seen as a great prospect for the Merseysiders. The Italian can also play as an attacking midfielder which will be another great boost for the squad as the long term future of Steven Gerrard is not as clear as it once was due to his ill fated injury prospects as he reaches the twilight of his career.
“I said to the boys before the game: ‘We are not the Harlem Globetrotters so don’t go out and play brilliant football,’” said Klopp. “‘We are here for results so we play for results.’ So I loved how we fought for it. It could have been more clear but after a few games without the right results you have to fight back and that’s what we did.”
Matches like this are what the Premier League does best, fast-paced blockbusters with breathtaking attacking and thigh-slapping clangers. Leicester and, especially, Liverpool are among the leading exponents of an intoxicating genre.
Jürgen Klopp’s men scored three splendid goals here but still needed Simon Mignolet to save a late penalty from Jamie Vardy to secure a much-needed win. Mignolet, almost inevitably, had conceded the penalty himself, rushing off his line in an attempt to intercept the ball, which he touched before clattering into Vardy. The goalkeeper also bore some blame for earlier goals by Vardy and Shinji Okazaki, even if he was not helped on those occasions by questionable refereeing.
Peep peep! Liverpool just about to deserved to edge a raucous, richly entertaining match between two likeable, flawed teams. Jurgen Klopp grits his teeth in celebration; that’s a big result for him after four games without a win. Thanks for your company, night!
90+2 min Vardy is booked for a foul on Moreno. He has had a storming game; it’s a shame his missed penalty will probably cost Leicester a point.
90 min There will be five additional minutes of high blood pressure in the away end.
88 min Liverpool look relatively comfortable just now but, with the way this match has gone, you’d expect Leicester to get one last chance.
87 min “Liverpool fan here,” says Scott Chesters. “I have no arguments about Mane´s red card but about the penalty; Mignolet challenged for the ball, got the ball, no matter how softly, then the two collided. Can´t see how it is a penalty myself.”
I see what you mean, and it was a slightly confusing incident. Isn’t the argument for a penalty that, after Mignolet miskicked, Vardy would have had an open goal had he not been sent flying?
86 min “Fascinated by Matt Dony’s marriage (70 min),” sniffs Pete Salmon. “So he has to watch Strictly, but can also check the min-by-min? On laptop, full exposure? Or loo every five mins with his mobile? If the latter, I’m as tense for him as I am about the game.”
85 min Wijnaldum misses a decent chance, slicing just wide from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cut-back.
84 min Slimani plants a header just wide from a great cross from Vardy. It wouldn’t have counted because either Slimani or Morgan had been penalised for fouling Matip.
83 min Thias has been a monstrously entertaining game.
82 min Sturridge, with almost no backlift, whips an excellent long-range shot that is palmed around spectacularly by Schmeichel. Sturridge has looked close to his best since coming off the bench.
80 min And now Leicester make their last change: Albrighton off, Islam Slimani on.
79 min Liverpool make their final substitution, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replacing the pretty wonderful Philippe Coutinho.
76 min Here’s Mac Millings. “Do assure the 70th minute’s Matt Dony that, after a number of full and frank discussions with Mrs. Millings, ‘we’ have not watched any football at all for quite some time, so he has that to look forward to.”
Love is in the air/when Mac Millings is around, doo doo doo doo doo.
75 min Sturridge slips classily past Maguire, comes back on his left foot and shapes a beautiful curler just over the bar from 20 yards. He looks really sharp tonight. By the way, Can was pretty lucky not to concede another penalty for handball moments after Vardy’s kick was saved by Mignolet. There was so much going on that I forget to mention it. So sue me!
74 min Both sides make a change: Milner for Can, Iheanacho for Okazaki. This is pulsating stuff.
Vardy smashed it as hard as he could, and Mignolet moved to his right to push it away. He has an outstanding record of saving penalties, and it’s even better now. That said, it was a poor penalty from Vardy - nowhere near the corner, and not straight down the middle.
Mignolet is booked. He’s had a shocker here. He was so flustered by the presence of Vardy that he miskicked the ball completely, and his momentum was such that he then sent Vardy flying. I didn’t think it was a penalty at first but replays show it was a definite penalty.
Mignolet is penalised for a foul on Vardy, and Liverpool are furious again.
70 min “The first 47 minutes or so were very entertaining,” says Matt Dony. “But at half time, I had a full and frank discussion with my wife and, long story short, ‘we’ decided that the Tv would be showing Strictly rather than the second half of the game. So I’m entirely in your hands. Please keep the good news rolling”
It’s not over yet! Albrighton does brilliantly to beat Gomez down the left and crosses beyond the far post to Gray, who chests the ball up and swishes a spectacular shot towards goal. Mignolet leaps to his right to make an excellent save but Vardy heads the rebound into the empty net. Vardy may have been offside when Gray hit the original shot, I haven’t seen a replay yet.
Liverpool finish Leicester off with a clinical counter-attack. Maguire sauntered forward from the back, but when he lost the ball Leicester were in trouble. Coutinho and Sturridge combined to find Henderson, who came back inside the recovering Maguire and reversed the ball smartly past Schmeichel.
67 min Coutinho and Salah have shots blocked in quick succession, and then Matip makes a vital block from Vardy, who might have gone down in the area after a challenge from behind.
66 min “Liverpool’s great coup in the transfer window was keeping their best player, who - and I still can’t over this fact - they somehow signed for £8.5 million in the first place,” says Phil Podolsky. Coutinho’s agent must be some California businessman not too conversant with this soccerball nonsense, because it’s always been clear he’s a stunning player.”
Fair point. He looked really good as a teenager when Internazionale beat Gareth Bale 4-3 all those years ago.
65 min Daniel Sturridge replaces Firmino for Liverpool.
64 min Morgan is penalised for shovng Wijnaldum, who then handles the ball in his own area as he goes over. It was a soft foul, but probably the right decision.
62 min A change for Leicester: Mahrez off, Demarai Gray on.
61 min Coutinho’s fierce long-range shot is well blocked by Morgan, and then Firmino - who has been unusually poor today - drives high over the bar.
58 min Leicester have some excellent attacking options on the bench: Slimani, Gray, Iheanacho.
57 min A decent chance for Can, who heads Henderson’s dipping cross over the bar from the corner of the six-yard box. He was under pressure from Simpson, who did enough to ensure Can struggled to get on top of the ball.
56 min Coutinho’s superb dipping corner lands on the head of the off-balance Lovren, who can’t steer it on target. He wants a penalty, having been manhandled by Maguire. Anthony Taylor says no and then books Lovren for dissent. Maguire was certainly holding him, though Lovren was giving plenty back.
54 min Leicester are having a decent period of pressure, with Mahrez starting to look sharp.
53 min It’s been a manic start to the second half, with both teams lacking composure in possession.
52 min “Am I the only person who thinks Klopp is right in not buying bang average defenders,” says Mel Lynam. “Liverpool have enough of those over the years. Dortmund were built on Hummel and Subotic, and a decent holding midfielder. Klopp system demands ball-playing defenders, Keita is the holding midfielder. So for all the Kloppo-out eejits, be patient, I went to BVB v Hertha on a cold Friday night when I thought they were the two worst teams I ever seen, one got relegated (which I support) the other won the next two German titles.”
51 min There have been plenty of emails, only some of them abusive, about the foul by Matip on Vardy that ultimately led to Leicester’s goal. The consensus is:
a) it was a clear block from Matip, and anyone who says otherwise just doesn’t understand football.
48 min “Hey Rob,” says JR in Illinois. “I went to the farmer’s market at halftime of the West Ham-Spurs game. I bought some potatoes, red peppers, sweetcorn, and a loaf of bread (whole wheat sourdough). Let’s see if you publish this.”
I’m not too proud to acknowledge another man’s superior eye for edible produce.
47 min Henderson’s cross is headed up in the air by Can and drops to Coutinho, who sidefoots a wobbling volley straight at Schmeichel from the left edge of the box. His technique was beautiful but the shot was too close to the keeper.
47 min “Is some of the Klopp backlash maybe just the media and the public getting tired of their shiny new toy?” says Shaun Wilkinson. “I have always liked him, but his behaviour on the touchline can be obnoxious. Also, he does need to stop speaking as if he has just inherited this team when questioned about its flaws - he has been here two years now. We saw a similar trend with Mourinho, where everyone was gushing when he was arrived but that soon faded. Is it just that the novelty of Klopp in England has begun to wear off at a time when the team is coincidentally having a sticky patch?”
Yeah, I’m sure that’s a factor. It’s all very infantile.
46 min Peep peep! Leicester begin the second half.
Okazaki’s disallowed goal “Have a look again Rob,” says Ricky Gill. “Maguire was offside when the freekick was taken. It doesn’t matter if Okazaki was onside or offside because Maguire was offside in the previous phase of play. Let’s see if you publish this.”
Why wouldn’t I publish it? It’s not a custodial offence to admit being wrong. (And you’re right; I’ve since seen a replay and it was the correct decision.)
That goal should enliven the second half. Okazaki didn’t do that much to Mignolet but it was a foul. Jordan Henderson was still chuntering to the referee as he left the pitch. See you in 10 minutes for the second half!
Mignolet produced an excellent save to deny Vardy, only to make a mistake from the corner and let Leicester back in the game. Or so it seemed. Mignolet waved haplessly at the corner and got nowhere near it, with the ball rebounding towards goal for Okazaki to stab in from two yards. So far, so familiar - except replays showed that Okazaki was slyly holding Mignolet’s arm when he first tried to come for the corner. You can see why Liverpool are so aggrieved.
Liverpool are furious about this.
45+2 min Matip is booked for cynically blocking Vardy, who was trying to close down Mignolet just outside the area.
44 min “As a Liverpool fan I’m firmly in the ‘Klopp In’ camp,” says Matt Dony. “Yes, it is frustrating that he didn’t buy a centre half over the summer, BUT he had identified Van Dijk as his ideal target, and initially tried very hard to sign him. Van Dijk wanted to move, and he clearly has a set of qualities that Klopp wants. Yes, there are other defenders around, but Klopp (like all top-level managers) knew exactly what he wanted, and refused to settle. Bearing in mind how the Neymar transfer skewed fees across the continent, any defender who would have been a clear upgrade on Lovren would have probably been in the £35-40m area, and really, does anyone want to see a club they support spend that kind of money on a ‘back-up plan’? Matip is a fine defender, I have hopes for Klavan, things could improve. I’m not saying they definitely will, but it’s not outside the realms of possibility. And then go back for Van Dijk next year.”
I’d love to support a Jurgen Klopp team. I admire his willingness to play the long game with Van Dijk and Keita, though it’s a risky tactic in modern football.
43 min Firmino misses an excellent chance to make it 3-0. Liverpool broke decisively through Coutinho and then Can, who played a simple reverse pass to put Firmino clear on the left side of the box. He went for the first-time shot with his left foot and drove it a few yards wide of the far post.
40 min Okazaki has a goal wrongly disallowed for offside. A free-kick was lumped towards the edge of the area, at which point Okazaki was deliberately in an offside position. By the time it was headed into the area by Maguire, Okazaki was being played onside by Henderson and finished smartly past Mignolet. That counts as a different phase of play and so the goal should have counted.
35 min With a two-goal lead, Liverpool are content to play Leicester at their own counter-attacking game. Leicester are having more of the ball as a consequence, and Chilwell’s dangerous low cross is well claimed by Mignolet.
33 min “Any chance Moreno getting a bang to the head in the foul leading to the goal might knock some sense into him?” says Keith Tucker. “And now he might be able to defend?”
That sounds like a great idea for a David Lynch football film: Twin Peake, in which Coventry defensive stalwart Trevor Peake suffers a blow to the head and starts playing like Jesper Olsen.
32 min Moreno’s long-range shot is blocked by a player in blue, possibly Simpson.
30 min “On Klopp, whilst football is of course ridiculous with its continual crisis mentality, doesn’t he deserve quite a bit of criticism?” says Andrew Hurley. “His football looks great when they are up against those who can’t defend and non-triers (Arsenal), but his failure to either play a striker (to win games they should) or buy a central defender (who can do that thing they’re supposed to, defend) is very strange indeed. His stubbornness doesn’t make much sense.”
Oh definitely. Every manager deserves criticism, even Conte and Pochettino. It’s the tone and extent of the criticism that is so lamentable.
28 min Leicester make a mess of the free-kick. Shakespeare out!
27 min Mahrez slithers through a group of Liverpool defenders and is fouled by Moreno, 30 yards from goal.
24 min Klopp out!
Oh yes, yes, yes. Coutinho puts Liverpool 2-0 up, curling a magnificent free-kick over the wall and into the corner. That was nigh-on perfect, an absolutely brilliant goal to go with his excellent cross for Salah’s first.
22 min After a good break from Liverpool, Ndidi is booked for a foul on Moreno 25 yards from goal. The free-kick is in a great position for Coutinho.
18 min This is a very entertaining game. Mignolet, dithering over a backpass, is closed down superbly by Vardy and screws the ball straight to Okazaki 35 yards from goal. He shoots first time and Mignolet, by now outside his area, stretches his left leg to divert the ball behind for a corner.
17 min Albrighton is booked for a foul on Salah.
It was made by Coutinho, who curled a beautiful inswinging cross beyond the far post from just outside the area. Schmeichel was slow to get across his line, perhaps thinking the ball was going out of play, and Salah sneaked behind Chilwell to squeeze a header into the net at the near post. That’s an extremely good header, because the angle was so tight. The cross from Coutinho was a gem.
Mohamed Salah redeems his miss with an excellent goal!
13 min Salah misses a great chance for Liverpool! Emre Can drove an excellent low shot from 25 yards that hit the inside of the far post and rebounded straight to Salah, who clipped it wide from 10 yards. That was a bad miss, because Schmeichel was still on all fours after trying to save Can’s shot. The one mitigating factor is the speed with which it rebounded to Salah. He should have scored though.
12 min “What the hell is Lovren doing?” says Cian McMahon. “Seriously? What is he doing? Terrible passing. Out of position on Vardy’s attack... he will be the bane of us today... mark my words.”
It’s odd as he looked so good at Southampton. See also: Schneiderlin, Morgan; Shaw, Luke; and Chambers, Callum.
11 min Liverpool have had 78 per cent of possession, yet it feels like Leicester have been more threatening.
9 min Leicester look sharp on the counter-attack. Every defence knows what’s coming, but there’s not a lot they can do about it. It all revolves around Vardy, possibly the fastest England forward I’ve ever seen.
6 min The first chance goes to Leicester. Okazaki played a good pass down the left wing to Vardy, who was played onside by Lovren on the other side of the pitch. Matip couldn’t catch him and Vardy made an angled run into the box before curling a shot that was beaten away by Mignolet. The ball bounced up for Mahrez, who came on the blind side of Lovren and clipped the bouncing ball over the bar. That was a deceptively good chance for Mahrez, less so for Vardy because of the tight angle.
4 min These days, erery self-respecting attack needs an acronym these days. Today, Liverpool have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
3 min A quiet start to the game. Liverpool are eight points behind the Manchesters, though a win would take up them to fifth.
1 min Peep peep! Liverpool kick off, from right to left if you like to paint televised pictures in your noggin. There’s an excellent atmosphere.
Another email! Here’s Andrew Hurley. “Wenger (rightly) got criticised for the mess that was Arsenal’s transfers this summer (no midfielder, waiting for last minute to bid properly for Lemar, Sanchez staying/going/staying) but he did very very well, even in this market, to get nearly £40m for Oxlade-Chamberlain, a player given countless chances and who is, despite huge natural talent, frustrating, position-less, often lazy and very little end-product.”
I’m loath to judge that transfer for a couple of years - his current performance level is not worth £40m, I agree, but his potential is worth more. If Klopp can’t get the best out of him, nobody will.
An email! “Is it possible for the Premier League Crisis Baton to pass between players as well as clubs?” says Matt Loten. “If so, I would wager that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must be warrant a spell in possession - jumping ship from Arsenal, only to find he can’t even make a Liverpool lineup shorn of Mane, Lallana and, until today, Coutinho. Given that we live in an era when managers can be sacked four games into the season, surely we can call time on Chamberlain’s Liverpool career before the end of September?”
I’m not sure what took you so long, Matt. You need to stop sitting on the fence. This is the age of Sav, not the 1990s.
Welcome to 27 Days Later, a divisive tale of expectation, premature denunciation and Dejan Lovren. It’s four weeks tomorrow since Liverpool dismantled Arsenal with an exhilarating performance, yet in that short time the mood around Anfield has changed considerably. Liverpool are on a despicable run of FOUR games without a win, and Klopp has become the topic du jour for many an entitled blowhard.
You don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve got rid of it. In years to come, Liverpool fans will go a big, rubbery one as they recall the swaggering football played under Klopp. Yet a fair percentage of those same fans are currently aboard a bandwagon to have him sacked. He isn’t perfect, and it’s hard to understand his blind defensive eye, but the anti-Klopp grandstanding is little more than reactionary nonsense in a sport that has lost all contact details for reality, logic and decency.
Jürgen Klopp insists the striker is still an important part of his plans and that a pre-season chat between the pair centred only on Sturridge’s role at the club and not his desire to play elsewhere. “We had a good talk and it was not a case of him asking when or where he could go. It was about what we planned for this season,” Klopp said.
Second-half goals from Natasha Harding and Niamh Charles earned Liverpool victory over Everton in the opening game of the 2017-18 Women’s Super League.
Liverpool created the better chances throughout the game but were frustrated by their local rivals until Harding turned the ball in after Alex Greenwood’s free-kick created havoc in the Everton area. Liverpool made sure of victory in injury time when 18-year-old substitute Charles reacted quickest after Everton goalkeeper Lizzie Durack had parried Ashley Hodson’s shot.
Here’s Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner: “We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we stuck to the gameplan, got the two goals and thoroughly deserved the win.”
And opening scorer Natasha Harding: “We haven’t had the best of pre-seasons, but today was a clean slate. It’s a derby, we knew Everton would be tough but we got the three points.”
That’s all she wrote, as goals from Natasha Harding and Niamh Charles secure a deserved derby victory for Liverpool.
Teenager Niamh Charles settles this one, teeing up Hodson down the right and reacting quickest after Durack parried her team-mate’s angled shot! That’s her first WSL goal.
91 mins: Siri Worm – maybe the most sci-fi name in football – is over the free kick, but bends a weak shot wide when a cross looked the better option.
90 mins: There will be four added minutes, and Everton have a free kick after Kelly is barged off the ball...
88 mins: Hodson’s snap-shot is blocked, and Liverpool keep it in the corner. Weir then dallies over a throw-in, and is booked for time wasting.
86 mins: Garratt has a quiet word with Andy Spence, who’s been increasingly agitated on the touchline.
85 mins: Weir, a bright creative spark throughout the game, sees Durack off her line but can’t keep her long-range shot down.
83 mins: Everton are struggling to make any headway, and Liverpool look comfortable with just over five minutes to go. Ashley Hodson comes on for Liverpool, replacing Beth England.
“Thanks for this MBM,” says Sarah Rothwell. “I’d like come up with some funny banter to entertain you, but for now I’m just grateful that I can follow this match so that’ll have to do.”
Glad to be of service, and funny banter is by no means a pre-requisite. If we don’t do it, why should you, etc and so on.
79 mins: ...but at the other end, Turner’s cross is handled out of play by Chamberlain. Turner takes the corner, but it curls over the bar.
78 mins: Charles draws another fine save from Durack, who turns her fierce near-post shot away...
77 mins: A couple of changes for Everton – Simone Magill replaces Sweetman-Kirk, and Chloe Kelly is on for Jodie Brett.
75 mins: Liverpool sitting back momentarily, but Everton are unable to take the game to them. Perhaps fitness is becoming an issue in Everton’s first season as a full-time side...
72 mins: Liverpool getting more time and space in the final third now, and Coombs picks out Weir with a well weighted cross. Weir can’t get a clean shot away under pressure, and Durack saves low to her left.
71 mins: Andy Spence may feel aggrieved at that offside call a moment before, but he’ll need to change Everton’s counter-attacking gameplan to rescue a point now.
Liverpool win a free kick on the left, near the corner flag. Greenwood serves up another tricky delivery and after a goalmouth melee, Natasha Harding stabs the ball home!
68 mins: Harding’s effort from distance is gathered by Durack, who launches a counter-attack. Sweetman-Kirk latches on to a diagonal ball and is through on goal – but the flag is up! Wrongly, as replays show.
67 mins: Charles gets her first chance to run at her marker, but Worm does well to stop her in her tracks.
66 mins: Jodie Brett has options either side of her in midfield, but opts for a long-range effort that’s on target, but easy for Chamberlain to gather.
64 mins: Liverpool looking the more likely once again, and another belting Greenwood cross causes panic in the Everton defence. The visitors just need to get that final touch...
“The Everton goalie studied biology at Harvard?” says Peter Oh. “Johan Cruyff said that football is a game you play with your brain, so she’s got a bright future...” Indeed. I can’t think of many other footballers with Ivy League degrees, but happy to be corrected.
61 mins: Almost a terrific finish from England, stretching to meet a low cross from the left and sending her shot inches over the top corner. Durack wasn’t stopping that one...
60 mins: Another opportunity on the break for Everton, with Sweetman-Kirk stroking the ball into Walker’s path. A neat stepover puts her into a foot race with Bonner, who does well to clear the ball under pressure.
58 mins: Jess Clarke, the least effective of Liverpool’s front three so far, is replaced by 18-year-old Niamh Charles.
57 mins: Durack stays on her line and Stoney is almost there to meet the corner – but Walker does just enough to put her off, and Everton scramble the loose ball away!
56 mins: Clarke has two chances in quick succession to whip a low cross in, but Everton do well to clear both away. Liverpool corner...
55 mins: Everton break again and Brett’s diagonal pass finds Walker, who barrels at the Liverpool defence this time. Her shot is well struck, but easy enough for Siobhan Chamberlain.
53 mins: Munsterman wins possession with a thumping challenge on Murray, and Everton can break forward – but Walker passes sideways and the chance is gone.
52 mins: Early change for Everton, with new signing Angharad James coming on for Mollie Green.
51 mins: Everton captain Danielle Turner does well to stop Harding from jinking past her on the byline. Liverpool keep the ball, but England’s shot on the turn is blocked.
49 mins: Another chance goes begging for Liverpool! Greenwood’s cross from the left is perfect for England – but the striker can’t get her header on target.
47 mins: Play is stopped with England down after a heavy challenge. She’s OK to continue.
The second half is under way; no changes at half-time.
Lizzie Durack impressed in the first half, making saves from Weir and England to keep Everton level. She’s had quite the journey – born in Sydney, she played in the W-League before moving to Harvard to study biology. An e-mail inquiry from the FA led Durack, whose mum was born in Doncaster, to England under-19 trials. Now at Everton full-time, she’s also played six minutes as a full England international.
The stadium PA is currently blaring out this absolute banger:
Plenty of effort and intensity, not much in the way of clear-cut chances as the first half ends goalless. Jess Clarke hit the bar for Liverpool, with Casey Stoney clearing off the line at the other end. Back soon.
45 mins: Liverpool win a free kick right by the left touchline, but Everton clear it away. One minute of added time.
44 mins: Everton enjoy a spell of possession but can’t bring Walker or Sweetman-Kirk into the game – something they’ve struggled with in the first half.
42 mins: It’s all gone a little quiet again, as Sweetman-Kirk is flagged offside. Everton’s nickname, by the way, is the Blue Girls. Not the best, is it?
40 mins: Play restarts with a drop-ball, which I’m happy to report was actually contested. Liverpool win it, but Everton’s pressing forces them back into their own half.
38 mins: A nasty clash of heads between Bonner and George, who had charged back to help Durack out from a dangerous corner.
37 mins: Liverpool hit the bar! From a deep free-kick, Weir hits a pinpoint cross and Clarke rattles the crossbar with her header! It rebounds to England, who looks certain to score – but Durack gets down brilliantly to turn her shot behind!
35 mins: England and Weir combine artfully down the left before the latter finds Natasha Harding, whose cross-shot is grasped by Durack before Jess Clarke can pounce on it.
34 mins: Green-on-Greenwood in midfield, as the Everton midfielder takes down the Liverpool left-back. It looked a bad challenge, but the referee waves play on.
33 mins: Everton win a cheap corner as Stoney’s back-pass bobbles out of play. Weir heads it away and George, lurking on the edge of the area, curls her shot wide.
32 mins: Walker goes up against Bonner once again, but this time gets no change from the centre-back, who takes the ball with a clean tackle on the edge of the area.
30 mins: Sweetman-Kirk is a yard offside from a promising through ball. Everton have been mostly kept on the back foot, but have had a handful of decent openings.
28 mins: Yellow card for Megan Finnigan, who stands on Harding’s heels to stop a Liverpool breakaway. Another promising free-kick, and Weir’s effort is closer than Coombs’s, dipping just too late!
27 mins: Walker, who has been at the heart of Everton’s best attacking moves, gets Sweetman-Kirk involved. She cuts the ball back to Turner, whose terrific cross is just beyond the reach of Jodie Brett, racing forward from midfield.
25 mins: Gabby George steps across Beth England to stop her reaching Greenwood’s cross. Half-hearted appeals for a penalty follow, but Garratt isn’t interested.
24 mins: ...but her effort zips a few feet over the bar.
23 mins: From a Liverpool corner, Everton are penalised for a foul on Bonner. Had play carried on, Beth England was ready to pounce on the loose ball. Instead, a chance for Coombs to shoot from 20 yards out...
21 mins: A lull in the tempo, as both teams try and fail to find space in behind with long balls.
18 mins: Laura Coombs fires a speculative effort from almost 40 yards that drifts wide of Durack’s far post.
16 mins: Everton inches from taking the lead against the run of play, as Bonner misjudges her header back to Chamberlain. Claudia Walker nipped in and chipped the keeper – but Casey Stoney got back to clear off the line!
14 mins: Greenwood again looks to pick out a team-mate with a long diagonal ball, but Weir can’t quite latch onto it.
12 mins: After a helter-skelter opening, Liverpool are starting to control possession, and Greenwood tests the Everton defence with a run into the box. Turner clears away, and the corner is dealt with.
10 mins: Oof! Durack is called into action again, and does well to turn a stinging shot from Caroline Weir over the bar!
9 mins: Bonner lifts a long free-kick into the box, but it drifts through to Lizzie Durack, Everton’s Australia-born keeper who’s back from a spell studying at Harvard, no less.
7 mins: Decent chance for Liverpool’s Beth England as Jess Clarke’s cross loops up off Brougham – but her header is placed wide of the far post.
5 mins: This venue is the home of rugby league’s Widnes Vikings, and has an artificial pitch that looks a little careworn after a long season. It’s not helping either team get the ball down and play early on.
4 mins: Mollie Green’s through ball finds Walker through the middle – but Casey Stoney and Bonner step up and the Everton striker is flagged offside.
3 mins: Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner rises highest to clear a long Everton free kick.
1 min: Liverpool win a corner, which Greenwood plays short and hammers across the box – but Everton clear.
Referee Sarah Garratt gets us under way.
This match kicks off the opening weekend in both divisions, with the rest of the games happening on Saturday.
WSL 1: Chelsea v Bristol City, Arsenal v Birmingham City, Reading v Sunderland, Yeovil Town v Manchester City.
Anybody out there? Five minutes until kick-off. If this is all new to you, there’s no harm in reading a couple of previews to get in the zone:
Welcome to the start of a new chapter in women’s domestic football. Shifting the Women’s Super League season from summer to winter is the next step in a long-term plan, aiming to establish a full-time professional league top division. The last full WSL season finished 12 months ago, with momentum maintained by a competitive Spring Series, and England’s success at Euro 2017.
That was the idea, anyway – but recent events mean the focus has strayed far from the field, casting an unfortunate shadow over an intriguing opening derby. Everton, newly full-time and elected to the top flight after Notts County’s collapse, take on 2013 and 2014 champions Liverpool, who have been knocked off their perch by the aggressive development of Chelsea and Manchester City.
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